Masterpiece Minute Podcast

This 60-second podcast series shares the fascinating story, historical context, and significance behind important works in the SDMA collection.

Drop in monthly for a new episode on the SDMA app or embedded below.


Untitled 13 by Pouran Jinchi
Pouran Jinchi, Untitled 13 (Rubaiyat series), 1996. Ink and acrylic on canvas; 30 x 19 15/16 in. (762 x 506.41 mm). Museum purchase with funds provided by Sarah E. Aghassi, Nasrin Owsia & Behrooz Akbarnia, Gita Khadiri & Fred Khoroushi, Farnaz & Kourosh Mehrayin, Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, and Mahsa Vahidi & Arman Paymai in honor of Ms. Shahri Estakhry, 2022.31.

Episode 61:  Untitled 13 (Rubaiyat series) by Pouran Jinchi

Explore the interplay between word and image in this new acquisition by Pouran Jinchi inspired by medieval Persian poet and polymath Omar Khayyam. Listen now to hear more about this contemporary artist’s exploration of classical Persian calligraphy through a deconstruction of Khayyam’s verses into single letters, which then transform into a brilliant composition of form and color.

Listen now:

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José Guadalupe Posada,Broadside: To Our Lady of Guadalupe, ca. 1890. Lithograph on newsprint. Gift of Forrest D. Colburn, 2009.16.

Episode 60:  Broadside: To Our Lady of Guadalupe by José Guadalupe Posada

She’s a legend, a symbol, an icon. Get to know the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe, understood as a beacon of freedom and national pride in Mexico. The Lady of Guadalupe, as she is also known, is famously depicted here by José Guadalupe Posada, a trailblazing printmaker, cartoonist, and graphic artist active in Mexico from the 1880s to the 1910s.

Listen now:

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Bottle with landscape and flowing river, 17th century. Stonepaste, underglaze and luster decoration. Gift of Mrs. Irving T. Snyder. Conservation funded by Haleh and Massih Tayebi, 1964.72.

Episode 59:  Bottle with landscape and flowing river

Take a closer look at the above pear-shaped ceramic bottle created in Iran at the end of the seventeenth century. Hear how this decorative object combines Chinese and Iranian art traditions, exemplifies the innovation of the era, and even shows a semi-hidden figure.

Listen now:

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Pablo Picasso, Black Pitcher and the Death’s Head, 1946. Lithograph on paper. Bequest of Margot W. Marsh, 1995.40. © 2022 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Episode 58:  Black Pitcher and the Death’s Head by Pablo Picasso

Examine Black Pitcher and the Death’s Head, a magnificent still life created on the heels of World War II in 1946 by the renowned giant of Modernism, Pablo Picasso. Hear how Picasso’s defiance—of Nazism, of Fascism, of the horrors of war and genocide—can be found in the objects depicted and how this work alludes to one of Picasso’s single-most defiant works of art.

Listen now:

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Clay artwork hanging on wall - Salare by Fernando Casasempere at The San Diego Museum of Art
Fernando Casasempere, Salar, 2019. Clay and ink on felt. Photograph from TERRA at The San Diego Museum of Art. Anonymous, 2022.29.

Episode 57:  Salare by Fernando Casasempere

Take a closer look at the wall-based Salares created by renowned contemporary Chilean sculptor Fernando Casasempere. Made of clay and ink on felt, the Salares pieces hang like arid landscape formations, paying homage to the Atacama Desert of Chile, the driest warm desert on Earth. Hear about the artist’s process and inspiration in this month’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

Listen now:

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View Salar by Fernando Casasempere online.

French bulldog seated on barrel chair with a canopy of birds
Nick Cave, Rescue, 2013. Mixed media including ceramic French bulldog, ceramic birds, metal flowers, and barrel chair. © Nick Cave. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Museum purchase with funds from the bequest of Dr. Janet Brody Esser, 2022.18.

