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October 17, 2016

Webinar: a conversation with the AP® Art History Chief Reader about student performance

Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, ca. 1000

Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, from Conques, ca. 1000, with gothic additions. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.,

Join Heather Madar, Chief AP® Art History Reader and specialist in the Art History of the Northern Renaissance, and Artstor in a conversation  about best practices in the teaching of AP® Art History.

This year brought us a completely new exam, the first produced in accordance with the revised AP® Art History Curriculum Framework, and Heather will be looking at how students have performed, with a focus on understanding the nature of the exam, its relationship to the curriculum framework, and the scoring methodology used. The session will conclude with audience questions and the opportunity for informal discussion.

This free webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26 at 6 PM EDT. Sign up now!

Advanced Placement® and AP® are trademarks registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this website.

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September 28, 2016

On this day: Michaelmas

The Christian festival of Michaelmas, also known as the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, is celebrated in many parts of the world on September 29.

Michaelmas celebrates the story of Saint Michael defeating Satan, which is often depicted in the motif of Saint George and the Dragon, Saint George being the Archangel Michael’s earthly counterpart. The earliest depictions of this story go all the way back to the 10th century. The images of Saint George fighting the dragon in the Artstor Digital Library span centuries.

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September 26, 2016

Cross-cultural cross-sections: Student curators shed light on architectural collections

Charlotte Perriand, La Maison du jeune homme, Brussels, Belgium, 1935

Charlotte Perriand, La Maison du jeune homme, Brussels, Belgium, 1935, © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, Data source: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University and Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

An interview with the graduate student curators of Avery/GSAPP Architectural Plans and Sections

The second phase of Avery/GSAPP’s collection of 20,000 architectural plans, sections, and related materials was recently released in the Artstor Digital Library. To celebrate the completion of our two-year collaborative project with Avery Library and GSAPP, Lisa Gavell, Artstor’s Senior Manager of Metadata & Content, spoke with five of the graduate student co-curators who contributed to the project: Sabrina Barker, Serena Li, Ernest Pang, involved from the beginning of the project, as well as Sharon Leung and Ayesha S. Ghosh. Working with Avery staff, they pored over a vast array of Avery’s holdings in order to compile a selection that reflects the most important modernist architectural works of the 20th and 21st centuries. The result is a resource of essential documentation of modern architecture, shared online for the first time.

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September 26, 2016

Case study: Diving underwater with JSTOR Forum

Editor’s note: this post has been updated to reflect Artstor’s platform changes.

We invited Stanton Belford, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Martin Methodist College, to tell us about his three Marine Biology collections in JSTOR Forum (formerly Shared Shelf): Red Sea, Trinidad, and Key Largo.

Bearded fireworm

Bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata). From the Martin Methodist College Marine Biology Collection: Trinidad

Before describing the marine biology digital collections, I would like to mention I first became interested in marine science thanks to my high school teacher, who allowed us to experience informal science education with the reefs as our classroom. Here I saw a kaleidoscope of colors bursting through the ocean’s blue: corals, fishes, invertebrates, all hidden underwater, just waiting for my eager eyes to discover them.

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September 23, 2016

Around the web: from the Pre-Raphaelites to monkey paintings

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.;

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:

Visual arts

  • Artists’ model Jane Morris served as muse to the Pre-Raphaelites, married one and became the undying love of another–and was a fascinating person all around.
  • Zoos make money selling paintings made by animals. Are they art?
  • For unknown reasons, René Magritte cut up a painting into four pieces and reused the canvas for new works. Conservators recently discovered one of the pieces–but there’s still one missing.
  • Paul Klee’s response to crashing fighter planes during WWI was, uh, unique.
  • One of the leading experts on Degas has changed his long-held (and combative!) stance and now thinks that a long-disputed plaster of the artist’s “Little Dancer” is indeed an earlier model of the famous sculpture.
  • Not sure which of the stories behind this hyper-realistic sculpture is true, but it doesn’t matter because the piece itself is unbelievable.
  • Is Edward Hopper’s gloomy painting Nighthawks optimistic? Watch the video.



  • A decorated floor uncovered in the buried ruins of an ancient synagogue in Israel may depict a legendary meeting with Alexander the Great. Even if it’s not Alexander, the mysterious mosaic itself is great.
  • Archaeologists at Turkey’s neolithic site of Çatalhöyük have unearthed an intact complete female figurine.
  • Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum installed a monumental statue of Athena Parthenos from Pergamon on special loan from the collection of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Watch how they did it.



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September 12, 2016

Now available: Avery/GSAPP Architectural Plans and Sections (Columbia University) Phase 2

Artstor, the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), and the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library are now sharing an additional 10,000 images of architectural plans and sections and related materials in the Digital Library.

The collection, now totaling nearly 20,000 images, is based on GSAPP’s History of Modern Architecture curriculum and covers the history of modern buildings, focusing primarily on the 20th-century, with a few earlier and later projects spanning from 1871 to 2013. Containing over 2,000 projects from 60 countries, the bulk of the collection is comprised of built works, but also includes studies and unbuilt works. This second phase notably includes 100 projects by the master architect Le Corbusier, 100 projects in South America, and over 125 in Japan. The result of this collaboration is a rich body of visual material and related scholarship, available online for the first time.

The Avery/GSAPP Plans & Sections collection involved the efforts of Avery librarians and staff, GSAPP VRC curators, and more than 25 GSAPP students working together across many of the GSAPP programs — including M.Arch, Historic Preservation, Urban Design and Urban Planning – and contributing their diverse language, imaging and technology skills and their deep interest in the history of architecture.

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September 2, 2016

Friday Links: Munch smudge, banned hands, and bookstore pets


Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House,

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

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August 29, 2016

Back to school with Artstor

Start off the school year with more than 2 million images! Here are some links to help you get started:

American | Student Activities; students standing with bicycle | Colby College Special Collections

Students standing with bicycle. Colby College Special Collections

Register for a free Artstor account – you’ll be able to download images, log in away from campus, share image groups, and more!

* Learn how easy it is to download citations! Export to your favorite reference citation management program, or save them as a text file.

* Find out how to share images and image groups! You can use them as flashcards on your mobile phone!

* Take a look at our new LibGuides at – they have everything librarians, instructors, and students need to know to get started or become experts!

In a hurry? Download our Quick Start Guide! Having troubles? Browse through our troubleshooting articles.

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August 26, 2016

Friday Links: gigantic artwork, mysterious book, and secret libraries


Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House,

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

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August 24, 2016

The surprisingly painful origins of modern anesthesia

 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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