New: Open Artstor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Explore one of our finest museums virtually
In collaboration with The Cleveland Museum of Art and their comprehensive Open Access initiative, Artstor has published an expansive selection of works from this leading repository, freely available to all and with Creative Commons licenses in Open Artstor: The Cleveland Museum of Art. This is part of a new, free initiative to aggregate open museum, library, and archive collections across disciplines on the Artstor platform — already a destination for scholars using visual media. Incorporating more than 10,000 years of history and iconic works from every corner of the globe, this collection includes nearly 29,000 images offering considerable coverage of the museum’s encyclopedic collection — paintings from Nicolas Poussin to Georgia O’Keeffe, precious jewels and scrolls from China, Japanese screens and kimonos, African and Native American ritual attire and objects, pre-Columbian gold, photography, and much more.
An elegant screen from the workshop of Ogata Korin at the end of the Edo period, late 1700s-early 1800s, highlights the museum’s extensive Asian holdings, while two singular and distinctive portraits signal the depth and quality of the European paintings: Lorenzo Lotto’s vigorous rendering of a gentleman, c. 1533-1534, is a dynamic foil to the contained languor of Kathleen Newton, the companion and muse to the French painter James Tissot, in Seaside, 1878, an allegory of summer.
Thanks to the breadth offered on a digital platform, we are now able to uncover the hidden treasures of the museum. A suite of sculpted heads provides a range of historic eras and cultures: the diminutive ivory face from an Egyptian cosmetic spoon, 1391-1353 BCE, from the reign of Amenhotep III; a subtly modeled earthenware likeness of a young man, from Veracruz, Mexico. c. 600-900; and a roaring terracotta lion, c. 400s BCE, possibly a waterspout, from classical Greece.
Curious minds may also discover artistic interpretations of natural specimens: a print by the cunning Bohemian artist Wencelaus Hollar, Hippopus maculatus Lam (bear paw clam), 1640s; the self-taught Mary Altha Nim’s Butterfly, 19th-20th century, a watercolor so delicate and simple that the savvy shading along the wing edges comes as a surprise; and the Recumbent Stag of celebrated French animalist Rosa Bonheur, a sophisticated tribute to a noble beast.
The rich cultural trove of the museum is exemplified by the bold and monumental feathered panel, 600-900, from the Wari people of the Andes. Brilliant rectangles of gold and blue macaw feathers appear initially like the abstracted planes of a color field painting. Closer inspection reveals the texture and lustre of thousands of feathers, knotted and bound to a cotton surface. Such a panel was one of dozens created to adorn a ceremonial or sacred space.
We encourage you to explore the museum’s virtual vaults and make some discoveries of your own.
Open Artstor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
– Nancy Minty, Collections editor