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Archive for the ‘Drawings and Watercolors’ Category

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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Sydney Parkinson, Family: Carcharhinidae Genus/Species: Prionace glauca, 1769

Sydney Parkinson, Family: Carcharhinidae Genus/Species: Prionace glauca, 1769. Image and original data provided by Natural History Museum, London.

On his famous three voyages to the South Seas, British explorer Captain James Cook charted the largely unexplored Pacific Ocean, achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and completed the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. But Cook’s nautical feats are only part of the story; of equal importance are the contributions made by the artists who went along on his journeys, risking their lives–and sometimes losing them–to illustrate the animals and plants they encountered for science and posterity. Here are their stories.

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Zhao Kiao Yang (b. 1997), Kung fu of China, 2004

Zhao Kiao Yang (b. 1997), Kung fu of China, 2004. © The International Museum of Children’s Art, Oslo, Norway

Artstor and The International Museum of Children’s Art have released approximately 200 images of works of art from the museum’s collection in the Artstor Digital Library.

The International Museum of Children’s Art (Det Internasjonale Barnekunstmuseet) in Oslo, Norway is the world’s first museum dedicated to art created by children, and today contains artworks by children and young adults from more than 180 countries. The collection is not only of interest to art appreciators, but will intrigue researchers across disciplines, from psychology to education. (more…)

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The Codex Mendoza, early 1540s

The ‘Codex Mendoza’, pt. I.; fol. 002r, early 1540s. Image and original data provided by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Copyright Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

As we built our AP® Art History Teaching Resources over the last three years, we found ourselves fascinated by some of the newly required content. Over the next year, we will offer periodic webinars on some of these works of art and architecture; the first one will be on the Colonial Americas.

The art of the Colonial Americas is represented in the curriculum framework by six distinct objects. One of these is the “Codex Mendoza,” named for the first viceroy of Mexico (1535-1550), who commissioned it c. 1542 (contributed to the Artstor Digital Library by the Bodleian Library). Intended as a gift to Charles V, the manuscript never reached the monarch.

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Jean Lurcat Celui qui aime ecrit sur les murs [One who loves writes on the walls], ca. 1924. © Smithsonian Institution, © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Jean Lurcat Celui qui aime ecrit sur les murs [One who loves writes on the walls], ca. 1924. © Smithsonian Institution, © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Artstor and the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum have just released more than 8,200 images from the permanent collection in the Digital Library.

The Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The Museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational and curatorial programming. (more…)

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Tlingit artist, leggings, ca. 1880. Image and original data from Portland Art Museum.

Tlingit artist, leggings, ca. 1880. Image and original data from Portland Art Museum.

Artstor and the Portland Art Museum are now sharing more than 2,300 images of artworks, with a particular focus on Native American and Northwest art.

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Vassily Kandinsky, Impression V (Park), 1911. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Vassily Kandinsky, Impression V (Park), 1911. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Through a collaboration with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN) and Art Resource, Artstor is now sharing more than 5,100 additional images of works in the permanent collections of French national and regional museums in the Digital Library.

This brings the total of RMN images in the Digital Library to more than 12,000. The images come from the archives of the Agence photographique de la RMN, which encompass the collections of 28 museums such as the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre Georges Pompidou.

This release is composed of an outstanding selection of modern art, including paintings by Balthus, Francis Bacon, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Natalia Goncharova, Marc Chagall, Tamara de Lempicka, Fernand Léger, André Masson, René Magritte, and Francis Picabia; sculptures by Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, André Derain, Jean Dubuffet, Niki de Saint-Phalle, and Joseph Beuys; works on paper by Pierre Alechinsky, Antonin Artaud, Edgar Degas, Paul Klee, and Victor Hugo; installations by Louise Bourgeois and Martial Raysse; rarely-seen reconstructions of architectural models by Kazimir Malevich, furniture designed by Le Corbusier, and documentary and self-portrait photographs by Constantin Brancusi; as well as more than 100 works by Vassily Kandinsky. The release also features thousands of ancient to medieval artworks from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

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