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Blog Category: Highlights

October 16, 2013

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’s “New Forms of 36 Ghosts”

Left: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi | New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts: Sadanobu Threatening a Demon in the Palace at Night | 1889. Right: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi | New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts: The Ferocity of Tametomo Driving Away the Smallpox Demons | 1890.  Scripps College: Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

Left: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi | New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts: Sadanobu Threatening a Demon in the Palace at Night | 1889. Right: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi | New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts: The Ferocity of Tametomo Driving Away the Smallpox Demons | 1890. Scripps College: Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery | Contact information: Kirk Delman, Registrar, 1030 Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, Tel: 909-607-3397, Fax: 909-607-4691, kdelman@scrippscollege.edu

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi is widely recognized as the last great master of Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” the main genre of Japanese woodblock printing (and a major source of inspiration for many modernist artists from Europe).

In his last series, New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts, the artist depicts a variety of spirits and magic animals from Japanese folk tales and history. As opposed to the morbidly graphic work that originally brought him fame, horror is mostly suggested in these works. Can you spot the subtle supernatural event in the print below?

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September 27, 2013

The Blessing of the Animals: An Artstor Bestiary

Giotto | Saint Francis Preaching to the Birds, predella of Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmatta | c. 1295-1300 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. ; artres.com

Giotto | Saint Francis Preaching to the Birds, predella of Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmatta | c. 1295-1300 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. ; artres.com

October 4 is generally recognized as the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the animals, steward of nature, and author of the Canticle of the Creatures.  In a divinely ordained cosmos, Francis considered all elements – sun, moon, and stars, water and fire, and the animals – our sisters and brothers, and he is often depicted and described preaching to the birds, as in Giotto’s panel shown here, 1295-1300.  The cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York famously marks his feast day with the blessing of the animals.  Thousands of creatures, from tortoises to camels, process though the nave, gather in the yard, and are blessed by clergy.  This scene is replayed throughout churches around the globe, a celebration of the beasts that surround us and enhance our lives.

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July 18, 2013

Art in context: installation photography

Rollie McKenna, photographer | Installing the exhibition, "The Graphic Work of Edvard Munch." | February 6, 1957 through March 3, 1957 | Photographic Archive; The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Bono, Oslo

Rollie McKenna, photographer | Installing the exhibition, “The Graphic Work of Edvard Munch.” | February 6, 1957 through March 3, 1957 | Photographic Archive; The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Bono, Oslo

If you read a review or article about an interesting museum exhibition you missed you can usually find images of the featured artworks. But have you ever wondered how the works were presented, where they were placed? Which pieces were shown together, and in what order? You’re not alone – exhibition design is central in museology, also known as museum studies, which asks how to present exhibitions that engage and enlighten the viewer. It’s also of interest to curators, art historians, and even artists, who often want to see what effect context has on artworks.

The Artstor Digital Library has tens of thousands of exhibition documentation images ranging from the late 19th century to the present from major American institutions. Some of the photographs, as you can see in this post, even show the artworks being installed. Dig into the collections listed below to find many more gems.

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July 1, 2013

When It Rains

Bergdorf Goodman | Umbrella;  1974 | Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © Metropolitan Museum of Art | Original data from the Brooklyn Museum

Bergdorf Goodman | Umbrella; 1974 | Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © Metropolitan Museum of Art | Original data from the Brooklyn Museum

Lately in New York (and plenty of other places too), it seems to rain more often than not, and we would be lost without our umbrellas and our rain boots. On June 7, the first tropical storm of this season—whose lilting name Andrea belied her punch—dumped four inches of rain on the city, doubling the record for that day in 1918. Mayor Bloomberg is calling for billions of dollars to shore us up against future events like Andrea, or worse, Sandy.

While we acknowledge the hard truth of climate change, we invite you to pause, take shelter, and consider the upside of rain.

