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Art of History

40 episodes - English - Latest episode: 12 days ago - ★★★★★ - 259 ratings

Episodes from history, viewed through great works of art. No pre-reqs required! New episodes every month. Hosted by Amanda Matta, art historian and TikTok's favorite royal commentator.

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Episodes

Art Bite: King Charles' New Royal Portrait

May 17, 2024 15:50 - 16 minutes

The internet has been ablaze with hot takes on King Charles III's brand-new royal portrait by British artist Jonathan Yeo. Does it depict a strong, capable monarch? Or one who is overshadowed by the chaotic state of his institution and modern world? ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Subscribe to my newsletter, The Fascinator. Email: [email protected] Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matta_of_fact Instagram: @artofhistorypodcast TikTok: @artofhistorypod | @matta_of_...

Portrait of a Woman: Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (with Bridget Quinn)

May 02, 2024 13:04 - 52 minutes

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749–1803) rose from shopkeeper’s daughter to an official portraitist of the French royal court—only to have her achievements reduced to ash by the Revolution. While she defied societal barriers to build a remarkable artistic career, Adélaïde's legacy was long overshadowed by celebrated portraitist and memoirist Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. Today, we’re joined by Bridget Quinn, author of the first (!!) full biography of the trailblazing artist: Portrait of a Woman: Art, Ri...

Double Agent: Chevalier d'Éon

April 04, 2024 07:04 - 1 hour

The Chevalier d'Éon (1728–1810) is known as a transgender icon, living the first half of their life as a man, and the second as a woman. Theirs is also a life that is remarkably documented in contemporary artwork. But how much can we conclusively determine about how the Chevalier viewed themselves from their portraits? Today's Image(s): Alexandre-Auguste Robineau, The Fencing-Match between the Chevalier de Saint-George and the Chevalier d'Éon (c. 1787-9). Oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust...

Aina: The Forgotten Princess

March 07, 2024 11:04 - 1 hour

How did the daughter of an African ruler become goddaughter to Queen Victoria? A young black girl named Aina, later called Sarah Forbes Bonetta (1843–1880), began life in West Africa. But she would grow up to become a popular member of Victorian royal circles. Today's Image: Hannah Uzor, Aina, Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies (2020). Acrylic & fabric on canvas, 120x80 cm. Osborne House, United Kingdom. Hannah Uzor on the English Heritage Podcast Tour Scotland with me! | Tour Germany & Austria with...

The Death of Lady Jane

February 01, 2024 08:04 - 1 hour

With the tragic demise of Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) serving as inspiration for countless works of art, it was hard to select just one to focus our attention on. But I did it, and in this episode, we dive into the short life of England’s Nine Days Queen. Today's Image: Paul Delaroche, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833). Oil on Canvas. National Gallery, London. ______ Join me in traveling this year! Scotland Trip | Germany + Austria Trip ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch...

The Other Side: Women Artists and the Spirit World

January 04, 2024 08:04 - 54 minutes

Amanda is joined on the podcast for this special episode by Jennifer Higgie, author of The Other Side: A Story of Women in Art and the Spirit World.  Uncover the role that spiritualism has played in art, particularly since the dawn of modernism, and delve into the biographies of some trailblazing female artists who were all influenced by the occult. The first major work of art history to focus on women artists and their engagement with the spirit world, The Other Side is so much more than a r...

Unheard Melodies: Hildegard von Bingen

December 28, 2023 08:04 - 56 minutes

At age 42, a nun named Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) decided to heed the command—which she believed came from God—to write down that which she saw and heard. It just so happened that what she saw and heard were visions from Heaven, containing extraordinary sights and sounds that would capture the attention of Popes and Emperors alike for centuries to come. Today's artwork: Hildegard von Bingen, Self-Portrait frontispiece from Scivias (1142-1152). Ink on parchment. Wiesbaden State Library. ...

