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Archive for the ‘Manuscripts & Manuscript Illuminations’ Category

 Southworth & Hawes, Early Operation Using Ether for Anesthesia, late spring 1847. Image and original data provided by The J. Paul Getty Museum

Southworth & Hawes, Early Operation Using Ether for Anesthesia, late spring 1847. Image and original data provided by The J. Paul Getty Museum

In 1846, dentist William T. G. Morton assembled a group of doctors in the operating theater at Massachusetts General Hospital, a sky-lit dome located on the hospital’s top floor. As the doctors watched from the dome’s stadium seating, Morton waved a sponge soaked in a mysterious substance called Letheon inches from his patient’s face. The patient quickly lost consciousness and remained completely still as a surgeon removed a tumor from his neck. Upon waking, the patient declared to his astonished audience that he had felt no pain. This surgery marked the first time the effective and safe use of anesthesia was demonstrated publicly, ending centuries of agonizing pain during surgery. It would also quickly spiral into a dramatic controversy surrounding Letheon’s discovery.

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MedievalPortland_Logo_Color
Anne McClanan, Professor of Medieval Art History at Portland State University and one of the winners of the Artstor Digital Humanities Awards, introduces us to Medieval Portland and describes the impact Shared Shelf has had on the project.

Medieval Portland? We hope our project’s silly name is just perplexing enough to make people want to learn more—who wouldn’t assume there is no medieval Portland?

When I moved to Oregon after years of medieval art history graduate training at more resource-intensive places, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, I worried whether I’d be able to continue the teaching grounded in first-hand observation and investigation of works of art that I think is central to the practice of art history. I plunged into the task of trying to figure out what medieval material was here, and gradually discovered several hundred items in collections across the Portland area (the number varies depending on how generously we want to define “medieval,” and we often reach into the early modern period).

Running since 2005, our site has gone through several iterations, but by far the biggest change has been our recent transition to Shared Shelf. Our Shared Shelf collection’s defining feature is that Medieval Portland presents original research pursued by students alongside that by advanced scholars. The students doing the research are from across my university, for I teach the course as a community based learning senior capstone within Portland State University’s nationally-recognized University Studies program. The Medieval Portland capstone provides students opportunities to critically engage with the past as well as to then produce resources that allow these objects to become better known and understood to the wider community. The capstone students soon realize that history isn’t an edifice to be committed to memory, but instead is an act of inquiry into the meaning of the past.

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The Morgan Library & MuseumArtstor and The Morgan Library & Museum are collaborating to make available 200 images from the museum’s permanent collection in the Digital Library.

A complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States.

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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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Magdalenian, Bison licking its back

Magdalenian, Bison licking its back, 15th to 10th millennium BCE. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com/

Artstor is introducing curriculum guides–collections of images from the Artstor Digital Library based on syllabi for college courses–compiled by faculty members and experts around the country. Learn more here.

Survey of Western Art 1: Prehistoric to Gothic
Nancy Minty, Ph.D, Collections Editor, Artstor
This curriculum guide covers a comprehensive introduction to early western art (approximately 30,000 BCE through 1300 CE), presenting the iconic monuments of European and Mediterranean culture, including architecture and the built environment, paintings and sculpture, manuscripts and the decorative arts, as well as archeological sites and materials. The extensive range – both geographic and historic – coupled with a focus on key works, will establish a foundation in art history and a point of departure for further study (assuming this course is followed by its companion – Survey of Western Art 2: Renaissance to Postmodern). Students will learn to interpret works within their cultural contexts, developing both visual acuity and descriptive vocabularies. Readings will center on the standard texts with a sampling of specialist articles.

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Raphael | Saint George and the Dragon | c. 1504 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Raphael | Saint George and the Dragon | c. 1504 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Carlo Crivelli | Saint George | ca. 1472 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Carlo Crivelli | Saint George | ca. 1472 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saint George’s Day is celebrated on April 23. I know this because as a child I was obsessed with the world of make-believe. While my sister was collecting books on the natural sciences, I had a whole shelf devoted to children’s versions of Greek mythology, fairy tales, and folklore. The stories I loved best involved magic and monsters. To this day my mother will buy me used books if they have a dragon on the cover. And this is where Saint George comes in.

In the 13th century, Jacobus de Voragine wrote in The Golden Legend that Saint George was a Christian knight who in his travels came across a city called Silene that was being plagued by a dragon that lived in its pond. Silene’s inhabitants were forced to appease the monster by sacrificing their children. The victims were selected through a lottery system, and one day it was the king’s own daughter who drew the last lot.
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Mochica | Vessel with sea lion and feline(?) |  A.D. 500-750 | Image © Princeton University Art Museum

Mochica | Vessel with sea lion and feline(?) | A.D. 500-750 | Image © Princeton University Art Museum

The Princeton University Art Museum and ARTstor are now sharing approximately 600 images from the museum’s encyclopedic collections in the Digital Library. This is the first release of an approximately 10,000 projected images.

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