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June 14, 2013

Happy Father’s Day from Artstor

Anthony van Dyck | Portrait of a father with his son, also called Portrait of Guillaume Richardot and his son; 1618-1619 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Anthony van Dyck | Portrait of a father with his son, also called Portrait of Guillaume Richardot and his son; 1618-1619 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Happy Father’s Day! Every year on the third Sunday of June we celebrate our dads – whether or not they’re as stylish as the one in this portrait by Anthony van Dyke in the Musée du Louvre, courtesy of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux.

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May 13, 2013

Fashion from the Great Gatsby’s roaring twenties

Left: Jeanne Lanvin | Ensemble, Evening; Summer 1923. Right: Jeanne Lanvin | Suit, Evening (Tuxedo); 1927. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Left: Jeanne Lanvin | Ensemble, Evening; Summer 1923. Right: Jeanne Lanvin | Suit, Evening (Tuxedo); 1927. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“I noticed that she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes—there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon a golf course on clean, crisp, mornings.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The recent movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby has turned the spotlight on the fashion and styles of the Roaring Twenties. So what made the twenties roar?

The economic boom was decisive. Soldiers came home from World War I to jobs in manufacturing plants ready to turn from war production to consumer goods; with the flourishing economy, many commodities became affordable for the first time. Another key engine for progress was the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. It was signed into law in 1920, heralding unprecedented liberation. The twenties were also a pivotal time for mass communication: radio, cinema, and the automobile sped up the distribution of information—and trends.

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May 3, 2013

May is National Barbecue Month, allegedly

Alfred Jacob Miller | Roasting The Hump Rib, 1858-1860 | The Walters Art Museum

Alfred Jacob Miller | Roasting The Hump Rib, 1858-1860 | The Walters Art Museum

May is National Barbecue Month, allegedly. Why the hedging? Because the closest to an official citation we could find was this post on the USDA blog from 2012. But we’ll go with it because a) it gives us the excuse to post this mid-19th century watercolor from The Walters Art Museum, b) we like barbecue, and c) it’s close to lunchtime.

View this image in the Artstor Digital Library to read the metadata, which includes the artist’s mouthwatering description of how the ribs are cooked.

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April 23, 2013

Butterfly sightings

Papilionidae; swallowtail butterfly | Collected: 8/1975, Madagascar, Africa | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu

Papilionidae; swallowtail butterfly | Collected: 8/1975, Madagascar, Africa | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu

Spring time is here and butterflies are already making their annual appearance, according to butterfliesandmoths.org. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a slideshow of selections from a wide variety of eras, regions, and fields of study, from science to art to costume design.

Search the Artstor Digital Library for butterfl* to find more than 1,000 images with the keywords “butterfly” or “butterflies.”

Click on any image to view the slideshow and to read the full captions.

Our slideshow includes an image of a very serious-looking butterfly collector from George Eastman House; several examples from the nearly 70 specimens of butterflies in Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History; an 18th-century painting of a mischievous cat chasing a butterfly from Réunion des Musées Nationaux; a 1910 lithograph of the Ty-Bell Sisters, Aerial Butterflies from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Circus Collection; a colorful illumination from the Book of Hours of Queen Isabella I, ca. 1495-1500, from The Cleveland Museum of Art Collection; and an evening dress and a bonnet from more than two dozen butterfly-themed dresses and accessories in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Brooklyn Museum Costumes.

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April 10, 2013

Documentary photographer Ami Vitale speaks about her work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the Artstor Digital Library.

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In this Panos-produced video, Ami Vitale shares the story behind a photograph she took when she lived in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.

Search the Digital Library for Ami Vitale and Alio to see this and other photographs she took of the Fulani child, or just for her name to find more than 1,000 of her poignant photographs.

You may also be interested in these other videos from Panos:

Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

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February 20, 2013

Documentary photographer Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the ARTstor Digital Library.

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In this Panos-produced video, Stephan Vanfleteren talks about capturing a moment that he didn’t believe happened until he developed his own photograph.

Profile Voices: Stephan Van Fleteren from panos pictures on Vimeo.

Search the Digital Library for Stephan Vanfleteren and man taking a picture of his wife to see the image, or just for the photographer’s name to find more than 500 of his stunning photographs.

You may also be interested in: Documentary photographer Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

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