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Blog Category: Case study

June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Florence: City of the Living, City of the Dead

Lippo di Andrea | Scenes from the Life of Saint Cecilia; detail of Death of the Saint | Santa Maria del Carmine (Florence, Italy) | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; scalarchives.com; artres.com

Lippo di Andrea | Scenes from the Life of Saint Cecilia; detail of Death of the Saint | Santa Maria del Carmine (Florence, Italy) | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; scalarchives.com; artres.com

Anne C. Leader, Professor, SCAD-Atlanta

While the primary motivation for patrons of religious architecture and decoration was to gain or retain God’s grace, Florentine tomb monuments manifest a conflicting mix of piety and social calculation, reflecting tension between Christian humility and social recognition. Though some city churches still house many tombs, most of the thousands of original monuments have been moved, reused, or survive only in fragments. From the mid-thirteenth-century onward, Florence’s churches, both inside and out, were carpeted with floor slabs, coated with wall monuments, banners, and markers, and filled with stone caskets. Benefactors hoped to secure perpetual intercession for their souls, while preserving and promoting their family’s honor, with families typically installing tombs in multiple locations around the city. My research reconstructs the rich mosaic of tomb markers that once covered the floors, walls, and yards of the Florentine cityscape to bring us closer to how Florentines experienced the deaths and memories of their kin, friends, and competitors in the early modern city.

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June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Wrapped Up in Lace: Chantilly

Unknown (French) |Collar (Cape Collar) ; ca. 1835 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Unknown (French) |Collar (Cape Collar) ; ca. 1835 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lisa Hartley, Columbus College of Art Design

The small town of Chantilly, France, is home to Chantilly Castle, an architectural wonder of sandstone, antiquated fountains, and enchanting gardens. Here is where lace, my research niche and mild obsession, takes center stage. The traditions and skills used in lacemaking date back to early as the 16th century Europe where the nobility commissioned workers to create dresses, parasols, shawls and gloves in beautiful openwork fabric. Coco Chanel once said, “Lace is one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature,” and we have Chantilly to applaud for its origins.

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June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Washington’s Secret City: Cultural Capital

Luke C. Dilton | Colored Women's League of Washington, D.C.; ca. 1894 | Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress)

Luke C. Dilton | Colored Women’s League of Washington, D.C.; ca. 1894 | Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress)

Amber N. Wiley, Ph.D. , Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture, Tulane University

Historian Constance Green characterized Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s as the “undisputed center of American Negro civilization” in her 1969 book Secret City: History of Race Relations in the Nation’s Capital. This was America before the Harlem Renaissance, in which the average percentile of the capital’s black population ranged from 25-33% throughout the nineteenth century. This population peaked between 1960 and 1990. This black Washington spans from the antebellum period through abolitionism, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Black Power, Parliament’s “Chocolate City,” and the so-called “post-racial” Obama era.

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June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Alexandria, The City

Placido Costanzi |Alexander the Great Founding Alexandria; 1736-1737 | The Walters Art Museum

Placido Costanzi |Alexander the Great Founding Alexandria; 1736-1737 | The Walters Art Museum

Marlene Nakagawa, Undergraduate student at the University of Oregon

During his ongoing series of campaigns, Alexander the Great founded or renamed nearly twenty cities after himself. From Pakistan to Turkey, these cities stood as a representation (as if one was necessary) of his omnipresence in the ancient world. Over the centuries, most of the Alexandrian cities have been destroyed, renamed, or absorbed into other territories. However, west of the Nile Delta stands Alexander’s lasting triumph: Alexandria, Egypt’s largest seaport and a dynamic force in the country’s ancient and modern economy.

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June 17, 2013

Travel Awards 2013: Shushtar: A Town to Tame Water

ordered by Shapur I | Dam and Bridge at Shushtar; c. 260 | Image and original data provided by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Ordered by Shapur I | Dam and Bridge at Shushtar; c. 260 | Image and original data provided by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Peyvand Firouzeh, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge

Aridity in the Islamic world stands in contrast to the well-known landscape architecture of Islamic gardens, where water is used generously and luxuriously. The contrast hints at creative methods of dealing with water scarcity: from man-made canals and reservoirs to cisterns and qanats (subterranean tunnel-wells), examples of which can be seen in my image group, “Water Management in the Islamic World.” These solutions not only responded to the scarcity of water, but also made efficient use of the water that was unusable or inaccessible for agricultural purposes.