Joséphine: More than a Queen

November 30, 2023 08:10 - 1 hour

It may have been easy for Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814) to scoff at the “extraordinary destiny” once promised to her by a fortune-teller. From the Island of Martinique, where she spent her girlhood, to the shadow of the guillotine, where she became a single mother, Josephine likely never would have predicted her remarkable rise to become “more than a queen”—until, that is, she met one Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Today's Image: Sir David Wilkie, Joséphine and the Fortune-teller (183...

Art History Horror Story: The Nightmare

October 31, 2023 07:04 - 1 hour

Swiss painter Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) was the man behind one of art history’s most famous spooky paintings: ‘The Nightmare.’ But how much do you actually know about this dream-fuelled Gothic image? Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare (1781). Oil on Canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan. ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Email: [email protected] Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matta_of_fact Instagram: @artofhistorypodcast TikTok: @artofhistorypod // @matta_of_fact L...

Eighth Wonder, Vanished: The Amber Room

September 28, 2023 07:04 - 55 minutes

Last seen in 1945, the Amber Room is the world’s most valuable missing piece of art, valued as highly as $500 million. Looted by the Nazis after Operation Barbarossa, this “Eighth Wonder of the World” once symbolized peace and unity. Today, it instead represents one of art history’s greatest mysteries. Today's Artwork: The Amber Room. Catherine Palace/Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and Heritage Site. ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Email: [email protected] Patreon: ...

Cities of Women: Christine de Pizan with Dr. Kathleen B. Jones

August 31, 2023 07:04 - 51 minutes

Dr. Kathleen B. Jones joins us on the podcast to discuss not only her new book, CITIES OF WOMEN, but also to dive into the life of literary and artistic icon Christine de Pizan (1364/65-1431). Listen to our conversation to hear how Christine became not only the first professional female writer in Europe, but also the first person in France to earn a living as a writer, period. Plus, we discuss the ins and outs of medieval manuscript-making, and the parallels between the obstacles faced by pro...

Art Bite: Thomas Cromwell's Book of Hours

July 27, 2023 07:04 - 51 minutes

When historians first made the link between a book of hours at Trinity College, Cambridge and two others belonging to Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, they weren't just identifying who owned it. Yes, yes - the book was owned by Henry VIII's right-hand-man (for a time, at least): Thomas Cromwell. But this remarkable book has now become the only object from any 16th-century portrait to survive to this day. What can such an item tell us about the man who owned it, his times, and what he want...

Art Bite: Anne of Cleves' House

July 20, 2023 07:04 - 47 minutes

Divorced, beheaded, died... divorced... A house connected to Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), Henry VIII's fourth wife, is currently on the market! Let's discuss the Grade I listed property and a tidbit of Anne's story in this Art Bite. _________ Thanks HelloFresh! Go to HelloFresh.com/arthistory50 and use code arthistory50 for 50% off plus free shipping! _________ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Email: [email protected] Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matta_of_fact Instagr...

Just Another American Fable: Grant Wood

June 30, 2023 07:04 - 59 minutes

Grant Wood (1891-1942) is probably best known for his double portrait depicting a man and woman on a farmstead - that icon of American painting, American Gothic. But his career encompassed so much more, and was marked by an uncanny ability to weave and deconstruct "American values"—whatever those are. In The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Wood builds us a dreamscape in which we can confront the fables and myths of our national identity head-on. And I'm bringing it to you just in time for Inde...

Art Bite: A New Portrait of Henry VIII's Final Queen

June 13, 2023 16:03 - 33 minutes

I’m so excited to be bringing you the first of a NEW offering on the Art of History podcast! 🎉  These “Art Bites,” as I’m calling them, will be a casual place to discuss pieces of news that pertain to topics we’ve either discussed on the show, or which activate my art history brain.  Our first Art Bite is centered on an upcoming auction at Sotheby's, where a privately-owned portrait of Katherine Parr will go up for sale in July. Tune in to hear me geek out about the power display going on in ...

