Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Teaching with ARTstor’ Category

artstor_logo_rgb2

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.

Read Full Post »

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?

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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”).

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

On June 4, 1919, U.S. Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote, and sent it to the states for ratification. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, we are featuring an essay by Stacy C. Hollander, senior curator and director of exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, on an anonymous 19th-century artist’s “Crazy” quilt (i.e., a quilt with no repeating motifs) and its message about women’s suffrage.

Artist unidentified; initialed “J.F.R.” | Cleveland-Hendricks Crazy Quilt, Cleveland-Hendricks Crazy Quilt | American Folk Art Museum, folkartmuseum.org

The constitutional amendment giving the vote to American women was not ratified until 1920. Therefore, the unidentified maker of this quilt voiced her political sentiments in one of the only socially acceptable means available to her in the late nineteenth century. Using the idiom of the Crazy quilt, she constructed a strong statement of Democratic sympathies in a highly fashionable format.

The strutting rooster prominently featured in the center of the quilt was an emblem often used by the Democratic Party during the 1880s and 1890s, particularly in Grover Cleveland’s presidential campaign. Below the rooster are portraits of two unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidates: Samuel J. Tilden of New York, who ran in 1876, and Winfield S. Hancock of Pennsylvania, the candidate in 1880. These fabrics, originally parts of printed campaign banners, evidently were saved by the maker until after Grover Cleveland’s successful bid in the 1884 campaign. Cleveland and his running mate, Thomas A. Hendricks, are shown in the upper corners of the central block. A Cleveland-Hendricks inaugural ribbon, dated March 4, 1885, with an image of an American flag and pileus, is placed above.

In addition to the political references that abound on this textile, the quiltmaker included elements more typically associated with the Crazy quilt aesthetic, including Japanese-inspired corner fans, a small handheld fan, flowers, stars, and a crescent moon. The Japan pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 is often cited as a significant contributing factor to the development of the American Crazy quilt. The design principles of the Aesthetic Movement, which emphasized surface ornamentation and exoticism, also influenced the direction of American quiltmaking in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Both come together artfully in this contained Crazy quilt.

Read Full Post »

By Lera Boroditsky, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University

Paul Gauguin | Life and Death, 1891-1893 | Musée Khalil | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. http://www.artres.com

How do artists decide whether time, death, or liberty should be personified as male or female? One suggestion comes from linguistics.  For example, Roman Jakobson (1959) reports: “The Russian painter Repin was baffled as to why Sin had been depicted as a woman by German artists: he did not realize that ‘sin’ is feminine in German (die Sünde), but masculine in Russian (грех).” Does the grammatical gender of nouns in an artist’s native language indeed predict the gender of personifications in art?

To answer this question, we measured the correspondence between grammatical gender and personified gender in Artstor. We started with all works of art contained in the Artstor Digital Library, and selected all images from 1200 AD to present day that were indexed by the keywords “personification” or “allegory” originating from Italy, France, Germany, and Spain (where the languages spoken have grammatical gender, and for which a large-enough sample of artworks existed in the database). The images were screened for usability and categorized by gender by a naïve coder, not familiar with the grammatical genders of nouns in the languages of interest.

Eugène Delacroix | Liberty Leading the People, 1830 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. http://www.artres.com

Our results show a clear correspondence between grammatical gender in language and personified gender in art. Overall, the depicted gender matched the grammatical gender in 78% of the cases, significantly more often than if the two factors were independent, χ2(1, N = 765) = 172.7, p < 0.00001; odds-ratio = 9.33. Grammatically feminine entities were more likely to be personified as female (86% female, 14% male), and grammatically masculine entities were more likely to be personified as male (40% female, 60% male). Details and many further analyses are available in the full paper published in Frontiers of Psychology.

