What’s new in the Artstor Digital Library?
The end of the decade marks the beginning of our open access era
In 2019 we kicked off our Open Artstor initiative and began aggregating cross-disciplinary museum, library, and archive collections and making them available to all via Creative Commons licenses. We capped the year with the publication of three expansive and diverse collections.
During the nineteenth century the painting genre of the operating theater emerged — an arresting hybrid of fine art and the art of medicine. Highly specialized and hotly debated, its celebrated champion was the American artist Thomas Eakins, both appreciated and condemned for the realism which he brought most notably to his medical paintings. The Gross Clinic, 1875, and The Agnew Clinic, 1889, are his most monumental canvases among about 25 that feature medical practitioners. With an infusion of related imagery from two recently published collections Open Artstor: Wellcome Collection and Open Artstor: Science Museum Group, we may now probe these powerful and disquieting works with clinical precision.
The Gross Clinic depicts Dr. Samuel D. Gross, characterized as the “emperor of American surgery,” in his element at center stage directing his assistants who perform an operation on a patient’s thigh while he also addresses his students. A woman recoils at left, the only discordant note to his authority. The setting is Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, where the artist himself began to study medicine before choosing a future in art. On a canvas measuring about 8 x 6 feet, the figures approach life size.
Seize the season! Once again we have crossed the Thanksgiving threshold into full-blown festivities and the crescendo to the new year. In celebration of the prompt to eat, drink, and be merry, we would like to present some inspiring visions.
Let’s begin with the harvest itself, the basis of all feasts and the bountiful personification of Autumn by the Brescian Antonio Rasio, 1685-1695. In one of four allegorical paintings of the season, the whimsical poster boy for produce is nearly life size and he is composed of more than 20 edibles from mushrooms to pomegranates.
A unique offering from a second generation Abstract Expressionist
Art historian Robert Solomon has just contributed the Joseph Stapleton: Self-Portraits collection to the Artstor Digital Library. Below, he provides a perspective on the artist and his significant output of self-portrait drawings.
Joseph Stapleton (1921-1994) was one of an estimated 400 artists who poured into New York City’s Tenth Street area following the close of World War II. According to historian Irving Sandler, they were attracted to this specific location by the presence of, among others, Willem de Kooning’s studio. Sandler referred to this group of artists born between 1920 and 1930 as Abstract Expressionism’s second generation. Over the next twenty years this second generation would be impacted by a variety of economic and social influences. These conditions would produce only a handful of names we recognize today.
The Open Artstor: Science Museum Group collection is now available, featuring a selection of nearly 50,000 images from the Science Museum Group (UK) under Creative Commons licenses that span science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. 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.
Open Artstor: Folger Shakespeare Library is now available with a selection of more than 8,000 images from the Digital Image Collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Provided under Creative Commons licenses, these images illuminate the history and output of Shakespeare and theater in general, from illustrated manuscripts and rare books, costume and stagecraft, to actors’ portraits and miscellanea. This is part of our new, free initiative to aggregate Open Access museum, library, and archive collections across disciplines on the Artstor platform — already a destination for scholars using visual media.
Beginning in 1889, Henry Clay Folger and his wife, Emily Jordan Folger, began to amass rare books and associated media, founding the Folger Shakespeare Library, the world’s leader in Shakespeareana, in 1932. Their success may be gleaned from a handful of outstanding examples across the Open Artstor collection.
The Open Artstor: Wellcome Collection is now available, featuring a selection of more than 100,000 images from the Wellcome Collection that connect science, medicine, technology, life, and art under Creative Commons licenses. 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.
Artstor is making an increasing number of Creative Commons-licensed museum, library, and archive collections freely accessible to everyone on its platform — already a destination for scholars using visual media. The collections have been selected for their value to the humanities and sciences, providing researchers with a central place in which to discover and use open images from a wide variety of sources alongside other relevant materials.
Great news for those who enjoy discovering unexpected new images in Artstor: We made some changes that make it easier to browse works by a single creator and images related to a specific subject!
Now, when you view an image record in Artstor, you can click the name in the creator field to search for other works by the same creator, such as the example below showing works by the photographer Pierre Louis Pierson.