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July 17, 2019

Dostoevsky and the challenge of Hans Holbein’s Dead Christ

Vasily Perov. Portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1872.

Vasily Perov. Portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky. 1872. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y., artres.com, scalarchives.com

In August 1867, shortly after Fyodor Dostoevsky married his stenographer Anna Snitkina, the couple headed to Geneva. As much as a honeymoon, they were also fleeing family tensions and hounding by Fyodor’s many creditors. On the way, the newlyweds stopped in Basel for a day and visited its museum. It was there that the famed writer of Crime and Punishment had an unsettling encounter with an artwork that would soon appear in one of his most esteemed novels.

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July 9, 2019

Books of hours: illuminating the Trinity College Watkinson Library public collection

Attributed to Studio of unknown French (illuminator), Possibly Style of unknown Flemish (illuminator). c.1470 (creation date). Book of Hours (Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis in Usum Ecclesiae Romanae cum Calendario), Folio 86v: Hours of the Virgin: Compline: Entombment, overall, left, with Folio 87r at right. Illumination, Leaf (component), Manuscript. Place: Trinity College, Watkinson Library (Hartford, Connecticut, USA).

Attributed to Studio of unknown French (illuminator), Possibly Style of unknown Flemish (illuminator). c.1470 (creation date). Book of Hours (Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis in Usum Ecclesiae Romanae cum Calendario), Folio 86v: Hours of the Virgin: Compline: Entombment, overall, left, with Folio 87r at right. Illumination, Leaf (component), Manuscript. Place: Trinity College, Watkinson Library (Hartford, Connecticut, USA).

Books of hours are devotional texts that contain a personalized selection of prayers, hymns, psalms, and New Testament excerpts chosen specifically for their owner. Popular in the Middle Ages, the most expensive of these books could be highly decorated, but the more affordable versions usually only showed minimal decoration, usually of the first letter of a page. They had, in fact, become so popular by the 16th century that they were often owned by people from all walks of society; servants even had their own copies—there is a court case from 1500 where a pauper woman was accused of stealing a servant’s book of hours. 

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June 17, 2019

New: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Chinese. Pair of Famille Verte Vases. Yung Chêng Period (1723-1735). Porcelain. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Chinese. Pair of Famille Verte Vases. Yung Chêng Period (1723-1735). Porcelain. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Guillaume Lethière (French, 1760 - 1832). Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death. 1788. Oil on canvas. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Guillaume Lethière (French, 1760 - 1832). Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death. 1788. Oil on canvas. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Beverly Bennett Dobbs (American, 1868-1937). Berry Pickers|Seward Peninsula, Alaska, U.S.A. 1903-6. Gelatin silver print. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Beverly Bennett Dobbs (American, 1868-1937). Berry Pickers|Seward Peninsula, Alaska, U.S.A. 1903-6. Gelatin silver print. Image and data provided by The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

What’s new in the Artstor Digital Library? The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Contributor:
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Content:
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has contributed 5,000* images of additional works for their Artstor Digital Library collection. These include a recent acquisition, the iconic Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death, selections from their prized decorative art objects, as well as numerous historical prints and photographs.

The Clark also supplied new photography for most of the works previously published in their Artstor collection. These updates, with the additional submissions noted above, mean users will enjoy nearly 10,000* new images from the museum.

Relevance:
Art, culture, and history from around the globe, notably America, Asia, and Europe

*Totals may vary depending on domestic or international release.

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June 17, 2019

Summer is for stargazers: Astronomy in Artstor

Summer solstice brings us the longest, sunniest days of the year. The season also sparkles with starry nights, and getaways in July and August provide an escape from the urban glare, enhancing our appreciation of stellar skies. In homage to the stars, we have mined the resources of Artstor to present some outstanding celestial subjects across the ages.

Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889.

Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889. Image and data provided by the Museum of Modern Art.

Starry Night, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh, exemplifies the genre of the nocturne. The artist’s unique style might lead one to believe that the entire scene is imaginary, but researchers have identified many of the planets depicted; to name one, Venus shines white above the horizon at left. Nonetheless, the painter took liberties with the moon, rendering it as a crescent when in fact it would have been a fuller waning gibbous on that night, June 18. In a letter to his sister written the previous year, van Gogh articulated his observation of star fields: “certain stars are citron-yellow, others have a pink glow, or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance… putting little white dots on a blue-black surface is not enough.” [1]

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June 11, 2019

A mini history of the tiny purse

From our friends at JSTOR Daily

Bag (reticule). British. First quarter 19th century. Image and data courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The purse has always been political, a reflection of changing economic realities and gender roles. Blame the Balenciaga IKEA bag. When the $2,145 luxury lambskin version of the familiar blue plastic shopping bag appeared on the runway in June 2016, it was the beginning of the end of a glorious era of capacious hobo bags, boat totes, and bucket bags. The upscale counterfeit triggered a backlash against fashion’s flirtation with so-called poverty chic, but also against gigantic bags in general. From a 19-gallon capacity, there was nowhere to go but down.