German | Death; Death as an Archer on a Horse, mid-17th century | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Of course, grammatical gender is only one of the forces that may influence an artist’s decisions in personification. Take the example of Alfred Kubin, a Czech-born and Austrian-educated expressionist whose drawing “The best physician” portrays death as a woman. Kubin’s mother died when he was 10, he attempted to commit suicide on her grave at 19, and a few years later suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of his fiancé. It is quite clear that the grammatical gender of “death” in Czech (feminine) or German (masculine) would not have been the only source of influence in forming Kubin’s conception of death. Considering how many different forces can exert influence on an individual’s conceptualization of abstract entities like love and death, it seems especially striking that grammatical gender – a small quirk of grammar – can be used to predict the gender of personification 78% of the time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course, artists do not produce their work in a historical vacuum. For many allegorical themes there are strong precedents from history, mythology, and cultural tradition that can shape the artist’s choice in personification. We do find, however, that even for uncommon allegories (geometry, necessity, silence) where less historical precedent is available, there is still a strong correspondence with grammatical gender. In a correlational analysis like this it is not possible to establish whether grammatical gender in language helped create the extra-linguistic cultural patterns we observe or whether the influence went the other way, or both. It seems likely that linguistic and extra-linguistic aspects of culture act in concert and mutually reinforce each other, in many reciprocal cycles of causation over time. Structures in language may influence artistic decisions, and in turn patterns in artistic tradition may encourage, enrich, or help reify structures in language, and so on.

Our analysis demonstrates a close coupling between grammatical structures in language and other aspects of culture. It appears that patterns in language may not only be reflected in our private mental lives, but may also become reified in the material world we create around us.

Read Full Post »

By Erin Giffin, University Of Washington

[The images in this post were selected to accompany the final exercise for the course “Introduction to Western Art -- Ancient” (Art History 201) offered during autumn quarter 2010. This 300-student survey class balanced lectures by Professor Margaret Laird with meetings in smaller sections supervised by graduate student Teaching Assistants, one of whom was Ms. Giffin.]

Giovanni Battista Mercati, Colonna Traiana

ARTstor was central to this assignment’s success. Professor Laird developed an exercise to teach independent research skills and the creative analysis of evidence. It challenged students to work in pairs to develop a 5-minute, illustrated oral presentation exploring how the Column of Trajan in Rome presented the enemy Dacians. Students were free to focus on any aspect of interest to them and to use any of the various art-historical methods they had learned in the course. Laird created an Image Group composed of forty-four slides showing episodes from the first Dacian War arranged in the order in which they appear on the column. Photographs of casts of the column (scanned from UCSD slides) clarified where each scene began and ended. Brief descriptions added to the “Instructor notes” tab explained the action in each scene. These slides introduced high-resolution color photographs of the same scenes from the column itself (made by Shmuel Magal for Sites and Photos). Students could consider figures across scenes or closely study individual sections in exquisite detail using the “zoom” feature.

Imperial Forum - Trajan's Column, Built in 113 AD. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos

As a TA for two discussion sections, I observed how the students utilized the images on ARTstor to develop and deliver their presentations. Many students examined the image file individually then met with their partners to compare findings. The students reveled in the intricacies of each spiraling episode; indeed, the project sparked numerous instances of original, imaginative research. Some students explored facets of Roman imagery not covered in the class (for instance, the role of Roman gods in warfare or the iconography of military standards). Others became fascinated with the history of the Dacian wars and the column’s original appearance (both its now-lost polychrome surface and its location within the Forum of Trajan). Presentations varied from comprehensive overviews of battle-scene iconography to in-depth examinations of individual passages. To support their arguments, students created PowerPoint presentations that used both full-scale images from the ARTstor group alongside “zoomed” details.

Imperial Forum - Trajan's Column, Built in 113 AD. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos


The enthusiasm that this project inspired demonstrated the power of ARTstor. In Art History we urge our students to reexamine the visual and to look analytically rather than passively. ARTstor provided the students with an intense view of the Column and made critical analysis possible. The Column, which initially had seemed an incomprehensible collection of figures, quickly became a logical series of representations that glorified not only the Roman soldiers but also their worthy Dacian adversaries. Seen up close and in detail, the propagandistic undertones of each scene and the narrative as a whole drew the students into the work’s historical significance. This assignment exposed the students to the political power of art, a lesson as applicable today as it was in the Roman Empire.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 407 other followers