Episode 56:  Rescue by Nick Cave

Discover the newest addition to the Museum collection: an assemblage of ceramic birds, beads, metal flowers, and a bull dog from a series called “Rescue” by Chicago-based contemporary artist Nick Cave. Like so many of Cave’s works, Rescue invites several layers of interpretation, often challenging historical associations to heighten a collective awareness of longstanding social injustices. Explore multiple interpretations of the work in this month’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

Listen now:

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View Rescue by Nick Cave online.

King Mihrab of Kabul learns of Rudabeh’s affections for Prince Zal, 19th century. Opaque watercolor on paper. Gift of Edwin Binney 3rd, 1971.69.

Episode 55:  King Mihrab of Kabul learns of Rudabeh’s affections for Prince Zal

Step into a tense scene of family conflict from a nineteenth-century page from the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, the Persian epic by the 11th-century author Abul Qasim Firdawsi (d. 1020). Shown here, Rudabeh is on the floor and at the mercy of her father, King Mihrab, while Rudabeh’s mother, Queen Sindokht (shown above in red), fights to protect her daughter. It is all part of a larger romantic love story between Rudabeh and Zal, a great warrior of Iran, with elaborate political negotiations by both families. Hear how Sindokht’s motherly love, intelligence, and political acumen ultimately carve a path for her daughter’s happiness.

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Berthe Morisot, Girl Reading (Portrait of Julie Manet at Gorey), 1886. Pastel on paper. Bemberg Foundation.

Episode 54:  Girl Reading (Portrait of Julie Manet at Gorey) by Berthe Morisot

Discover Impressionist leading lady Berthe Morisot and meet her daughter, Julie Manet, shown above at age 7 reading. The intimate portrait by Morisot is a fitting introduction to Julie Manet’s art-filled life. Hear how Morisot became a founder of the Impressionist movement and how Julie Manet’s long life was surrounded by art and artists.

Listen now:

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A Sudden flight is reported: Umar and Landhaur converse outside Hamza’s tent. Page from a Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza). Mughal India, ca. 1558–73. Ink and opaque watercolor on cloth, with writing on reverse in ink on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.274.

Episode 53:  A Sudden flight is reported: Umar and Landhaur converse outside Hamza’s tent. Page from a Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza)

Discover the layers of story and drama detailed in this illustrated manuscript depicting a scene from the epic poem Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza).

The epic is inspired by popular legends recited by storytellers about the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Amir Hamza, who spreads the word of Islam as he travels the world and encounters a wondrous spectrum of characters, from kings and nobility to handmaidens, giants, fairies, and dragons.

The illustrated version of the epic was commissioned by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1562 and was a monumental undertaking, ultimately encompassing 14 volumes with 1,400 paintings by Indian and Iranian artists, less than 150 of which survive today.

Step into this epic tale of cunning foes and loyal friendships to hear the story unfolding on the page, as well as the history behind the making of the monumental manuscript to which this magnificent work belongs.

Listen now:

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Reclining Figure Arch Leg bronze sculpture by Henry Moore in outdoor garden
Henry Spencer Moore, O.M., Reclining Figure: Arch Leg, 1969. Bronze. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge, 1971.2.

Episode 52:  Reclining Figure: Arch Leg by Henry Moore

Explore the human form with sculptor Henry Moore. Hear how Moore created his larger-than-life sculptures, including Reclining Figure: Arch Leg in the Museum’s sculpture garden, and used his work to expose the interdependent relationship between figure and landscape. 

Listen now:

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Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, The Anchorite, ca. 1869. Etching on laid paper. Gift of Norman Leitman in Memory of Todd Butler, 2020.388.

Episode 51:  The Anchorite by Mariano Fortuny

Explore this dramatic etching by nineteenth-century Spanish artist Mariano Fortuny, the most internationally acclaimed Spanish artist of his day. Hear how the artist achieved the depth and emotion displayed in The Anchorite and what influenced his work in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

Listen now:

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View The Anchorite by Mariano Fortuny online.