Read more on JSTOR Daily

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May 21, 2019

American art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Dr. Kelli Morgan, Associate Curator of American Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) at Newfields introduces us to some of the American gems in the IMA’s collection.

The American collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields (IMA) is an encyclopedic group of brilliant objects that span U.S. history from the Colonial period to the 1970s. The collection is well known for its American Impressionism, modernist painting and sculpture, and of course Indiana’s own Hoosier School. Yet, IMA’s American collection is comprised of such a diverse array of objects that it offers an alternative look at the American canon.

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May 20, 2019

New: Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Peruvian. Bridge-Spout Vessel. 100-300 C.E.
Peruvian. Bridge-Spout Vessel. 100-300 C.E. Image and data provided by Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Public domain.
Japanese? Landscape on Fire. 1866-1932.
Japanese? Landscape on Fire. 1866-1932. Image and data provided by Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Public domain.
Antonio Lazari. Medal
Antonio Lazari. Medal, Laura Maria Caterina Bassi, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bologna, recto. 1732. Gilding, bronze. Image and data provided by Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Public domain.

What’s new in the Artstor Digital Library?
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Contributor:
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Content:
The Museum has contributed 2,000 additional images of its historic teaching collection of world art, bringing the total in Artstor to nearly 6,000.* Highlights include varied antiquities, European paintings and works on paper, American colonial painting, the arts of Asia and a notable collection of medals and plaquettes from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Relevance:
Art, culture, and history from around the globe, notably America, Asia, and Europe

*Totals may vary depending on domestic or international release.

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April 22, 2019

Artstor celebrates the earth: Flora, fauna, and natural phenomena

The Artstor Digital Library is replete with images from nature: arks of animals, a plethora of plants, and the dazzling spectacles of the earth. Meticulous renderings of animal and botanical species from classical times through the onset of photography may be studied alongside striking contemporary photographs. Illustrations of animal, plant and mineral specimens are also available as well as records of scientific fieldwork, and larger ecosystems.

Johann Georg Adam Forster. Serval
Johann Georg Adam Forster. Serval, Leptailurus (genus); serval (species), Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. 1775. Image and data provided by the Natural History Museum, London
Stanley N. Botwinik. Leopard portrait.
Stanley N. Botwinik. Leopard portrait. 1970. Tanzania, Serengeti. Image and data provided by Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University)
Chris de Bode. A dwarf mouse lemur
Chris de Bode. A dwarf mouse lemur. 2006. West Madagascar, Africa. Image and data provided by © Chris de Bode/Panos Pictures
Ami Vitale. Elephants in Kaziranga National Park
Ami Vitale. Elephants in Kaziranga National Park. 2003. Photograph. Image and data provided by © Ami Vitale/Panos Pictures
Asterope sapphira (nymphalid butterfly)
Asterope sapphira (nymphalid butterfly). Collected January, 1936. Image and data provided by Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University)
Fyodor Tolstoy. Butterfly
Fyodor Tolstoy. Butterfly. 1821. Image and data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

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April 9, 2019

New: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Utagawa Hiroshige. Matsuchiyama, San'ya Moat, Night Scene. 1857.
Utagawa Hiroshige. Matsuchiyama, San'ya Moat, Night Scene. 1857. Image and data provided by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
Ejagham people. Janus-faced helmet mask with four superstructure figures. 1930-70.
Ejagham people. Janus-faced helmet mask with four superstructure figures. 1930-70. Image and data provided by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
Willem Kalf. Still Life with a Chinese Porcelain Jar. 1669.
Willem Kalf. Still Life with a Chinese Porcelain Jar. 1669. Image and data provided by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

What’s new in the Artstor Digital Library?

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Contributor:

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Content:

The Museum has contributed 4,254 additional images of its encyclopedic collection, bringing the total in Artstor to nearly 6,400.* 5,000 years of global history illustrated by works of art, design, and ritual objects, as well as views from the Newfields campus: gardens, landmarks, and contemporary installations.

Relevance:

Art, culture, and history from around the globe, notably Africa, America, Asia, and Europe

*Totals may vary depending on domestic or international release.

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