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June 18, 2012

Travel Awards 2012: Silkworms in the Library

Unknown; Chinese | Taoist Priest’s Robe, c. 1850-1900 | Philadelphia Museum of Art | Image and data from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Amelia Nelson
Cataloging and Digital Services Librarian
Kansas City Art Institute

In the spring semester the library collaborated with the Fibers Department by hosting 500 growing silkworms in one of the display cases at the library entrance. The worms were grown as part of the course “Fiber History and Properties.” The silkworms’ development was tracked by students visiting the library and through a live feed broadcast on the library’s ustream channel. Playing host to these silkworms was a fun opportunity for the library to connect with students and to highlight some of the plethora of library resources available to fibers students. Some of these representative resources were compiled into a LibGuide. The guide incorporated the live feed of the growing silkworms and linked to fibers resources across the collection including an image group compiled from the Artstor Digital Library.

The Artstor image group complemented our physical collection and also provided unique imagery documenting the history of the silkworm industry and examples of silk used across cultures and throughout history. These images range from an 8th-century Caftan from the Caucasus Mountains to Grace Kelly’s silk tulle wedding gown. Each image provides unique high-quality image resolution especially usefully for fiber students. In the Caftan image, for example, students are able to zoom into the image to see repairs, the texture of the plain weave linen, and the faded silk decorative border. For a tactile fiber student, these detailed views provide insight into the construction, texture and materials—details that couldn’t be extrapolated from other images.

Unknown; Chinese | Taoist Priest's Robe, c. 1850-1900 | Philadelphia Museum of Art | Image and data from the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Russian; Unknown | Dress, first half 19th century |Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image and original data from the Brooklyn Museum.
Emperor Huizong | Court Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk, early 12th Century | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | Image and data from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Asian; artist unknown | Silkworm, 206 B.C. - A.D. 220 |The Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Image and data from The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
British | Mantua or court dress, 1740 - 1745 | Victoria and Albert Museum | Image and data from the Victoria and Albert Museum

This sample image group can be arranged chronologically, allowing users to compare the weaves of different silk textiles and to track the evolution of this fabric through time. Viewed together, this image group illustrates the important cultural, symbolic, and artistic role this luxurious fabric has held throughout its history, included in everything from tapestries to a 16th-century Emperor’s court robe to silk slippers from the 18th century. The images in this group perfectly dovetailed into the goal of the fibers LibGuide to build a bridge from the excitement and curiosity about the silkworms on display to the library’s rich collection of fiber resources.

Read the other Artstor Travel Awards 2012 winners here.

To view the complete image groups that accompany this and other Travel Awards-winning essays, visit the Artstor Digital Library’s Featured Groups and click on Travel Awards.

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June 18, 2012

Travel Awards 2012: REPRESENT: Women Artists in the Western Tradition

Judy Chicago | The Dinner Party, 1974-1979 | © Judy Chicago Photo © Donald Woodman | © 2008 Judy Chicago / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Katherine Murrell
Instructor of Art History
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

In my class on women artists from the medieval period onward, one of the first activities students were asked to do was to work in small groups and write a list of ten female painters or sculptors active before 1950, but without looking for information online. Many minutes elapsed, and the group with the longest list only had eight names. It was a sobering realization that despite the hundreds of female practitioners of art, relatively few are commonly known. This oversight is apparent on many websites hosting libraries of images, but Artstor is a notable and praiseworthy exception.

The tools available on Artstor make researching and organizing presentations a streamlined delight, but the breadth and depth of its visual resources make it an outstanding library. The nearly 400 images from artist Judy Chicago are an exceptional example of this. Chicago’s landmark work, The Dinner Party, is widely represented in art history survey textbooks, and was a touchstone for our class. The studio photographs and other documentary images associated with the piece, and detailed images of various place settings, help vividly illustrate the scope of this collaborative and historic work.

Context of a smaller, older work was explored through the 12th-century image of Hildegard von Bingen, experiencing a vision like a fiery flame. This is another picture often shown in survey textbooks, but the Artstor collection includes the facsimile page from her Liber Scivias, showing the illustration as accompanying its text, in addition to many other richly illustrated folios.

