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Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

Art comes to life

In Orange County there are few traditions as long-running as the Pageant of the Masters, a two-month-long display devoted to “living pictures” in which costumed actors pose as well-known works of art. Here’s why it’s worth a serious look.

And from living pictures we move to a picture that turns to life in this short from 1901, featuring one of the earliest instances of special effects.

The artist’s essence

Recent studies suggest that “art is seen as imbued with the person’s soul/essence,” which might explain why original artworks move us more than reproductions.

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Artstor’s new initiative to preserve and increase the availability of at-risk collections of individual scholars has had a great response—and along with it, it has generated several questions, which we are addressing here.

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Artstor Labs

Artstor Labs

Artstor is always working on improving its services. While you may notice some changes immediately, others might prove more subtle. In the case of Shared Shelf, our digital media management solution, the developments are sometimes dramatic as we work in close collaboration with users.

What is the thinking behind these changes? We’re pulling back the curtain in Artstor Labs (labs.artstor.org), a cross section of ideas, inspirations, and experiments that inform the ongoing digital design of Shared Shelf, the Digital Library, and other initiatives.

Focusing on topics related to visual culture, graphic design, and user experience, Artstor Labs offers a glimpse of our design process in relationship with the broader trends occurring in new media and digital humanities. In keeping with this spirit, entries are arranged hierarchically rather than chronologically to reflect their relationship with previous ideas. As the repository grows, a richly layered listing of nested links will track these ideas over time.

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

Winners will receive five years’ free use of Shared Shelf cloud-based asset management tool

Artstor is proud to announce the inception of the Digital Humanities Awards to recognize and help facilitate the most innovative and intellectually stimulating projects in the field. This award recognizes the importance of the Digital Humanities and supports Artstor’s mission to enhance scholarship and teaching through the use of digital media.  The award of five years’ free access to Shared Shelf to winners helps to address the need recently identified in Ithaka S+R’s Sustaining the Digital Humanities “for an end-to-end solution… to support faculty from planning, to building, to preservation and outreach.”

To enter, describe your Digital Humanities project in 1,000 words or less, and your team could receive full, long-term access to Artstor’s Shared Shelf digital media management software to upload, catalog, manage, store, and share the project. Learn more about the award at artstor.org/dha.

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Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

Say cheese!

An investigation into why we so seldomly see people smiling in painted portraits.

DIY apocalypse

A different angle in which to see Albrecht Dürer: self-publishing pioneer.

Undead photos

Artist uses historic archival photographs from the Library of Congress to create funny—and sometimes creepy—animated GIFs.

And we were torn about this one: the cute and horrifying tableaux of an amateur Victorian taxidermist.

Better than the waiting room

A visit to a museum dedicated to art and medical objects in St. John’s Hospital in Bruges.

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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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Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

Bon appétit

Just in time for lunch: The New York Public Library has scanned more than 17,000 menus from 1851 to 2008.

Abstraction avant la lettre

Cross-hatched engravings found in a cave in Gibraltar are being called the first known examples of Neanderthal rock art by scientists who studied the site.

Too hot

A masterpiece by Raphael was warped by faulty air conditioning.

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