William Theiss is a PhD candidate in history at Princeton University.

Boxwood miniatures, in a nutshell

William Theiss takes a close look at the pocket-sized sculptures that 15th-century pilgrims thought perfect for private reverie

17 Jan 2024
Detail of a screenshot from ‘Pentiment’, by Obsidian. Photo: Xbox Game Studios

Mobs, murder and manuscripts – why ‘Pentiment’ is a must-play for art historians

In Obsidian’s new video game, you are a 16th-century Bavarian painter – but progress on your masterpiece is interrupted by parochial violence

15 Nov 2022
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria (1662 -1726) (detail; 1725), Charles Claude Dubut.

Why did European nobles go all gooey for waxworks?

They’re now little more than popular amusements – but with their discomfiting realism, wax effigies were once considered fit for royalty

15 Jun 2022
A Member of the Wedigh Family (detail; c. 1533), Hans Holbein the Younger. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Holbein’s signs and seals really deliver at the Morgan Library

By homing in on Holbein’s miniatures, this survey of the Renaissance master gives us a broad picture of the world he lived in

28 Feb 2022