Artists of significant accomplishment such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, and many others, are represented with plentiful images. The extensive material offers valuable opportunities for examining recurring subjects of interest, such as the Jewish heroine Judith. Artists’ self-portraits are another significant  topic for discussion. Angelica Kauffman, a founding member of London’s Royal Academy of Art, created an eloquent self-portrait where she chooses between her loves of art and music, an image that still makes a powerful statement today about professional commitment.

Judy Chicago | The Dinner Party, 1974-1979 | © Judy Chicago Photo © Donald Woodman| © 2008 Judy Chicago / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Mary Stevenson Cassatt | Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge, 1879 | Philadelphia Museum of Art| Image and data from the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Judith Leyster | Merry Company, 1630 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com
Designed by: Kitagawa Utamaro | Midnight: Mother and Sleepy Child, 1790 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Artemisia Gentileschi | Judith and Her Maidservant, c. 1612 | Galleria Palatina | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. | artres.com , scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Resources concerning the life and career of Rosa Bonheur include numerous paintings, studies, sketches, and photographs. Of particular note in the Artstor collection is a permit for which she regularly applied to French authorities to wear men’s clothing in public, in order to gain easier access to male-dominated settings not readily open to women.

The quantity of images for many artists is impressive, but also the details and installation views of works.  The story quilts of Faith Ringgold come alive with close-ups of image and text, and the monumental scale of Louise Bourgeois’ spiders are all the more impressive for the exhibition images.

While putting together my course, Artstor has been an invaluable partner, providing numerous images and source documents, and helping my students gain an expansive sense of the contributions of women artists in the present and past centuries. The field of art history, and the experience in the classroom, is undeniable richer for this resource.

Read the other Artstor Travel Awards 2012 winners here.

To view the complete image groups that accompany this and other Travel Awards-winning essays, visit the Artstor Digital Library’s Featured Groups and click on Travel Awards.

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June 18, 2012

Travel Awards 2012: Vermeer’s Robe: The Dutch and Japan, 1600-1800

Jan Vermeer | The Astronomer, 1668 | The Astronomer | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y | artres.com artres.com

Dr. Martha Hollander
Professor
Hofstra University

My research and teaching in art history has always focused on the ways in which a single work of art can open up an entire world of knowledge, making vivid and real the otherwise rather bland term “historical context.” For the past few years I have been working on a study of men’s fashions in the seventeenth century and their representations in Dutch art. This has involved making a number of image groups in ARTstor where I connect visual art, textiles, and clothing accessories.

One project that has proved particularly rich culminated in a recently published article called “Vermeer’s Robe: Costume, Commerce and Fantasy in the Early Modern Netherlands.” It concerns the japonsche rok, the Japanese silk robe portrayed most famously in Vermeer’s The Astronomer and The Geographer.

These rare spoils of Asian trade were first presented annually by Japanese shoguns to officials of the Dutch east India Company (VOC) and thereafter were made available as Western copies. By the end of the seventeenth century, similar robes made of chintz or batik, also known as banyans, were imported from India and went through the same transformation to domestic product. All of these long, loose garments possessed a novelty and cachet unmatched by more abundant imports such as spices, lacquer, porcelain, and precious metals. They appear in portraits of eminent and wealthy men, as well as in fictionalized genre images of scholars and scientists. Collectively, these garments created an idealized costume of social and intellectual prestige. Behind it are the interactions among the forces of class, fashion, fantasy, exoticism, and, above all, the extraordinary taste-making power of the VOC.

Jan Vermeer | The Astronomer, 1668 | The Astronomer | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y | artres.com artres.com
Ludolf Backhuysen I Ships of the Dutch East India Company (Escadre Neerlandaise de la Compagnie des Indes), 1675 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.
Islamic | Robe; court, 17th century | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Katsushika Hokusai | Woman Spinning Silk, 18th century |The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Japan | Formal Robe for Daimyo's Wife with Design of Wisteria and Peonies, 18th century | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

At the same time, I am currently teaching two courses – a survey course in baroque and rococo art, and another on east-west relations as expressed in art and artifacts. ARTstor image groups create an ideal means of incorporating my research into both classrooms.

Students can, for example, start with a portrait or genre scene, focus on a particular piece of clothing or accessory, then create a study group. Conversely, they can choose types of artifact, e.g., a fan, a shoe, a dress, a chair, a ship, a navigational instrument, or a map, and build a series of artworks around them to show how they were used. ARTstor image groups can enhance students’ experience of art history by giving them the tools to create their own interdisciplinary and cross-cultural bodies of knowledge.