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Painting of Susanna and the Elders by Jusepe de Ribera
Jusepe de Ribera (AKA Lo Spagnoletto), Susanna and the Elders, 1610-1612. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 2021.51.

Episode 50:  Susanna and the Elders by Jusepe de Ribera

Step into a tense scene from the Biblical story of Susanna and the Elders, depicted here by Jusepe de Ribera. A recent acquisition, the painting by Ribera explores themes of virtue, faith, and power. Hear how this scene leads to a tense courtroom drama in which virtue ultimately wins over evil.

Listen now:

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Mohammad Barrangi, Migration, 2018. Reverse transfer printmaking on raw canvas. © Mohammad Barrangi.

Episode 49:  Migration by Mohammad Barrangi

Take flight with a new mixed media work that is the Museum’s first acquisition of contemporary art from Iran. Learn about the traditions upon which this large work on canvas was developed and hear how the artist uses his work to explore immigration in a diasporic world.

Listen now:

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Edgar Degas, Manet Seated, turned to the right,1864-1865. Copper plate. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie L. Johnson, 1976.41.

Episode 48:  Manet Seated, Turned to the Right by Edgar Degas

Manet Seated, Turned to the Right is one of three etched portraits Edgar Degas completed of his friend and artist Édouard Manet. Hear the story behind this copper plate of Manet created by Degas in the 1860s and what work of art, created years later, led to the souring of their friendship.

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Sri Ananda Buddhi, Pancharaksha (The Five Protections) (detail), 1138. Opaque watercolor and ink on palm leaves and wood boards. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990.156.

Episode 47:  Pancharaksha (The Five Protections)

Bask in the beauty of a masterpiece of Himalayan art. This month’s Masterpiece Minute podcast introduces a 12th-century illustrated copy of the Pancharaksha, or Five Protections, a work composed of five hymns addressed to five Buddhist protective goddesses. Each goddess is painted in a different color, with specific gestures, anatomical features, and various objects held in their numerous hands.

Hear the reason for the long-lasting popularity of the Pancharaksha in the Himalayan country of Nepal and what makes this Museum’s copy of the manuscript unique.

Listen now:

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Ammadin, Maharaja Gaj Singh of Bikaner, 1851. Opaque watercolor on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.808.

Episode 46:  Maharaja Gaj Singh of Bikaner by Ammadin

How realistic is this court portrait of the Maharaja of Bikaner, Gaj Singh II? Step into the Rajput court of Bikaner, located in the desert region of Rajasthan located in northwest India, and take a closer look at a masterful painting depicting wealth and status. This Masterpiece Minute podcast episode shares how this and other court portraits from the region use symbols and artistic technique to show the subject’s high social status and wealth. Plus, learn about the context in which this was portrait was originally shared.

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Standing figure holding object above head, Dogon peoples, Mali, Bandiagara escarpment, 19th–early 20th century. Carved wood. Gift of Valerie Franklin. 2019.27.

Episode 45:  Standing figure holding object above head 

What is being communicated through this wooden figure, carved by a Dogon blacksmith? Hear the layers of meaning associated with this fascinating work and learn about the Dogon peoples, who live primarily in the Bandiagara escarpment of Mali, Africa, in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Albrecht Dürer, Saint Anthony Reading, 1519. Engraving. Museum purchase. 1947.67.

Episode 44:  Saint Anthony Reading by Albrecht Dürer

What is Saint Anthony reading in this print? Find out and explore the work and life of Albrecht Dürer, a leading European portraitist and printmaker of the sixteenth century, in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode. Travel with him from his hometown of Nuremberg in present-day Germany to Venice and throughout Italy. Plus, hear how Dürer fought against the plagiarism of his works.

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Baccio Baldini (AKA Bartolommeo Baldini), Canto I (from Dante’s Inferno), 1481. Engraving. Gift of George C. Kenney II and Olga Kitsakos-Kenney. 1999.20.