Silence is So Accurate: Mark Rothko & Abstract Expressionism

May 25, 2023 07:04 - 1 hour

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was at the forefront of a generation of American artists who revolutionized the scene, right down to the way we understand the very essence of the artistic process. Even as he rejected both the label of Abstract Expressionism and even the idea that his paintings were technical masterpieces, he is nonetheless a “key protagonist” of the Abstract Expressionist movement and a fierce advocate for the artist’s freedom of expression. Today's Image: Mark Rothko, ‘Untitled (Red...

Romantic Getaway: Gèricault's Raft of the Medusa

April 27, 2023 07:04 - 1 hour

Despite his short life, French painter Thèodore Gèricault (1791-1824) is remembered of one of the giants of art history. In his evocative masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa, Gèricault laid the groundwork for the Romantic era in the visual arts.  It's easy to get swept up in the vast spectrum of human emotion on display in the canvas. But how much of this painting was drawn from real life events? Today's image: Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa. (1818-19). Oil on Canvas. Musée du Louv...

Genius Has No Sex: Rosa Bonheur

March 30, 2023 07:02 - 47 minutes

Marie-Rosalie, or Rosa, Bonheur (1822-1899) has been lauded as the most celebrated woman artist of her time. Her breathtaking animal paintings showcase not only her technical skill, but also her so-called “radical” ideals. But just how “radical” was Rosa—who has been lauded as a feminist art historical figure—actually setting out to be? Today's Image: Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Fair (1852–55). Oil on canvas; 96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in. (244.5 x 506.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Wayne...

The Baroque Bearded Lady: Magdalena Ventura

February 28, 2023 08:04 - 41 minutes

Today, gender is largely understood as a fluid concept. And while an increasingly loud minority insist that "men are men and women are women," and that’s simply the way it’s always been…a look through the lens of art history is just one way to quickly realize how flawed that worldview just might be. Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652) provides that lens in his 1631 portrait of Magdalena Ventura, subtitled 'The Bearded Woman.' Is this a depiction of a woman boldly defying gender norms? Or simply a pe...

Death of Cleopatra - Edmonia Lewis, Pt. 2

January 26, 2023 08:04 - 1 hour

Part II of Edmonia Lewis' story takes us for a closer look at her masterpiece: the 1876 sculpture, 'Death of Cleopatra.' In an echo of Edmonia’s approach to her own biography, the work shows Egypt’s last queen “sealing her fate and having the last word on how she’ll be recorded in history.” Today's Image: Edmonia Lewis, Death of Cleopatra (1876). Marble. Smithsonian American Art Museum. ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Email: [email protected] Patreon: https://www...

History Daily: The Accident that Changed King Henry VIII & The Death of Queen Elizabeth I

January 07, 2023 08:04 - 42 minutes

Today on Art of History, I am beyond thrilled to bring you two episodes of a show that has quickly become a staple in my daily podcast listening: History Daily. Every weekday, host Lindsay Graham (American Scandal, American History Tellers) takes you back in time to explore a momentous event that happened ‘on this day’ in history. Whether it’s to remember the tragedy of December 7th, 1941, the day “that will live in infamy,” or to celebrate that 20th day in July, 1969, when mankind reached t...

Forever Free - Edmonia Lewis, Pt. 1

December 29, 2022 08:02 - 48 minutes

Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) was history’s first internationally recognized sculptor of African American and Native American descent, and (as you might expect!) a woman with a multifaceted life story. Today's Image: Edmonia Lewis, Forever Free (The Morning of Liberty) (1867). Marble, 41.25 x 22 x 17 in. Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. ______ New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch! Email: [email protected] Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matta_of_fact Instagram:...

Family Matters: Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan

November 23, 2022 08:05 - 49 minutes

Ilya Repin (1844-1930) was one of Russia’s leading realist painters, known for his evocative portrayals of 19th-century working conditions. He was also known for his charged depictions of episodes from Russia’s past - such as an 1885 canvas showing Ivan the Terrible moments after striking his son and heir with a deadly blow.  We’ll dive deep into this…unique father-son bond, and explore the motivations that led Repin to put this controversial image on display 300 years after the event in ques...

