paintings

Europeana’s 20 millionth item

This autumn, Europeana’s content reached 20 million items, increasing the content ten-fold since its initial launch in 2008. The 20 millionth item is a painting of the Biblical story of David and Goliath painted by the celebrated Caravaggio in 1600-1601. Caravaggio worked predominantly on Christian themes, linking the sacred and the profane by giving his […]

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The Abstract World of Wassily Kandinsky

“Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.” Today we are celebrating the colourful, deep and impressive art of one the world’s […]

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Claude Monet – The Creator of Impressionism

“Light is the principal person in the picture” (Claude Monet) The French painter Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840. His work was so revolutionary and created so much impact that until today it is difficult not to place him as one of the greatest painters of all times. Monet was one of the […]

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The Art and Life of Johannes Vermeer

It’s hard to believe that for two centuries Johannes Vermeer, whose painting Girl with a pearl earring is among the most famous art works in the world, was barely mentioned in any of the resources on 17th-century Dutch painting. He was rediscovered only in the 19th century, after Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger published […]

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The history of Amsterdam in paintings

Starting as a fishing village along the banks of the river Amstel in the 13th century, Amsterdam soon developed into an important commercial and cultural city in Europe. Its traditional founding dates back to 27 October 1275, when Count Floris of Holland granted inhabitants of Aemstelledamme (translated as “dam on the Amstel”) an exemption from […]

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Pablo Picasso

Celebrating Pablo Picasso’s 130th birthday, we’ll take a look at the masterpieces from different periods in his work. Strongly adhering to his own principle that “to copy oneself is pathetic”, Picasso constantly experimented with styles, creating about 50,000 works that differed not only in style, but also type, technique and use of palette. If you […]

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Art of the First World War

Whether expressed in the bold strokes, the use of colour, or brutal reality of the depicted scenes, the First World War had tremendously shaped art across Europe. Many works of that period reflect the atrocities of war, providing a vivid account of human tragedy. Here are some remarkable examples:

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Venice and famous Venetians

On this day in 1866, after Austria lost control of Venice, the city was ceded to the newly created United Kingdom of Italy. Venice is known not only for its splendid beauty, but also for being home to some of the most renowned people in history. According to UNESCO, “[t]he whole city is an extraordinary […]

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Christopher Columbus reached the Bahamas

On 12 October 1492, the famous explorer Christopher Columbus reached the archipelago of the Bahamas. In his letter to the treasurer of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus wrote: “Thirty-three days after my departure from Cadiz I reached the Indian sea, where I discovered many islands, thickly peopled, of which I took possession […]

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Family Portraits

Nuclear family is a relatively new concept which refers to a household with parents and their common children. In some countries it is still quite normal to have grandparents and unmarried aunts and uncles live under the same roof. This was even more so the case in the past. Today I’m taking a look at […]

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Caravaggio and his works

On September 29, 1571, one of the most famous Italian artists, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born in Milan. “Arrogant, rebellious and a murderer, Caravaggio’s short and tempestuous life matched the drama of his works. Characterised by their dramatic, almost theatrical lighting, Caravaggio’s paintings were controversial, popular, and hugely influential on succeeding generations of painters […]

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Maestà in all its beauty

The latest collection from the Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz includes the renowned work of the Italian painter Simone di Martino – Maestà. Simone di Martino (c. 1284–1344) was the key figure in the development of early Italian painting and the International Gothic style. Very little is known about Simone, but it is believed that he started […]

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August – the origins of the month’s name

In 45 B.C., after consultations with astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, Roman General Julius Caesar began reforming the Roman calendar. In the process of the reform, the fifth month Quintilis was renamed in his honour – Julius. After Julius’s grandnephew Augustus became Emperor of Rome, he also saw a need for a month of his own. […]

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This week in history

August 1 – One of the most renowned victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank made her last diary entry in 1944. Three days later, the Frank family was discovered and arrested by the Nazis. August 2 – The opera house La Scala (Teatro alla Scala) opened in Milan in 1778. August 4 – Elizabeth, Queen […]

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Girl with a pearl earring – our users’ favourite

She is still leading Europeana’s top ten. For months already, Girl with a pearl earring by Johannes Vermeer has been one of the most viewed objects on Europeana. What is it about this painting that fascinates the viewers? “It must have something to do with the fact that the girl looks over her shoulder, as […]

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One giant leap – This week in history

18 July – Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski was born in 1873. Read Levski’s Ordinance, where he sets out the main principles of a democratic society and calls for the liberation of the Bulgarian people. 19 July – French impressionist Edgar Degas, most famous for his masterful depiction of human movement, was born in Paris in […]

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