Episode 43:  Canto I (from Dante’s Inferno) attributed to Baccio (Bartolommeo) Baldini

Commemorate the work of Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, also known as Dante’s Inferno, on what is the 800th anniversary of his death in 1321. Explore a scene from Dante’s epic poem depicted above in Canto I (from Dante’s Inferno), a print from 1481 attributed to Baccio Baldini. Plus, learn about the mystery surrounding this work and why it is only attributed to Baldini.

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Read along in the Masterpiece Minute Episode 43 PDF.

The Arrest of Santa Engracia by Bartolomé Bermejo altar panel painting
Bartolomé Bermejo (AKA Bartolomé de Cárdenas), The Arrest of Santa Engracia, 1474-1477. Oil on panel. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1941.101.

Episode 42: The Arrest of Santa Engracia by Bartolomé Bermejo

Who was Santa Engracia, depicted here as part of a larger altarpiece by Bartolomé Bermejo, and what led to her arrest? Also, where are the other three panels of this altarpiece now located? Learn this and more as you get to know Spanish artist Bartolomé Bermejo and explore the life of Santa Engracia in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast about The Arrest of Santa Engracia.

Listen now:

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Food bowls with covers, China, Qing Dynasty, late 18th–early 19th century. Nephrite and walnut. Gift of Mrs. George D. Pratt, 1927.33.a-b.1-2.

Episode 41: Food bowls with covers, late 18th–early 19th century China

Explore the delicate details and rich history of this pair of jade covered food bowls of probable Mughal origin that were traded to China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and gifted to the Museum in 1924. Venture to hear a history of jade in the region and how it inspired an emperor.

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View Food bowls with covers, China, Qing Dynasty, late 18th–early 19th century online.

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Lajvardina seven-part dish. Iran, 13th–14th century. Stonepaste, painted in red and white with gold leaf over a deep-blue glaze. Gift of Mrs. Irving T. Snyder, Conservation funded by Sarah E. Aghassi and Shahri Estakhry Aghassi, 1964.131.

Episode 40: Lajvardina seven-part dish, 13th–14th century Iran

What might have been the use of this seven-compartment dish and how did Chinese designs influence the intricate patterns on display? Explore the many layers of stories present in this unique Lajvardina seven-part dish from 13th–14th century Iran in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast. Journey with this Lajvardina seven-part dish from the Museum’s permanent collection to learn about a distinct decorative technique developed in Mongol Iran, cross-cultural transmissions from China, the Persian new year called Nawruz, and how objects can relay stories about their journeys over space and time.

Listen now:

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Hughie Lee-Smith. Sunday Afternoon, 1953. Acrylic on board. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge, 1996.5.

Episode 39: Sunday Afternoon by Hughie Lee-Smith

Enjoy a stroll and learn about this 1953 painting, Sunday Afternoon, by Hughie Lee-Smith. Hear what life experiences influenced his work and how he used his art to give both a social commentary of American city life and provide profound psychological insight.

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Ansel Adams. El Capitan, Sunrise Winter, Yosemite National Park [from Portfolio VII], 1968 (printed 1976). Gelatin silver print. The Garner Collection. © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

Episode 38: El Capitan, Sunrise Winter, Yosemite National Park [from Portfolio VII] by Ansel Adams

Explore breathtaking views of Yosemite National Park with Ansel Adams. Learn about his early life, first camera, and ties to Yosemite National Park, all in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Fray Miguel de Herrera, O.A. Nun’s Shield, mid-18th century. Oil on copper. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Latin American Arts Committee. 2001.12.

Episode 37: Nun’s Shield by Fray Miguel de Herrera

What is a nun’s shield and why were these miniature works of art created? Journey to 17th and 18th century Mexico and learn the fascinating history of nun’s shields, or badges, as exemplified in Nun’s Shield by Fray Miguel de Herrera, in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Juan de Mesa y Velasco. Christ Child Triumphant, ca. 1620. Polychromed lead / tin alloy. Museum Acquisitions Fund. 2014.134.

