Skip to Main Content

Blog

July 19, 2016

Case Study: Opening the Seattle Art Museum’s hidden archives

Editor’s note: this post was updated to include accurate information about Artstor’s platform changes in June 2018.
Photo by Natali Wiseman

Photo by Natali Wiseman

Traci Timmons, Librarian at the Seattle Art Museum, shares with us the story of the completion of their first digital collection.

The Seattle Art Museum only began issuing its annual reports digitally in 2007. Prior to that, for 74 years, if you needed to find something, you had to locate the printed reports and skim through them to find what you were looking for. If you had a good idea about the approximate time period for your inquiry, you might only have to pull one or two reports. If you had no idea about an approximate date, you may have had to block out your afternoon.

Continue Reading »

Posted in
July 19, 2016

Artstor tip: How to share images and image groups

SCALA_ARCHIVES_1039614252

Vittore Carpaccio; Vision of Saint Augustine, detail showing dog and signature; c. 1502. (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com

It’s very easy to share links to images and image groups in the Artstor Digital Library. Here’s how:

  1. Open the group you wish to share. This can be a Private, Institutional, Artstor-Curated, or a group that has been shared with you.
  2. From the menu choose Share > Generate image group link.
  3. Click Copy to Clipboard or highlight the url and copy it. You’re now ready to paste and share!

Learn more about sharing Artstor content with others at your institution on our Support site.

Updated October 2020

Continue Reading »

Posted in
July 14, 2016

On the beauty and variety of cave temples: an interview with David Efurd

Bhaja Caves, Caves 6 & 7; 2nd c. BCE-1st c. CE; Maharashtra, India. Image and original data provided by David Efurd © David Efurd

Bhaja Caves, Caves 6 & 7; 2nd c. BCE-1st c. CE; Maharashtra, India. Image and original data provided by David Efurd © David Efurd

Professor David Efurd’s collection of nearly 10,000 photographs of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art and architecture was recently released in the Artstor Digital Library. We were particularly impressed by the variety and complexity of the rock-cut cave temples he photographed, and he was kind enough to answer our questions.

Artstor: What is the importance of caves as the sites of some of these temples, as opposed to more typical, free-standing temples?

David Efurd: Regarding Buddhist caves, monks appear to have lived in natural caves and rock-shelters since the time of the Buddha. In fact, texts describe the Buddha as spending nights in caves at a variety of locations in northeastern India. Over time, simple shelters were enlarged by cutting away stone, and masonry walls may have been added to the front to make them more architectural.

In western India, these Buddhist sites are a bit later, perhaps dating from the second century BC at the earliest. Unlike the caves the Buddha lived in, they do not appear to be natural caves that were enlarged. Rather, they were carved deeply into outcroppings of stone or cliffs and tend to be architectonic, meaning that they resemble the interior spaces of architecture, despite being hewn into stone. Few free-standing buildings and monasteries from this period survive, so these caves provide crucial insight into a tradition of architecture that has all but disappeared. Rock-cut or cave architecture from this period draws upon both this early tradition of living in natural caves and the later monastic complexes consisting of residential buildings and places for instruction and worship.

Continue Reading »

Posted in
July 6, 2016

Benvenuto Cellini and the world’s most spectacular salt cellar

Benvenuto Cellini; Saliera (salt cellar), 1540-1543

Benvenuto Cellini; Saliera (salt cellar), 1540-1543; Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Sculptor Benvenuto Cellini is best remembered for two things: his bombastic autobiography, the Vita, in which he confesses to multiple murders and a spectacular jailbreak, and for his salt cellar. Yes, that’s right—a dish for salt.

Continue Reading »

Posted in
June 30, 2016

STEM to STEAM: The Anatomy of Design

We are introducing a new resource featuring more than 75 images on the topic of biomimicry. Find it in the Artstor Digital Library’s Teaching Resources area: Teaching Resources > Case Studies > STEM to STEAM > Stem to Steam: The Anatomy of Design

Title: Flying Man, Model of Leonardo's Invention; Image ID: SCAL

After Leonardo da Vinci; original design: c. 1488; Museo nazionale della scienza e della tecnica “Leonardo da Vinci”. Image and original data provided by (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com

Throughout history we have looked to nature to define and devise systems of design. Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man embodies the dominance of the concept of anthropomorphic balance during the Renaissance. The perfect proportions of man are contained within the ideal geometric shapes of the square and the circle, as if the artist had given graphic proof to the metaphysical declaration of the Greek philosopher Protagoras: man is the measure of all things. Consider our units of measurement, such as the foot and the cubit (from the Latin for forearm) established by the ancients, the braccio (Italian for arm), the pouce (French for thumb, meaning inch), whereby mathematical ratios in architecture were based on the proportions of the human figure.

