Zdzisław Beksiński – Untitled (1984)

“You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men”, wrote Roman magistrate and writer Pliny the Younger in a letter to historian Tacitus, recalling the tragedy that hit the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the fall of 79 AD. Then, a roaring Mount Vesuvius erupted and pulverized…

Joan Semmel – Intimacy/Autonomy (1974)

If to empathize means to put yourself in someone else’s place, then Joan Semmel’s self-portraits offer us an exercise in empathy. Four decades before selfies became a thing, this American artist was resorting to photography to document her body and sexuality, an approach that offered her a unique vantage point, further explored through painting. One…

Gabriele Münter – Boating (1910)

Ahh, the quintessential love story: Girl meets boy. Boy is married to his cousin. Girl wants boy to divorce and marry her. Boy doesn’t. Wait, wait, wait. Let’s rewind. Gabriele Münter met Wassily Kandinsky in 1902. Back then, she was this driven 25 year old art student, financially independent, having just inherited a large amount…

Francis Picabia – Idyll (1927)

A playboy that loved women, luxury and fast cars, French artist Francis Picabia was as non-committal in his art as in his personal life. Although he is best known as one of the leading figures of the Dada movement, he was not afraid to experiment or take himself and his art too seriously. Idyll is…

Félix Vallotton – The Lie (1897)

Sometimes a painting’s title is a spark of genius, an integral part of the work itself. The artist may use it to shine a light on the meaning of their piece, throwing us a lifeline without which we may have remained ignorant of the art’s full significance. Without its title, The Lie would look like…

Camille Claudel – The Abandonment (1905)

“Have pity, cruel girl, I can’t go on, I can’t spend another day without seeing you. Otherwise the atrocious madness. It is over, I don’t work anymore, malevolent goddess, and yet I love furiously. My Camille be assured that I feel love for no other woman, and that my soul belongs to you. … Ah!…