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John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

On a warm day in 1749, 14-year-old Brook Watson dove into Havana Harbor for a swim. As he floated surrounded by merchant ships, a shark sank its teeth into his leg, pulling him beneath the waves in a vicious, sustained attack that severed his right foot. Bleeding and helpless, he struggled to stay above water as a group of sailors maneuvered a small skiff into position and pulled him from the toothy Behemoth’s mouth. His leg would have to be amputated at the knee, but he survived his ordeal. Nearly thirty years after the incident, John Singleton Copley historicized Watson’s attack in the monumental painting Watson and the Shark.

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South America: the Land of Opportunity. A Continent of Scenic Wonders. A Paradise for the Tourist. General Information for Travelers, Detail. Lamport & Holt Line. 1912. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

South America: the Land of Opportunity. A Continent of Scenic Wonders. A Paradise for the Tourist. General Information for Travelers, Detail. Lamport & Holt Line. 1912. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection is a physical and digital open access collection of maps donated to Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections. This collection brings together maps from many eras from all over the world to explore their power as visual messengers. 

Following up on our interview in which he shares the origin of the collection, collector and donor PJ Mode shares a selection of his favorite pieces.

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AP Annual Conference
July 26-30, 2017
Washington, DC

Dana Howard, Artstor’s Senior Education & Outreach Manager for Secondary Schools, will be leading two sessions alongside fellow experts:

Enhancing Common Skill Sets among Studio and Art History Students
Saturday, July 29th, 10:15–11:30 AM

Dr. Virginia Spivey, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Theory & Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Artstor’s Dana Howard will show how art history and studio art instructors can benefit from a process of critique that brings the two practices into focus. In this session, participants will practice using critique as a method of art historical instruction and learn to design frameworks that show art history as an evolving body of knowledge rooted in European tradition and now understood in a global context.

Making Time to Teach: Curate and Organize Content for AP Art History
Saturday, July 29th, 2:30–3:45 PM

Rebecca A. Stone-Danahy, Upper School Visual Arts Educator at Ashley Hall, joins Artstor’s Dana Howard to discuss and demonstrate the process of curating research, images, websites, and resources for instructional use. Participants will learn how to use a variety of organizational tools in Google, Evernote, and Artstor to gather and store teaching content with tips on how to use with any LMS platform.

Learn more at the AP Conference website.

Harriet Powers. Pictorial quilt. 1895-98. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Harriet Powers. Pictorial quilt. 1895-98. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

When the second wave feminist movement in the 1970s brought domestic art into the discussion of art history, textiles became a central topic. This led to the rediscovery of Harriet Powers, whose two surviving quilts currently hang in the Smithsonian and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Powers, born a slave in Georgia in 1837, created the quilts after she was emancipated. She made use of appliqué techniques and storytelling often found in the textiles of Western Africa. While these textiles had typically been created by men, once the tradition was picked up in the United States women became the primary creators.

Powers became significant in academic circles more than half a century after her death as an exemplar of the influence and power of women’s domestic art and art inspired by traditions outside the Western canon, showing not only this type of art’s historical purpose and importance but its aesthetic influence and significance.

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Serio-Comic War Map For The Year 1877. Fred W. Rose. 1877. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

Serio-Comic War Map For The Year 1877. Fred W. Rose. 1877. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection is a physical and digital collection of maps donated to Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections. It brings together maps from many eras from all over the world to explore their power as visual messengers. The collection is freely accessible in Shared Shelf Commons and through its own website, which leverages the Shared Shelf Commons API to present these beautiful images in a customized end-user environment.

PJ Mode, the collection’s donor, worked closely with Cornell Library staff and the Digital Consulting and Production Services team to take high-resolution photographs of each map and create rich descriptive metadata for each image in Shared Shelf. 

Shared Shelf’s Hannah Marshall sat down recently with Mode to discuss the origin of the physical collection, the implementation of the digital collection, and some of the collection’s highlights.

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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:

UNUSUAL

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Jan van Eyck. Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife. 1434. The National Gallery, London

June is the most popular month to marry, an excellent reason to take a look at one of the world’s most famous wedding paintings–although we ended up wondering if that, indeed, was what we were seeing.

At first glance, Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) appears to be an exquisitely rendered but otherwise straightforward depiction of a wealthy merchant and his wife. But take a second look (or third or fourth), and a more intriguing image emerges. The room in which the Arnolfinis pose is laden with images that signal wealth, have religious implications, or are just plain… odd. Continue Reading »