Continue Reading »

Posted in
June 30, 2016

Announcing Artstor’s LibGuides

Love LibGuides? We do too. We’re thrilled to announce our new LibGuides aimed at helping students, faculty, and even librarians get started–or become experts–using the Artstor Digital Library. View them on our home page at artstor.libguides.com, and please feel free to reuse them as you see fit; you have our permission!

Our faculty guide covers everything faculty need to know about presenting and teaching with Artstor Digital Library–from giving presentations using the tools within the database to sources for information about using primary source materials in the classroom. Also included are tips for faculty looking to support their students’ research habits, including links to the Library of Congress’ page on citing images, and in-resource tools like the citation generator and image download features.

Continue Reading »

June 27, 2016

Some reassuring news for Shark Week

Paleontology staff posing with Fossil Shark Jaws. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Department, American Museum of Natural History

Paleontology staff posing with Fossil Shark Jaws. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Department, American Museum of Natural History

These photographs of six members of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Paleontology staff sitting inside the massive jaws of a Carcharocles megalodon are the stuff of nightmares—and, of course, just the thing for Shark Week.

Yet, as Brian Switek writes on ScienceBlogs, they’re the result of a miscalculation. “[T]he famous jaws were reconstructed by assuming that the teeth of the extinct shark would have had the same proportions to the jaw as in the living great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), yielding a maw that would have fit a shark 100 feet long or more.”

Continue Reading »

Posted in
June 21, 2016

Barbara Anello on New York graffiti in the ’80s and ’90s

We invited Barbara Anello to tell us about her photographs of graffiti in Lower Manhattan, newly released in the Artstor Digital Library.

Title: Mural, 353 East 4th St between Aves C& D; Image ID: A

Robin Michaels and Kristen Reed; Mural, 353 East 4th St between Aves C & D; 1991; Graffiti Lower East Side Manhattan. Photograph © Barbara J. Anello

I photographed graffiti, stencil art, wall paintings, and murals on New York City streets during the 1980s and early ’90s in Lower Manhattan from about 14th Street south to Battery Park, and from the Hudson to the East Rivers, but generally in Soho, Noho, the Lower East Side, and “Alphabet City.”

At the time, Soho, where I lived, was still the neighborhood of artists and galleries, but rapidly gentrifying, forcing younger artists east and out. While much of the public art and graffiti was anonymous, the neighborhoods where I photographed embodied the “art world” of the time; these were the streets where artists worked and played, dealers bought and sold. So my photographs included works and writing by artists who became “art world” figures, such as Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring, by artists who built reputations in their neighborhoods as “writers” and social activists, as well as by dedicated, working artists who made statements independently on the walls of abandoned buildings or squats, intended for the people, for the neighborhood, outside the confines of commercial galleries.

Continue Reading »

Posted in
June 21, 2016

Portraits of artistic self: Parsing creative influence through prompted Artstor searches

Justin B. Makemson, PhD, assistant professor of art and the art education program coordinator at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, contributed this essay, part of a study of selective artistic self-identification.

Creative action is defined largely by the artist’s relationship to significant artistic others. Even the youngest of emerging artists are acutely aware of images and objects that surround their own creative explorations. To help address the social negotiations of artistic self-identification and specifically to parse the creative influence of significant artistic others, I developed a comparative visual research method for my dissertation work at Indiana University that combined the analysis of prompted Artstor Digital Library searches with an examination of student portfolios, narrative self-histories, and more traditional portraiture research methods. The purpose of my research was twofold: To better understand the events and circumstances associated with the development of students’ artistic identity and awareness/ownership of that identity; and to draw insight from the examination of a group of seven students that might be expanded to benefit the field of art education.

Continue Reading »