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One of the most daunting challenges I faced teaching in a high school art program was developing a common language to articulate the principles and elements of design. Helping students hone those communication skills made critique easier but took a lot of time up front. When our faculty began to use the same terminology across the curriculum, students developed a comfort level with those terms and began using them more naturally in discussing their own work and the projects of their peers and heroes from the art world.

Long before I knew I was going to be building resources for teachers in Artstor, I was gathering images to help my own students “see and say” what they noticed in a work of art. My goal was to get them to articulate what principles were in effect and what elements supported those principles. After about ten years, I had a pretty robust image group to use for each. When I came to Artstor, I was determined to make ten functional groups of fewer than 24 images that other teachers could use to highlight specific elements or principles. I added favorites that colleagues suggested and included term definitions. Now, with Artstor’s alliance with JSTOR, I can also include further reading about teaching Art and Design. These groups can be found in Teaching Resources under Studio Art. My approach is but one of many; since an image group can be copied and then altered as needed, we thought it might serve as a valuable starting point for studio teachers.   Continue Reading »

Egyptian, Fragmentary Head of a Queen, 1352-1356 B.C.E. Image provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Egyptian, Fragmentary Head of a Queen, 1352-1356 B.C.E. Image provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Today’s Open Access initiative by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and their generous partnership with Artstor help ensure that these images will reach scholarly audiences in more than 1,700 institutions worldwide. Nancy Minty, Artstor’s Collections Editor, explores some of the Met’s history, the materials in the release, and its implications for future study.

In 1872, the Metropolitan Museum opened its doors in a brownstone on Fifth Ave., which housed its nascent permanent collection of 175 paintings. The New York Evening Mail heralded the moment as the birth of the “royal infant,” and one of the founders William Cullen Bryant struck a redemptive tone in his opening address: “My friends, it is important that we should encounter the temptations to vice in this great and too rapidly growing capital by attractive entertainment of an innocent and improving nature.”1 Salomon van Ruysdael’s Drawing the Eel, 1650s, still a standout from the inaugural collection, typifies the folksy, wholesome imagery that bolstered Bryant’s mission.

Today, nearly 150 years later, The Met is among leaders worldwide with an encyclopedic collection that numbers more than 2 million objects, spanning 17 diverse curatorial departments and 5000 years, from antiquities to photography, and including masterworks in all fields. Its range may be documented by countless juxtapositions of outstanding works from diverse cultures, as for example, an ivory handle from ancient Egypt, Prancing Horse, ca. 1391-1353 B.C.E., an engraving by the German Renaissance artist Dürer, The Little Horse, 1505. and a monumental painting by Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Fair, 1853-55, each depicting horses, albeit of very different stripes.

The museum building itself has accrued around 20 successive structures or wings to the nucleus designed by Calvert Vaux in 1880, and it currently occupies more than two million square feet, equal to about 35 football fields (not including Breuer and Cloisters locations). Moreover, in 2016 it welcomed 6.7 million visitors.

Now in an unprecedented step among major American museums, The Met has made a major new foray into the global virtual space by sharing open content for 375,000 images of public domain works in the collection. ITHAKA and Artstor are proud to cooperate in this initiative along with Creative Commons and the Wikimedia Foundation. The implications of this move are significant. As Loic Tallon, the museum’s Chief Digital Officer has framed it “In our digital age, the Museum’s audience is not only the 6.7 million people who visited The Met’s three locations in New York City this past year but also the 3.2 billion internet-connected individuals around the world.”

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Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:

Art

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Jacobello dalle Masegne and Pier Paolo dalle Masegne; Tomb of Giovanni da Legnano; detail of Students Reading; Museo civico, Bologna. © 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Jacobello dalle Masegne and Pier Paolo dalle Masegne; Tomb of Giovanni da Legnano; detail of Students Reading; Museo civico, Bologna. © 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Back at school and looking to get started working in Artstor? Here are some tips and reminders from the experts in User Services to help you get started.

  1. Register for an account (if you haven’t already). Registering allows you to access Artstor from anywhere (your couch, a coffee shop, or even on-the-go with Artstor Mobile). Remember to create an account ahead of time for easy access before important research deadlines. Instructions are available here.
  2. Already registered? Log in to your account once while you’re on campus. This will reset your remote access and get you back to surfing Artstor in your PJs in no time.
  3. Use Image Groups to compile images for papers and projects ahead of time. Tip: create groups for each of your papers or presentations so you can refer back to your images as you work. Learn more here.
  4. Bookmark our LibGuides and support site–they’re great resources for when you need help working with Artstor. We also have quick video tutorials on our YouTube Channel.

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Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861. Image and original data provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861. Image and original data provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

The search for the Northwest passage, an arctic maritime route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, drove European exploration of the North for hundreds of years. The search was exceedingly treacherous–pack ice, the floating ice covering the sea, made arctic waters impassable throughout most of the year and explorers perished in harsh conditions–but the danger and beauty of the unknown North enchanted an adventure-hungry public. Artists were similarly enamored, creating resplendent paintings that represented a sublime view of an Arctic that has gradually crumbled (or more accurately, melted) over the past century as global warming wreaks havoc on the icy seas.

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ARLIS-NA logoARLIS-NA Conference
February 5-9
New Orleans, LA

We look forward to seeing you at one of the many events we have scheduled at this year’s Art Libraries Society of North America Annual Conference!

Check out the list:

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Catherine Tedford, the director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University, curates the Street Art Graphics collection, undeniably one of the coolest resources in Shared Shelf Commons. Here she shares the history of street stickers and of her amazing collection.

All images courtesy of Catherine Tedford, Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University

All images courtesy of Catherine Tedford, Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University

History of the collection and the Street Art Graphics digital archive

In the last thirty years, urban art has evolved dramatically from the spray-painted graffiti that peppered subway stations, back alleys, and train yards. Today, new forms of visual communication are created in public spaces, often attracting viewers in more contemplative and/or interactive ways. Street art stickers, or simply “stickers,” have emerged as a vehicle for self-expression and as an effective way to engage passersby. Stickers may be used to “tag” or claim a space and make it temporarily one’s own, to sell products or services, to announce events, to publicize blogs or other social media sites, or to offer social commentary and political critique. As one of the most democratic art forms, stickers can be created and distributed easily, quickly, cheaply, and widely. D.I.Y. artists create one-of-a-kind drawings or multiple stencils and screenprints on free USPS stickers or “Hello-My-Name-Is” labels. Other artists upload more elaborate designs to online sticker companies that mass produce hundreds or thousands of stickers at a time. A range of rhetorical strategies can be found in their work, from humor and charm to rebellion and resistance. Representing a diverse array of voices and perspectives, stickers offer a spirited “ground up” alternative to an often “top down” media-saturated environment.

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