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Blog Category: Highlights

August 25, 2020

Teaching Hispanic Heritage Month with Artstor

September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. While the name might currently be the focus of some debate, we welcome the reminder to explore and celebrate the vibrant cultures of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Hispanic Caribbean. The Artstor Digital Library offers many collections that specialize in or are substantially devoted to Latin American topics; here is a selection to get you started.


Tabernacle. Mexico, second half of the 18th century

Tabernacle. Mexico, second half of the 18th century. Image and original data provided Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Not surprisingly, Artstor is strong in collections concentrating on the arts of Latin America, such as Jacqueline Barnitz: Modern Latin American Art (University of Texas at Austin), which features modern art from Mexico and ten other Caribbean, Central, and South American countries; and Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, including colonial, modern, and contemporary Latin American art.

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August 25, 2020

11 open collections perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month

By now you know that Artstor’s Public Collections provide approximately 1.3 million freely accessible images and other materials from library special collections, faculty research, and institutional history materials. The collections are constantly growing, and as we browsed for Latin American content in preparation for Hispanic Heritage Month, we were delighted by what we found. Here are some notable highlights:

Clary. Conferencia Latinoamericana Sobre la Integracion de la Mujer en el Desarollo Economico y Social. 1977

Clary. Conferencia Latinoamericana Sobre la Integracion de la Mujer en el Desarollo Economico y Social. 1977. Image and data from Wofford College: The Lindsay Webster Collection of Cuban Posters.

Wofford College: The Lindsay Webster Collection of Cuban Posters
The collection features approximately 350 works created in Cuba from the revolution through the 2000s. Many of the posters focus on Cuba’s efforts to spread messages of the revolution worldwide and to inspire others in the fight against oppression stemming from the legacies of imperialism and colonialism, as well as posters focused on promoting Cuban national pride, conservation, production, and culture.

Dartmouth: Ediciones Vigia Collection
In 1985, a Cuban poet Alfredo Zaldivar and an artist Rolando Estevez established a literary forum for a group of Cuban artists in Matanzas, Cuba and called it Ediciones Vigía. For over twenty years now the goal for these artists has been to create beautiful handmade books. Through all of the social and political shifts, and even a severe paper shortage, the artists have found ways to create works of enormous artistry, imagination, and creativity by using found and recycled materials.

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August 25, 2020

Celebrating the diversity of Hispanic heritage

Luis González Palma. El árbol, 1993

Luis González Palma. El árbol, 1993. Image and data from Lehigh University Art Galleries Permanent Collection.

When tasked with explaining my cultural heritage I feel a mixture of excitement and trepidation; the term “Hispanic” captures such a wide spectrum of people and cultures. Plus, in a year of high racial tensions and unrest I worry that I am not being sensitive or inclusive to all my brown and black brothers and sisters.

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May 6, 2020

Pandemics and epidemics

There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.
— Albert Camus, The Plague, 1948

Alfred Rethel. Dance of Death Death the Strangler.
Dance of Death: Death the Strangler. Alfred Rethel (German, 1816-1859). 1850. Woodcut. Credit: The Cleveland Museum of Art; CC0
José Aparicio. Episode of Yellow Fever in Valencia. (Episode de la fièvre jaune à Valence).
Episode of Yellow Fever in Valencia (Épisode de la fièvre jaune à Valence). José Aparicio. 1804. Credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.
Tanjé, Pieter. A procession of flagellants carrying a canopy and a statue of the Virgin Mary through a town.
A procession of flagellants carrying a canopy and a statue of the Virgin Mary through a town. Pieter Tanjé. Etching, with engraving. Credit: Wellcome Collection; CC BY 4.0.

Explore the full Pandemics and Epidemics image group in Artstor

The rapid rise of the COVID-19 pandemic1 is a stark reminder that humanity is still susceptible to infectious diseases. Despite the successes of modern medicine, communicable diseases continue to impact our health, our economies, and our communities.

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May 4, 2020

Our dogged companions

We at Artstor/ITHAKA are so devoted to our canines that we share a dogspotting channel that provides a steady stream of engaging pictures. During the crisis, as we isolate with our pets, the photos and anecdotes have proliferated. In tribute to our best friends who delight and support us during this time, we would like to highlight a few of our furry colleagues. Since this is Artstor, the temptation to call up artistic alter egos is irresistible so we are presenting our companions alongside their kindred spirits in art (perhaps more in essence than in precise likeness). No disrespect intended, since a comparison to a dog is the highest form of praise!

Enzo, in a rare moment, stands still was the catalyst (sorry dogs) for this approach. His quizzical, unsparing stare immediately conjured the bespectacled gaze of the great French painter Jean-Siméon Chardin, an artist who, in fact, featured dogs in several works.

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March 30, 2020

Museums, remotely

Honoré Daumier. L'Exposition de 1859: Dire que je vais être...Exposé... 1859.

Honoré Daumier. L’Exposition de 1859: Dire que je vais être…Exposé…1859. Lithograph. Image and data provided by The Phillips Collection.

Missing your favorite museums? Let us reveal them to you remotely. Artstor offers comprehensive coverage of the collections of well over 100 international museums and galleries through various accesses—ranging from fully public, from our community collaborators, as well as Open Artstor collections with works entirely in the public domain—to selections in the Artstor Digital Library that are available to subscribing institutions and their members.



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January 8, 2020

Artstor’s 2019 year in review

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.

Cell in laser beam, flow cytometry, illustration.
Cell in laser beam, flow cytometry, illustration. Wellcome Collection. Credit: Neil Dufton. CC BY 4.0.
Klein bottle
Science Museum Group. Klein bottle, 1995. 1996-558. Science Museum Group Collection Online. Accessed January 3, 2020. CC BY 4.0.
Personal Computer, model Apple I.
Science Museum Group. Personal Computer, model Apple I. 1999-915. Science Museum Group Collection Online. Accessed January 3, 2020. CC BY 4.0.
Pinckney Marcius-Simons. Illustrations to A Midsummer Night's Dream. 1908. Image and data provided by the Folger Shakespeare Library. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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December 4, 2019

The drama of the operating theater:
Thomas Eakins’ medical paintings and clinical fact

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.

Thomas Eakins. The Gross Clinic. 1875

Thomas Eakins. The Gross Clinic. 1875. Image and data provided by University of Georgia Libraries.

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.

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December 3, 2019

The fine art of the feast

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.

Antonio Rasio. Autumn. 1685-1695

Antonio Rasio. Autumn. 1685-1695. Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

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.

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November 5, 2019

New in Artstor — Nearly 300 self-portraits by Joseph Stapleton

A unique offering from a second generation Abstract Expressionist

Joseph F. Stapleton. Look look. 1978

Joseph F. Stapleton. Look look. 1978. China marker, vellum. RISD Museum. Image and data provided by Robert Solomon Art.

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.

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