Curator’s Corner

Myth Inspiration

The turn of the century brought with it swift and brutal political upheaval and dramatic social transformation. While industry and commerce flourished and the affluence of the middle-class increased, the lower working-class, thrown off their land and into overcrowded cities, lived wretchedly. For many 19th century artists, classic myths and ancient legends were a source of inspiration, a means of escape, and a medium for expressing their fury over the great inequalities of wealth and power.

Thomas Benjamin Kennington, a notable 19th C. British artist, depicts the mythological character Pandora after opening a box (given to her by Zeus) which contained all the evils of the world. The moonlight streams through the darkened forest, offering a somber vision of a world in decay and implicitly articulating the artist’s anxieties about contemporary society.

Thomas Kennington (British – 1856-1916)

Kennington trained at several prestigious schools: the Liverpool School of Art, the Royal College of Art in London, and the Academie Julien in Paris. Exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy, he became a respected portrait artist, painting Queen Victoria in 1898.  Passionate about social reform, he established an independent institution that provided exhibition opportunities for artists rejected and discouraged by the dictatorial Academies.


One of the Top 10 !

We’re excited to report that Revolution to Romanticism – the newest exhibition from  The Knohl Collection – is named one of the top 10 opening exhibitions


Got A Light?

Long before the beginning of recorded history, man learned how to spark fires by rubbing two sticks together, not an easy task when faced with the forces of nature – wind and rain. It was not until 1680 that an Englishman named Robert Boyle discovered that phosphorus and sulfur would burst into flame instantly if rubbed together – a breakthrough that would ultimately lead to the modern day match.


The Stories They Tell

Oh, the stories they tell …especially this one! Jean Georges Vibert was a witty French Academic painter who exercised his artistic freedom by poking fun at human foibles.


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About The Curator

Carol Seelig Eastman is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Knohl Collection. In this role, she passionately explores the artist’s personal, social, and political world and places their art in a meaningful historical context. Her thematic exhibitions provide visual and educational stimulation that attract and engage a diverse museum audience.