Masterpiece

Nat King Cole and his band took ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’ from melancholic love song to upbeat jingle fit for the era.

Marguerite Yourcenar’s ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’ imagines the dying ruler taking stock of his journey and coming to terms with the transience of human existence.

Monet’s ‘Weeping Willow’ is one of a series begun in 1918, when France’s fate hung in the balance.

In Stephen Crane’s ‘The Open Boat,’ unbreakable bonds are formed on the brink of death.

A yearslong cleaning and repair effort has restored the Church of The Red Monastery’s brilliant paintings.

Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe,’ though set in the 12th century, is surprisingly resonant today with its sympathy for the oppressed and hope for society’s ability to overcome trying times.

Jean-Étienne Liotard’s ‘The Chocolate Girl’ is a technically flawless aesthetic triumph of the medium.

When Michelangelo took over the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica, it was a mess. But he turned it into an icon.

Wordsworth’s poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ invites readers to appreciate beauty by looking at it with our inward eye.

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ is a mystery that, in our current moment, resonates as a poignant portrait of boredom in confinement.

Camille Saint-Saëns’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’ is a musical safari, complete with roaring lions, giant elephants and very persistent donkeys.

John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is a powerful, inspiring story of human resilience in the face of unfathomable hardship.

The fruit of an artistic rivalry, ‘Transfiguration’ turned out to be Raphael’s greatest achievement.

Albert Camus’s ‘The Plague’ is a picture of life—and hope—in a time of pestilence and quarantine.

Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Conversation’ takes on the ethics of eavesdropping in a film that still resonates with the contemporary world.

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