Episode 36: Christ Child Triumphant by Juan de Mesa y Velasco

Step into the world of Spanish sculpture with the Christ Child Triumphant by Juan de Mesa y Velasco and Workshop. Hear how Christ Child sculptures such as this one were made and then adorned in sumptuous wardrobes, complete with crowns and props, in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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Pablo Picasso (AKA Pablo Ruiz y Picasso). The Frugal Repast, 1904. Etching. Museum purchase with funds provided by Mrs. Irving T. Snyder. 1941.55.

Episode 35: The Frugal Repast by Pablo Picasso

How did Picasso come to capture this couple and what themes is he exploring? Hear the meaning and provenance of Pablo Picasso’s The Frugal Repast in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast, plus hear what previous work is hiding in the background of this piece.

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The Virgin and Child, ca. 1590–1598. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990.293.

Episode 34: The Virgin and Child attributed to Basawan or Manohar

How did this traditionally European image of the Virgin Mary nursing the infant Jesus come to 16th century Mughal India? Explore the blend of cultures and styles shown in The Virgin and Child, which was completed in the 1590s for the Mughal emperor Akbar, then mounted onto the gilded page of an album made for his son and successor, Jahangir. Learn the history and significance of this beautiful work of art and folio page in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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Juan Sánchez Cotán. Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, ca. 1602. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1945.43.

Episode 33: Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber by Juan Sánchez Cotán

Revisit Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber by Juan Sánchez Cotán for a tour of Spanish cuisine and history in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast. Plus, hear how this painting came to the United States and narrowly avoided tragedy.

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Diego Rivera. Mandrágora, 1939. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Irving T. Snyder. 1967.159.

Episode 32: Mandrágora by Diego Rivera

What is the significance of the symbols included in this portrait? Take a closer look at Mandrágora, a masterpiece of Surrealist art by the celebrated Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast. Hear the story behind the painting.

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View Mandrágora by Diego Rivera online.

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Rembrandt van Rijn. Self-portrait, ca. 1628. Oil on panel. Loan from the Rijksmuseum. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, the Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het Rijksmuseum and the ministerie van CRM.

Episode 31: Self-portrait, ca. 1628 by Rembrandt

How and why did Rembrandt create this and other self-portraits? Be drawn in by this early self-portrait depicting the artist at around 22 years of age, considered by some to be Rembrandt’s first great self-portrait, and hear how he demonstrated his early mastery and willingness to experiment in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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View Self-portrait, ca. 1628 by Rembrandt online.

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Bowl with epigraphic design, Iran, 10th century. Earthenware, white slip with brownish-black slip decoration under a transparent glaze. Gift of the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection. 2006.213.

Episode 30: Bowl with epigraphic design, 10th century Iran

What is the meaning of the designs on this bowl? Travel to 10th century Iran in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast and discover the hidden message on this slip-painted bowl with calligraphic decoration. Hear how the distinct look of this piece was achieved, what the calligraphy communicates, and how epigraphic wares such as this reflect a cultural revival of the time and region.

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Marisol (AKA Marisol Escobar; Maria Sol Escobar). Pocahontas (1976). Lithograph. Gift of Laurence and Marsha Saben. 2002.201.

Episode 29: Pocahontas by Marisol

Take a fresh look at a classic portrait of Matoaka, popularly known as Pocahontas. Explore how this 1976 portrait by Marisol, titled Pocahontas, compares to the 1616 Dutch print of the same name by Simon van de Passe. Both works in the SDMA permanent collection feature the same historical figure, but listen along to hear how Marisol updates the portrait to also reflect Matoaka’s indigenous roots. 

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Ram Singh on an elephant, India, ca. 1850. Ink and watercolor on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.734.

Episode 28: Ram Singh on an elephant

Join the royal procession and discover the meaning of this portrait of Maharao Ram Singh II, Rajput ruler of the Rajasthani kingdom of Kota in modern-day India from 1827 to 1866. Plus, hear the clues Ram Singh on an elephant provides about how paintings were conceived, completed, and copied at court.

