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Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Gustav Klimt, Burgtheater (Vienna, Austria); Death of Romeo and Juliet, 1884-1887. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y., artres.com

Gustav Klimt, Burgtheater (Vienna, Austria); Death of Romeo and Juliet, 1884-1887. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y., artres.com

Artstor is introducing curriculum guides–collections of images from the Artstor Digital Library based on syllabi for college courses–compiled by faculty members and experts around the country. Learn more here.

Shakespeare: Text and Performance
Julia Reinhard Lupton, Professor, English, University of California, Irvine
This curriculum guide focuses on three plays: Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline. The reading list covers three genres (tragedy, comedy, romance) and leads from very familiar to less familiar works by Shakespeare. I use Artstor images to build out Shakespeare’s world and the worlds depicted in the plays; to explore themes from mythology and literature drawn on in these plays; to provide insight into subsequent stage history; and to inspire students’ own scenographic imaginations.

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Paul-Émile Bécat, André  Gide,  1919, La Bibliothèque de l'INHA-collections Jacques Doucet. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Paul-Émile Bécat, André Gide, 1919, La Bibliothèque de l’INHA-collections Jacques Doucet. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

This year’s Nobel Prize winners in literature are set to be announced next week. Despite there being no public information about the candidates–the list is kept secret for fifty years after each award–U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes has been busy taking bets.

While we’re as much in the dark as to who will win as anyone else, we can offer a list of all the previous winners, along with links to dozens of their portraits (or, in the case of Thomas Mann, to a photo of his hands) in the Artstor Digital Library.

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Gavin Hamilton, Venus Presenting Helen to Paris, Museo di Roma. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.;www.artres.com; scalarchives.com, Rights (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Gavin Hamilton, Venus Presenting Helen to Paris, Museo di Roma. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; http://www.artres.com; scalarchives.com, Rights (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?”

So asks the title character in Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus upon seeing the radiant ghost of Helen of Troy. Marlowe was not the only artist to be captivated by Helen and her fabled beauty. Indeed, for millennia, painters, sculptors, poets and playwrights have been inspired by her story.

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Aubrey Beardsley, Le Morte D'Arthur; "La Beale Isoud at Joyous Gard", 1893. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Aubrey Beardsley, Le Morte D’Arthur; “La Beale Isoud at Joyous Gard”, 1893. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Aubrey Beardsley was born on August 21, 1872. Despite dying of tuberculosis at the young age of twenty-five in 1898, the artist managed to have a brilliant career full of controversy and scandal. He shot to fame with his illustrations for Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur in 1893, and then became notorious for his illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1894).

Recurring images throughout his career follow two seemingly incongruous paths. There is an emphasis on sly, clever wickedness; a youthful disregard for propriety; and an interest in the perverse and profane. Overlapping imagery of melancholia and death lead the second path. These two broad and inconsistent currents each render distinct images of the same artist who was drawn to scandal and associated himself with the 1890s Symbolist crowd often scorned by the arts elite and general public alike.

The images in this post come from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and George Eastman House collections in the Artstor Digital Library.

Elizabeth Darocha Berenz

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Visitors viewing display cases and Bird Dome, Hall of the Birds of the World, 1927, American Museum of Natural History, Photographer: H. S. Rice. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History

Visitors viewing display cases and Bird Dome, Hall of the Birds of the World, 1927, American Museum of Natural History, Photographer: H. S. Rice. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History

Visiting the Museum of Natural History was high on my list of priorities on my first trip to New York City. This was in big part due to its mention in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye—even if, to be honest, I didn’t quite remember the role it played in the book.

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Vincenzo Petroncini Gozzini | La Divina commedia, 1846 | Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library: Fiske Dante Collection

Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divina Commedia has had an incalculable impact on Western culture, not least through its inspiration of visual artists. After all, Dante’s descriptions of grotesque figures, fantastic landscapes, and inventive punishments virtually beg to be depicted visually. (more…)

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Luca Signorelli | Dante, 1499-1504 | San Brizio Chapel, Duomo di Orvieto | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com / scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

From those fabulous poems by Roman bad-boy Catullus (84-54 BC) to today’s contemporary poet rock-stars like Billy Collins, poetry might not enjoy the same mass popularity as it did in ancient times, but when you dive in, poetry is its own universe of aural, oral, and cerebral pleasures. Poetry and art are intertwined—two art forms in constant dialogue, creating and recreating each other. Countless poets have also written on art, from William Butler Yeats to Gertrude Stein to Ted Hughes, and their work has shaped the development of painting, sculpture, performance, dance, theater, literature, music, and film (see Poets on Painters, ed. J.D. McClatchy, 1998)

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