Art can be looked at in many ways. We can spend time looking at brushstrokes, use of color, design, perspective and other comments on composition and technique. But, exploring the stories behind the masterpiece, the historic period in that gave birth to the picture, the people and stories portrayed, the society that influenced the painting as well the patron that paid the artist – all of these genres and more can create a remarkable series of tales.

There are stories behind painting and in paintings – society and political dynasties speak through art – many of our masterpieces reflect turning points in history – they are a "window on a world" of the past, present and future.
"Art is about life, and ultimately the stories behind it are not art stories but human stories." (Harvey Rachlin, Scandals, Vandals and Da Vincis, Penguin Books, 2007)

We will discuss two paintings:

Benedetto Pagni: The Medici Madonna Italian
SN 34 oil on panel, 1547

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Antonio Palma: Esther Before Ahasuerus
Italian, c. 1510-1575
SN85, oil on canvas, 1574

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