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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Saint Bartholomew, 1657. Oil on canvas. Putnam Foundation, Timken Museum of Art.

Episode 27: Saint Bartholomew by Rembrandt

A special long-term loan from the Timken Museum of Art, Saint Bartholomew, painted in 1657, is one of the most important works from the final phase of Rembrandt’s career. Hear about the significance of this work, how Rembrandt uses light to reflect emotion, and why Saint Bartholomew is depicted holding a knife.

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An African elephant and mahout, drawing mounted on a detached album folio. India, Deccan, Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur, ca. 1700–05. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.505.

Episode 26: An African elephant and mahout

How did a portrait of an African elephant and its mahout, or caretaker, come to be drawn at Mughal Indian court? Hear the story behind this rare drawing and hear how it has been tied with an Italian doctor and arts patron known to have spent time at the Mughal Indian court.

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Charles Burchfield. Rainy Night, 1929-1930. Watercolor over graphite on paper. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1939.97.

Episode 25: Rainy Night by Charles Burchfield

Journey back in time to Buffalo, New York in 1929 in this episode of the Masterpiece Minute podcast. Hear what inspired American watercolorist Charles Burchfield’s Rainy Night and his reaction upon hearing that the painting was purchased by The San Diego Museum of Art.

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View Charles Burchfield’s Rainy Night, online.

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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Self-Portrait, Etching at a Window, 1648. Etching. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Helen M. Towle Bequest. 1947.64.d.

Episode 24: Self Portrait, Etching at a Window by Rembrandt

Explore the best-known etching self-portrait by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, or simply Rembrandt, in this week’s Masterpiece Minute podcast episode. Hear how prints such as Self Portrait, Etching at a Window helped bolster Rembrandt’s fame, and learn how Rembrandt experimented with the process.

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Pedro de Mena. San Diego de Alcalá, ca. 1665-1670. Polychromed wood and glass. Museum Purchase with Funds from the Estate of Donald Shira and from Anne Otterson. 2012.77.a-b.

Episode 23: San Diego de Alcalá by Pedro de Mena

How did sculptors make this and similar seventeenth-century Spanish statues look so realistic? Learn about Spain’s highly naturalistic sculpture style and how it is shown in this sculpture, San Diego de Alcalá by Pedro de Mena, in this episode of the Museum’s Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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View Pedro de Mena’s San Diego de Alcalá, online.

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Pompeo Batoni. Étienne-René Cardinal Potier de Gesvres,1758. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase. 1983.7.

Episode 22: Étienne-René Cardinal Potier de Gesvres by Pompeo Batoni

This eighteenth-century Roman portrait, Étienne-René Cardinal Potier de Gesvres by Pompeo Batoni, has a history of deception and redemption tied to World War II. Hear its story, including how it was rescued by the Allied officers of the famed Monuments Men division.

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Basin or Charger, 16th century. Earthenware, painted in luster over an opaque white glaze. Gift of Edwin Binney 3rd. 1971.73.

Episode 21: Basin or Charger, 16th century Spain

What makes this large serving dish shine and how did the trade secret travel from medieval Iraq to 16th century Spain and beyond? Learn about the fascinating history of this closely guarded technique, called luster, in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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José Agustín Arrieta. Still Life,  ca. 1870. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase with funds provided by Dean and Mrs. Michael H. Dessent and the Latin American Arts Committee. 2001.17.

Episode 20: Still Life by José Agustín Arrieta

Visit Mexico and hear how José Agustín Arrieta reinvented still life painting in the region with works including this masterpiece, titled Still Life.

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Krishna steals clothes of the milkmaids, India, ca. 1880. Painted wood engraving on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990.1441.

Episode 19: Krishna steals clothes of the milkmaids

Hear why stories of Krishna and other narratives about Hindu deities are popular subject matter and learn some of the history of printmaking in India in this episode of the Masterpiece Minute podcast. Plus, hear the story behind Krishna steals clothes of the milkmaids.

