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Archive for the ‘Teaching with ARTstor’ Category

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The mission of Aalto University is to create a new science and arts community. In this video, chief information specialist Eila Rämö explains how Aalto uses the Artstor Digital Library.

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Daniel Meader | Marionette Head and Torso | Image and data from Detroit Institute of Arts

Daniel Meader | Marionette Head and Torso | Image and data from Detroit Institute of Arts

By Mark Branner, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Nigerian | Puppet: Ekon Society | Seattle Art Museum; seattleartmuseum.org

Nigerian | Puppet: Ekon Society | Seattle Art Museum; seattleartmuseum.org

I have the great privilege of teaching an introductory college-level course on puppetry. Even though it is an introductory course, it is actually classified as an upper division course, which means that I generally have juniors and seniors straggling in, looking for an easy “basket-weaving” escape. There are even sniggers from some of the participants when I ask them why they are in the class. This is all pretty understandable. Just put the words together: “College. Puppets.” Already it feels like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. No, we’re not saving the world (or destroying it) through biomedical engineering. We’re not planning a manned mission to Venus. We’re studying puppets, for crying out loud. What’s the earthly value in that?

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Raphael | School of Athens; detail | circa 1510-1512 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Raphael | School of Athens; detail | circa 1510-1512 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

We are happy to introduce the Teaching with Artstor discussion list, a forum where you can share ideas about teaching and where your questions can be addressed. Teachers and academics working at all levels of education are invited to contribute ideas and brainstorm ways to address content, find the perfect images on your topic, and present them in the classroom and lecture hall. In addition to Artstor-related topics, we encourage you to share other websites and resources you find helpful in your teaching practice.

Whether you are a seasoned specialist, a new faculty member or an overwhelmed teaching assistant, we want to hear from you! To join, simply send a blank email to subscribe-teaching-with-artstor@lyris.artstor.org. We encourage you to forward this invitation to other faculty at your institution.

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Wine Making (Vine Shoots, Putti Gathering Grapes and Male Bust; Grape-gathering Cupids); detail | c. 350 CE | Chiesa di S. Costanza (Rome, Italy) | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. ; artres.com ; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Wine Making (Vine Shoots, Putti Gathering Grapes and Male Bust; Grape-gathering Cupids); detail | c. 350 CE | Chiesa di S. Costanza (Rome, Italy) | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. ; artres.com ; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Gregory K. Martin, Ph.D.
Upper School Director, La Jolla Country Day School

In a compelling study of Western United States history, Patricia Nelson Limerick quotes Nannie Alderson, a former Virginian who moved to Montana in 1883. Alderson, looking back on a unique feature of her experience, recollected that there was on the frontier an abundance of cans: “Everyone in the country lived out of cans [...] and you would see a great heap of them outside every little shack” (“Closing the Frontier and Opening Western History”).

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artstor_logo_rgb2In this brief video, Art History instructor Gloria Mast describes how she uses the Artstor Digital Library to teach art history to nurses.

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French | Hat (Top); ca. 1820 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Rachel Pollock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

ARTstor helps me surmount a primary difficulty in teaching historical hat-making to my graduate students in theatrical costume production: diverse visual examples of our topics.

In millinery class, we consider not only styles and materials from which hats are made, but also their history—the provenance and significance of a given style, and depictions of it in art and advertising of the period. We analyze its cultural place of origin, and discuss ways in which its meaning might be explored or subverted in the context of stage performance and costume. I am fortunate to have access to theatrical costume storage and my university’s modest archive of antique clothing artifacts for practical tangible examples, but the bounds of those collections are finite. (more…)

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James Conlon | The Great Mosque of Djenne, South façade, exterior | image: 2008 | Djenne, Mali | for commercial use or publication, please contact: Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. Email: mediacenter at columbia dot

James Conlon | The Great Mosque of Djenne, South façade, exterior | image: 2008 | Djenne, Mali | for commercial use or publication, please contact: Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. Email: mediacenter at columbia dot edu

Mrs. Michelle Apotsos
Stanford University
Doctoral candidate Art History/Architectural History

As a graduate student at Tufts University, I was once given the opportunity to give a lecture to a class of architectural history students on West African architectural form for the purpose of unsettling some common notions that inform Western conceptions of the built environment. I decided to present a case study of the Djenné mosque in Mali, West Africa as an example of an architectural tradition that utilizes distinctive structures, materials, and iconographies to resonate with its cultural context. The experience itself not only revealed to me the inherent challenges of teaching architectural studies in Africa, but also the necessity of having high-quality visual tools in order to recreate a convincing three-dimensional spatial narrative. Thus began my ongoing love affair with the ARTstor Digital Library.

James Conlon | The potige (façade) of the typical Djenne house | Djenne, Mali | For commercial use or publication, please contact: Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. Email: mediacenter at columbia dot edu

James Conlon | The potige (façade) of the typical Djenne house | Djenne, Mali | For commercial use or publication, please contact: Media Center for Art History, Columbia University. Email: mediacenter at columbia dot edu

As a field of study, African architectural history is handicapped by both a lack of documentation and the ephemerality of most primary structural source materials. This causes many students within architectural studies to view the idea of an “African architecture” with inherent skepticism. But the reality of architecture in Africa is that it is both a dynamic medium and a deeply cultural process that provides us with a largely underutilized tool for analyzing the cultural conditions of a particular African context. I attempted to underscore this reality in my lecture by taking the students step by step through a historical, cultural, and stylistic narrative of the mosque, using images from the ARTstor Digital Library to provide the visual evidence for the conceptual theories being presented. Beginning with a systematic analysis of mosque’s faces and then moving into a more formal investigation of its geometric brickwork patterns and threshold ornamentation, I proceeded to trace the mosque’s stylistic lineage back to North African sources, specifically the ksour and kasbah structures of Southern Morocco. I then compared these formal elements to other regional Djennenke productions including masks, pottery, and other architectural forms, and in doing so managed to convey the presence of a distinctly regional style that captured the area’s social, cultural, and spiritual character within a number of architectural representations ranging from the stick-like toron that erupt from the mosque’s surface to the studded pinnacles that mimic both traditional Islamic defensive architecture and pre-Islamic ancestral pillars. At each stage of my analysis, the ARTstor Digital Library provided the visual tools necessary to present this structure within an appropriate conceptual framework.

The talk itself was so successful and the material so rich that it eventually formed the basis for my Master’s thesis, my doctoral dissertation, and the creation of an undergraduate seminar on West African Islamic architecture scheduled for 2013. In addition, the ARTstor Digital Library has inspired me in the course of my research to document not only as many buildings as possible, but also their various contexts in order to provide a comprehensive image base that can support a rigorous degree of academic analysis.

Barbara Anello | Ait Ben Haddou, image 2007 | Ain Ben Haddou, Morocco | Image and original data provided by Barbara Anello | Photographs © Barbara J. Anello

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