Every year the subject of food rises in our thoughts and comes into greater and more glorious focus as we are swept up in a wave of planning, preparation, and consumption for the holidays. In anticipation and celebration of our sumptuous banquets and stolen treats, Artstor offers a feast of foodie still lifes. Think of this selection as an appetizer: with heaping mounds of fruit, Bartolomeo Bimbi’s monumental Pears (1699) heralds the abundant extreme of the genre.
The curious case of collector Hearst: new selections now available from the William Randolph Hearst Archive
The William Randolph Hearst Archive has contributed 2,050 images to the Artstor Digital Library,* providing an intriguing perspective on the collecting passions of Hearst, the man best known to us as a newspaper baron, and notoriously immortalized on film as the unscrupulous “Citizen Kane.”
The Allegheny College Egyptian Hieroglyphics collection features every page of a single manuscript in the James Winthrop Collection. The collection includes approximately 3,000 titles from the libraries of Winthrop and his father, John Winthrop, who was Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics at Harvard. This particular manuscript is in the public domain, and Allegheny has shared this digital reproduction as a Public Collection in Artstor so that anyone can view and download the images.
…and how to protect yourself from them
While there were a lot of delightful beliefs about animals in the Middle Ages (our favorite: hedgehogs roll on grapes to spear them on their spines so they can take them home to their young), this Halloween season we’re focusing on the creepiest creatures of all: reptiles! Not to worry, we’ll also tell you what to do to stay safe from them.
Our source for this guide is Richard Barber’s translation of the Bodleian Library’s MS Bodley 764, a mid-thirteenth century bestiary, so don’t be too surprised if the descriptions deviate just a tad from contemporary herpetology.
Let’s start with plain old snakes. We bet you didn’t know that snakes are frightened by naked men, but attack clothed ones. Unfortunately our source doesn’t specify how snakes respond to women (the thirteenth century not being the most progressive of centuries), so your best bet is to keep a stag nearby, as they can handily deal with bothersome serpents.
In an 1898 article for Scientific American, a chemist describes his process for working with a powdered material that smelled of myrrh and meat extract:
On heating the powder turns dark brown black, with a pleasant, resin-like odor of incense and myrrh, then throws out vapors with an odor of asphaltum; it leaves a black glossy coal which leaves behind when burnt 17 percent of ash with a strongly alkaline reaction, evolving plenty of carbonic acid when sprinkled with acids. In the closed tube vapors of acid reaction are obtained. With hot water a yellow brown solution of neutral reaction is obtained which smells like glue and extract of meat when inspissated…”
The powder in question was in fact the ground desiccated corpse of an ancient Egyptian, heated for the purpose of creating commercially-produced oil paint. Shocked? Let us treat you to a short history of the many strange fates of pillaged mummies between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Now available: new images and virtual reality panoramas of world architecture from Columbia University
Columbia University’s Media Center for Art History at the Department of Art History and Archaeology has contributed additional material on world architecture to the Artstor Digital Library, including approximately 335 interactive and dynamic virtual reality panoramas and more than 5200 photographs.* The contribution presents ancient buildings and monuments in Iraq and the architecture of Turkey—mostly mosques in Istanbul—from the 15th through 19th centuries.
On this day in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published, bringing widespread attention to environmental issues caused by the use of synthetic pesticides in the United States. The book sparked controversy, particularly from chemical companies that dismissed Silent Spring’s assertions about the connection between pesticides and ecological health. However, Carson’s claims were borne out and the book is widely credited with sparking the modern environmental movement that eventually spawned the Environmental Protection Agency.
An additional contribution of nearly 1,000 images has been made to the Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art collection in the Artstor Digital Library, bringing the total to over 5,000.* Scholar/photographer Linrothe has provided this unique resource in collaboration with the Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College and Northwestern University.
The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) has contributed an additional 5,094 images to the Artstor Digital Library, bringing their total to more than 69,000.*
Artstor’s global collections span time and cultures and provide a wonderful resource for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. Our “Artstor Across Disciplines” LibGuide outlines how Artstor’s collections can be used in over 20 disciplines, including American studies, religious studies, the history of medicine, women’s studies, and more.