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Domenikos Theotokopoulos (AKA El Greco; Kryiakos Theotokopoulos). The Adoration of the Shepherds, ca. 1576-1577. Oil on copper. Museum purchase and gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, by exchange. 1990.104.

Episode 18: The Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco

How did Spanish master El Greco begin and how did he create his signature style? Learn about El Greco and the significance of this oil painting on copper, The Adoration of the Shepherds, in this episode of the Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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The Prodigal Son, ca. 1600, Iran. Opaque watercolor and ink on paper. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney 3rd. 1972.232.

Episode 17: The Prodigal Son

How did European-style imagery and themes come to the Iranian court? Specifically, how did an engraving of The Prodigal Son with the Swine, created in 1538 by prolific German printmaker Sebald Beham, travel to and inspire the 17th century Iranian print of The Prodigal Son shown here?

Explore how art and ideas travel in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Bartholomaeus Spranger. Hercules and Omphale, 1590. Engraving. Gift of Norman Leitman and Todd Butler. 2004.190.

Episode 16: Hercules and Omphala by Bartholomaeus Spranger

How is Bartholomaeus Spranger exploring gender identity in this work? What is the meaning of the iconography shown in this engraving of Hercules and Omphale?

Explore this work and learn about Flemish painter Bartholomeus Spranger, the leading court artist to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in Prague (now Czech Republic), in this episode of the Masterpiece Minute podcast.

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Zahhak enthroneddetached page from an illustrated manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of kings). Iran, possibly Shiraz, ca. 1435. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney 3rd, 1972.223.

Episode 15: Zahhak enthroned

What’s the cautionary tale for rulers shared in this illustrated manuscript page? What’s happening here and how does it relate to Iranian tradition?

Do you see the snakes in this manuscript page? Hear the cautionary tale for rulers shared in this illustrated manuscript page in the second of a two-part podcast series on the arts of the book in Iran. Learn about legendary Iranian kings, Persian folklore, how the Shahnama helped promote refined conduct, and more.

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Gurdiya advises her brother Bahram Chubina, detached page from an illustrated manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of kings). Iran or Iraq, early 14th century. Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper. Gift of Edwin Binney 3rd. 1971.54 

Episode 14: Gurdiya advises her brother

What’s the significance of this early 14th century folio page? What’s happening here and how does it relate to Iranian tradition? Hear this and more in the first of a two-part podcast series on the arts of the book in Iran.

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Juan de Pareja. Christ Served by Angels, ca. 1660. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam and commemorating the Silver Jubilee Celebration of Fine Arts Society. 1950.109.

Episode 13: Christ Served by Angels attributed to Juan de Pareja

What clues lead us to believe this unsigned painting is by Juan de Pareja, an enslaved Spanish painter of African descent who spent nearly his entire adult life in the workshop of Diego Velázquez? Unravel this mystery and hear about Pareja’s life, which for many years was shrouded in legend.

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Rachel Ruysch (AKA Rachel Ruisch; Mrs. Juriaen Pool). A Vase of Flowers, 1689. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase with funds from the Gerald and Inez Grant Parker Foundation. 1979.25

Episode 12: A Vase of Flowers by Rachel Ruysch

Is the placement of the flowers painted in this piece random or quite purposeful? Explore this and hear about the family life and career success of celebrated Dutch painter Rachel Ruysch in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Delta Doo by Alison Saar
Alison Saar. Delta Doo, 2002. Woodcut. Gift of Walt Disney Imagineering. 2008.48.

Episode 11: Delta Doo by Alison Saar

What is the meaning of the symbolism in this portrait? Hear how Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar explores race, gender, and identity in the African diaspora. Learn about the bottle tree tradition and its significance in this powerful woodcut portrait in this Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Ambrogio Bondone Giotto (AKA Giotto di Bondone). God the Father with Angels, ca. 1330. Tempera on panel. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1945.26.