Some search topics:

  • Portraits of important men and women: aspirational clothing
  • Genre images of scholars and scientists: idealized/stereotyping clothing
  • Asian representations of Dutch and English traders
  • Sericulture in Japan
  • Indian textiles, showing both native patterns and later patterns “westernized” for export back to Europe
  • European-made textiles and clothing based on Asian designs
  • Ships, maps, and instruments: the technology behind the textile trade

Read the other ARTstor Travel Awards 2012 winners here.

To view the complete image groups that accompany this and other Travel Awards-winning essays, visit the ARTstor Digital Library’s Featured Groups and click on Travel Awards.

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June 18, 2012

Travel Awards 2012: Art at the Bedside: Research on the Healing Potential of the Visual Arts

John Frederick Kensett | Lake George, 1869 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Susan Dodge-Peters Daiss
McPherson Director of Education
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester

The idea of bringing works of art to the bedside of patients in the hospital emerged from two interwoven aspects of my professional life: for over 25 years, I have worked as a museum educator at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. I have also been trained and have served as a hospital and hospice chaplain. During my experiences as a chaplain, I began to wonder: What if the energy encountering artwork in a museum could be transported to the bedside? What if the visual arts had the potential to bring more than decoration to medical settings? What if they could bring comfort—deep comfort, and maybe even more?

The Research:

I have been engaged in delivering Art at the Bedside for nearly three years. Permission to engage with patients with this idea was granted initially in the division of Palliative Care at Strong Memorial Hospital, the University of Rochester.

The idea is simple: from ARTstor’s vast storehouse of images, I have a series of preselected images that I bring with me in a computer to visit patients and their families. My initial image selection focused exclusively on scenes from the natural world. Over time, responding to patient requests, I’ve added images of Norman Rockwell, angels, the season, etc. The current eclectic mix seems to satisfy the sensibilities of the diversity of patients served in the hospital.

I developed a visual menu to introduce the idea to patients. The selections are intentionally short—rarely more than a dozen images in length. Many variables affect the nature and length of the experience, from the number of individuals participating to the state of the patient’s condition at the time of my visit.

John Frederick Kensett | Lake George, 1869 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gustav Klimt | Avenue in Schloss Kammer Park, c. 1912 | Österreichische Galerie Belvedere | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y | artres.com artres.com | Photo Credit: Erich Lessing/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Childe Hassam | Peach Blossoms-Villiers-le-Bel, ca. 1887-89 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Watanabe Seitei | Pigeons in a Tree, 1868-1912 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

My experiences to date have fallen under several overlapping categories. (Comment in italics.)

  • Diversion/Distraction: Looking at images of clouds, one patient said, “I love looking at clouds. Clouds give me a place to put my pain.”
  • Reminiscences/Reflections: Although the patient was not responsive, the family gathered around the computer to look at the images: “Look, doesn’t this remind you of the road to the country? Isn’t that just like…” describing a place they all knew “…Daddy would have loved this.”
  • Right now, I’m on this side of the glass. I’m headed back to the other side of the glass. These pictures bring the world from the other side of the glass in here.”
  • Images as metaphors: From a woman who knew she was dying, “I’m glad that all your landscapes aren’t green.”

Next steps:

It is time to share the idea and potential of Art at the Bedside. Currently I am writing a reflection on this research for submission to several medical journals, and I am planning to submit Art at the Bedside as a presentation topic at several medical humanities conferences. The ARTstor travel research grant would be invaluable in assisting me to share this research with new audiences.

Read the other ARTstor Travel Awards 2012 winners here.

To view the complete image groups that accompany this and other Travel Awards-winning essays, visit the ARTstor Digital Library’s Featured Groups and click on Travel Awards.

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February 29, 2012

Artstor Is… Women’s Studies

Judy Chicago |Wing 2 of The Dinner Party; Detail, 1974-79 | Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; Collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art | ©Judy Chicago, www.judychicago.com

March is Women’s History Month! The Artstor Digital Library offers a variety of excellent resources to support Women’s Studies, from historical photographs to the history of fashion, and from canonical artworks to modern and contemporary art by female practitioners.

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