Ghosts at the Palace

November 10, 2022 08:04 - 1 hour

Two things are true of history podcasts: Everyone loves a bit of Tudor History, and everyone loves a good ghost story. Today, we explore a bit of both! When visiting Henry VIII’s magnificent Hampton Court Palace, it’s often the darker episodes from its past that get the best reactions. Using Tudor portraiture as our guide, let’s explore the origin of some of the Palace’s ghostly tales and the lives at the center of them. Today's images: Jane Seymour (unfinished), after Hans Holbein the Younge...

Who ARTed: Han van Meegeren

October 27, 2022 07:03 - 16 minutes

This episode comes to you courtesy of Kyle Wood, host of an art podcast that fans of Art of History NEED to have on their radar. Who ARTed brings you weekly art history for all ages. Whether you are cramming for your art history exam, trying to learn a few facts so you can sound smart at fashionable dinner parties, or just looking to hear something with a more positive tone, Kyle's got you covered.  Be sure to subscribe to both Who ARTed and Art Smart, both Airwave Media Podcasts, for a weekl...

Art is Political: The “Degenerate” Art Exhibition

September 29, 2022 07:04 - 46 minutes

85 years ago, a groundbreaking art exhibition was held in Munich. It showcased the work of 120 artists, many of these internationally renowned modernists. The show was attended by one million people in its first six weeks. But this landmark show, while one-of-a-kind, is not something to be celebrated. Entartete Kunst (‘Degenerate Art’) was organized at the behest of Adolf Hitler, under Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda, to showcase works of art that “undermined” the ideals of the Nazi r...

Flower Power: Tulipmania and Those who Painted It

August 25, 2022 07:04 - 1 hour

Tulipmania has stuck in our collective memory as one of the biggest economic calamities to ever strike the western world. The popular narrative holds that in 17th century Holland, ​​homes were mortgaged, reputations were ruined, and livelihoods were lost—all so that tulip bulbs could be bought at higher and higher prices. And when the “bubble” burst, chaos ensued. In fact, the truth was far less sensational. But contemporary 17th-century artworks can shed some light on the real Tulip Fever, a...

HRH The Duchess of Baltimore

July 28, 2022 11:00 - 1 hour

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879) was one of America’s first international celebrities and self-made women. But how did this Baltimore girl come to count royalty among her in-laws—a century or two before the likes of Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle snagged their princes? The answer may lie in her unique triple-view portrait by Gilbert Stuart…or is that only part of Elizabeth’s story? Today's Image: Gilbert Stuart, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1804). Oil on canvas. Private collectio...

The Man and His Muse

June 27, 2022 10:00 - 1 hour

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) is considered one of American’s greatest modern artists. His works combine a regionalist simplicity with a surrealist view of the inner world. But without the people and places that inspired him and allowed him to channel his emotions onto the canvas, we might never have seen that inner world at all. Let’s take a walk through the life of Andrew Wyeth, encountering the several muses that played an integral part in his creative process, as we endeavor to answer, “What i...

Spring in Her Step

May 25, 2022 10:00 - 49 minutes

Sandro Botticelli (c.1455-1510) is credited as the man behind some of the greatest mythological paintings in Western art history—a great feat, especially considering that we still don’t fully know the meaning behind his most ambitious work. Primavera, or Spring (c. 1480) is brimming with allegorical puzzle pieces. Rather than using the Primavera to tell a story from the past, this week we’ll take a step into the painting itself in an effort to demystify what was once a prized possession of Fl...

Elizabeth: The Early Years

April 21, 2022 10:00 - 1 hour

In this episode, I put my art history degree to good use (finally) as we discuss a lesser-known portrait of Elizabeth I as she appeared late in the reign of her sister, Mary I, or early in her own reign. Painted in the image of her father, Henry VIII, Elizabeth is trying to communicate many things to many people all at once in this image. How can a single portrait represent her desire to overcome the struggles of her youth and be taken seriously as a pious, powerful female monarch? Today's I...