Episode 10: God the Father with Angels by Giotto

The oldest European painting in the Museum collection, God the Father with Angels has a fascinating history. Learn about this work, including how it was rediscovered, and the hidden feature the artist left for future generations.

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Indra, mounted on Airavata, proceeding into battle with his army, page from an illustrated manuscript of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Tales of the Lord Vishnu), ca. 1840. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990.1308.

Episode 9: Indra, mounted on Airavata, proceeding into battle with his army

Who were Indra and Airavata and why are elephants so important in South Asian art? Learn the history and context of Indra, mounted on Airavata, proceeding into battle with his army, a page from an illustrated manuscript of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Tales of the Lord Vishnu).

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Diego Rivera (AKA José Diego Marìa Rivera). The Hands of Dr. Moore, 1940. Oil on canvas. Bequest of Mrs. E. Clarence Moore. 1970.20.

Episode 8: The Hands of Dr. Moore by Diego Rivera

What influenced this surreal portrait? Explore the layers of meaning and depth of this work by Diego Rivera and be sure to listen all the way to the end for a science fun fact.

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Elephants and Drivers Fighting for Sport, drawing mounted on a detached album folio. India, Deccan, Bijapur or Ahmadnagar, 1st quarter 17th century. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990.439.

Episode 7: Elephants and Drivers Fighting for Sport

Enter the world of ancient south Indian courtly art and learn the many roles of elephants in this latest Masterpiece Minute podcast episode.

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Francisco de Zurbarán. Virgin and Child with Saint John, 1658. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R., Amy and Irene Putnam. 1935.22

Episode 6: Antique Spanish frame for Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist by Francisco de Zurbarán

What makes this antique Spanish frame a perfect fit for this work by Francisco de Zurbarán? Hear how this frame and painting came together in the latest episode of Masterpiece Minute.

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This episode of Masterpiece Minute is brought to you in part by the Tourist Office of Spain.

Hendrick Goltzius (AKA Hendrik Goltz; Hendrick Goltius), Frederick de Vries, 1597. Engraving on laid paper. Gift of Norman Leitman and Todd Butler. 2004.108.

Episode 5: Frederick de Vries (also known as A Boy and His Dog) by Hendrick Goltzius

A boy, a dog, and a bird. What’s the hidden message? Learn the story behind this endearing engraving from Hendrick Goltzius.

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Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (AKA Joaquín Sorolla Bastida Gascón Prat Bux Tenas Esc). María at La Granja, 1907. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. Archer M. Huntington in memory of his mother, Arabella D. Huntington. 1925.1

Episode 4: María at La Granja by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida

Who was María and what is the significance of her being in La Granja? Learn the story behind this masterpiece by Sorolla, the very first work in the SDMA collection.

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This episode of Masterpiece Minute is brought to you in part by the Tourist Office of Spain.

Francisco de Zurbarán. Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”), ca. 1635-1640. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1947.36.

Episode 3: Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) by Francisco de Zurbarán

Still life or devotional symbolic painting? Hear the significance of this work and why it’s a favorite among kids.

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View Zurbarán’s Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) online.

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This episode of Masterpiece Minute is brought to you in part by the Tourist Office of Spain.

Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranc). Portrait of a Man, 1506. Oil on panel. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1941.100.

Episode 2: Portrait of a Man by Giorgione

Why did so few of Giorgione’s works survive? Learn the reason and how this important work breaks from earlier portraits from the Italian Renaissance.

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Juan Sánchez Cotán. Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, ca. 1602. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1945.43

Episode 1: Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber by Juan Sánchez Cotán

Hear the history behind this masterful still life, including which royal court it once adorned and how it’s tied to the Carthusian monastery.

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This episode of Masterpiece Minute is brought to you in part by the Tourist Office of Spain.


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Featured: Jules-Ferdinand Jacquemart. The Musician, 19th century. Etching. Gift of John F. Hollowell, 1967.22.g.