A Call to Arms

January 26, 2022 14:30 - 36 minutes

This episode has everything: snakes, missing limbs, a true crime case, and sculptor Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni being annoyed. Today’s artwork: Agesander of Rhodes, Athenodoros, and Polydorus (attr.), Laocoön and His Sons (Hellenistic Period?). Marble. Vatican Museums, Vatican City. New episodes every month. Let's keep in touch!  Email: [email protected]  Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matta_of_fact Instagram: @artofhistorypodcast  Twitter: @ArtHistoricPod ...

The Real Queen Charlotte

January 12, 2022 11:07 - 59 minutes

The depiction of Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) as a woman of color in the Netflix series Bridgerton brought her to the forefront of a conversation about non-white historical figures. There’s been much debate over this Georgian queen’s character as a result. Was Queen Charlotte that formidable? And was she really mixed race? Much of the speculation over Charlotte’s ancestry comes from interpretations of Sir Allan Ramsay’s portraits of her, in which her features are, in one historian’s words, “co...

A Swing Called Love

November 11, 2021 11:34 - 34 minutes

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s (1732-1806) painting The Swing is an icon of the Rococo era and a widely-celebrated depiction of innocent, carefree leisure. Or...is it? We’re unpacking some of the, er, erotically charged symbols that you might have missed when you first saw this painting in Disney’s Frozen. Listener discretion is advised for this episode, unless you’re a parent who is prepared to get really cool about some adult themes very quickly. Today's Image: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Les hasards h...

Mr. Lincoln, I Presume?

October 25, 2021 19:45 - 26 minutes

In 1872, Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882) visited the photography studio of one William H. Mumler (1832-1884), who claimed to be able to capture images of deceased loved ones on film. A byproduct of Mrs. Lincoln's spiritualist beliefs, the photograph on which today's episode centers offers us a glimpse at the strange practices which Civil War-era Americans would resort to in their efforts to find comfort and solace in the wake of death and tragedy.  Today's Image: William H. Mumler, “Mary Todd L...

Becoming Joan

October 08, 2021 11:00 - 45 minutes

Jules Bastien-Lepage's life-size depiction of Joan of Arc (1412-1431) shows her at the very beginning of her journey to sainthood. But a lot happened between her spiritual awakening in 1425 and her canonization as the patron saint of France in 1920. So, how did she get there? And how was her image molded by the national and spiritual needs of a nation? Today's image: Jules Bastien-Lepage, Joan of Arc (1879). Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  New episodes every month. Let's...

The Life of Dido

September 24, 2021 10:57 - 41 minutes

In the mid-1770s, the Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793) commissioned a portrait of his two great-nieces, Elizabeth Murray (1760-1825) and Dido Belle (1761-1804). But it was Elizabeth's name that would be remembered through history, and Dido's would only be rediscovered in the 1990s. In this episode, we discuss her origins, her position in her great-uncles stately home, and how she is portrayed in the only known Neoclassical portrait depicting a black woman and a white woman as equals.  Today's im...

Who Tells Your Story?

September 10, 2021 11:00 - 32 minutes

Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a giant of the French Revolution. I guess you could say that one thing led to another, though, and he ended up dead in a bathtub. His friend, artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1845), memorialized that gruesome event in today's artwork and in the process, spun the narrative to better serve their shared political aims. Today's image: Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat (1793). Oil on canvas. Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Belgium. New episodes every month. Let's ...

(Queen) Victoria's Secret

August 27, 2021 11:00 - 29 minutes

Our popular image of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) paints her as a monarch, a mother, a wife, and a widow. But today we are looking at a portrait of Victoria that shows us the woman, not her roles. Join me for a bit of historically sanctioned snooping into the hidden side of Victoria, her relationship with her hubby, and their love language of choice.  Today's image: Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Queen Victoria (1843). Oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust, United Kingdom. New episodes every month....

Introducing the Art of History Podcast!

August 22, 2021 23:23 - 3 minutes

Join me for episodes from history, viewed through great works of art. No pre-reqs required! --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/amanda-matta/support Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices