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Blog Category: On this day

April 25, 2013

Celebrating National Bike Month

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec | La Chaine Simpson (bicycle chains), 1896 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec | La Chaine Simpson (bicycle chains), 1896 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

May is National Bike Month! Did you know that there are more than a billion bicycles worldwide? Perhaps more surprisingly, the basic configuration of a bicycle hasn’t changed much from the chain-driven model developed around 1885.

Amed T. Thibault | Bicycle, Livery, Carriage, and Paint Shop Trade Sign, 1895-1905 | American Folk Art Museum; folkartmuseum.org

Amed T. Thibault | Bicycle, Livery, Carriage, and Paint Shop Trade Sign, 1895-1905 | American Folk Art Museum; folkartmuseum.org

The first pedal-propelled bicycle was reputedly invented by Kirkpatrick MacMillan in Scotland in 1839. While not everyone agrees on his breakthrough, it is widely accepted that MacMillan was the first person to be charged with a cycling traffic offense in 1842 after he was fined five shillings for knocking over a little girl.

In the early 1860s, bicycle design was improved in France by a crank drive with pedals and a larger front wheel that allowed the rider to travel farther with every rotation of the pedals. The model soon developed into the “penny-farthing,” which boasted wheels with solid rubber tires mounted on a tubular steel frame. While certainly formidable-looking, the high placement of the seat and the poor weight distribution made it difficult to ride.

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April 15, 2013

On this day: Tax Day

Marinus van Reymerswaele | Tax Collector and His Wife | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Marinus van Reymerswaele | Tax Collector and His Wife | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Since 1955, Tax Day has typically fallen on April 15 for those living in the United States. You might derive some comfort from knowing that your feelings today were not unknown in the 16th century, as evidenced in these three Netherlandish paintings of tax collectors by Marinus van Reymerswaele from the Art, Archaeology and Architecture (Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives) collection in the ARTstor Digital Library.

Incidentally, we’re puzzled by the ornate hats, which presumably were part of the profession’s costume. If you know anything about them, please leave a comment below. If you’re not too busy filing your taxes at the last minute, of course.

Marinus van Reymerswaele | Two Tax Collectors | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com
Marinus van Reymerswaele | Two Tax Collectors | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com
Marinus van Reymerswaele | Two Tax Collectors | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com
Marinus van Reymerswaele | Tax Collector and His Wife | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com
Marinus van Reymerswaele | Tax Collector and His Wife | c. 1540 | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

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March 9, 2013

On this day: Daylight Saving Time

Vincent van Gogh | Sower | 1888 | Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Vincent van Gogh | Sower | 1888 | Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

It’s time to spring forward this weekend! Daylight Saving Time starts at 2AM Sunday morning, don’t forget to set your clock ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight. We made this slide show of beautiful clocks and watches to help you remember.

Case maker: Joseph Baumhauer; Clockmaker: Workshop of Julien Le Roy; Sculptor: Laurent Guiard | Mantel clock | 18th century | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Case maker: Joseph Baumhauer; Clockmaker: Workshop of Julien Le Roy; Sculptor: Laurent Guiard | Mantel clock | 18th century | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Swiss | Watch | 19th century | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Swiss | Watch | 19th century | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ulrich Klieber III | Cannon Level and Sight, with Sundial and Compass | 1596 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com
Ulrich Klieber III | Cannon Level and Sight, with Sundial and Compass | 1596 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com
Sundial; view of the southeast face | Kilmalkedar, County Kerry, Ireland | Image and original data provided by Canyonlights World Art Slides and Image Bank.
Sundial; view of the southeast face | Kilmalkedar, County Kerry, Ireland | Image and original data provided by Canyonlights World Art Slides and Image Bank.
John Monnier | Skull watch with stand | 1812 – 1828 | Image and data from: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
John Monnier | Skull watch with stand | 1812 – 1828 | Image and data from: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Designer: Jean-Antoine Lepine; Painter: Joseph Coteau, | Astronomical Mantel Timepiece | about 1789 | Image and data from: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Collection
Designer: Jean-Antoine Lepine; Painter: Joseph Coteau, | Astronomical Mantel Timepiece | about 1789 | Image and data from: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Collection

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February 20, 2013

On this day: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its doors

Richard Morris Hunt and McKim, Mead and White, original building; Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates, renovations | Metropolitan Museum of Art; interior, Leon Levy and Shelby White Court | original building completed 1902; renovation completed 2011|New York, New York |Photographer: Ralph Lieberman

Richard Morris Hunt and McKim, Mead and White, original building; Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates, renovations | Metropolitan Museum of Art; interior, Leon Levy and Shelby White Court | original building completed 1902; renovation completed 2011|New York, New York |Photographer: Ralph Lieberman

Happy 141st birthday to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! The Museum opened its doors to the public on February 20, 1872 (some 30 blocks below its current location). Today the Met is the largest art museum in the United States, boasting more than two million works in its permanent collection.

ARTstor is proud to collaborate with the Museum in sharing three collections in the Digital Library: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with an excellent selection of almost 10,000 images from the permanent collection; The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Brooklyn Museum Costumes, with nearly 6,000 images of American and European costumes and accessories formerly in the Brooklyn Museum; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art: William Keighley, featuring nearly 4,000 images of European art and architecture, as well as photographs of the Met itself and the Met’s Cloisters museum and gardens. Additionally, in 2007, ARTstor and The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) offering scholars high-resolution images for publication free of charge; the Museum currently makes almost 13,000 images available through the program.

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February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Snake!

Kitagawa Utamaro | Rat Snake with Dayflower Plant | January 1788 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Kitagawa Utamaro | Rat Snake with Dayflower Plant | January 1788 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Happy Lunar New Year! The Chinese Year of the Snake begins February 10, 2013 and lasts through January 30, 2014.

The traditional Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements; the year begins with the night of the first new moon of the lunar New Year and ends on the 15th day. The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle that relates each year to an animal and its attributes. People born under the snake sign are considered wise, thoughtful, and calculating (although the negative connotations of the snake also present some problems, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal).

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November 15, 2012

On this day: The stock ticker is introduced

Byron Company | Bar Cafe Savarin | 1901 | Museum of the City of New York, www.mcny.org

On November 15, 1867, the stock ticker was introduced in New York City. Inventor Edward Calahan rebuilt a telegraph machine to print stock information, revolutionizing the speed at which transaction prices and volume information were transmitted. Before that, quotes from the New York Stock Exchange were typically relayed to main telegraph offices, transcribed, and then delivered by messengers. The ticker got its name from the sound the device made as it printed information on a strip of paper.

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November 6, 2012

Are you voting today?

Jacob A. Riis | The First Patriotic Election in The Beach Street Industrial School – parlor in John Ericsson’s old house. | ca. 1890 | Museum of the City of New York

Voters across the United States are heading to the polls today to vote in the Presidential Election. Not sure where you need to go? You can look it up here.

This 19th-century photograph by Jacob Riis of children casting ballots on the issue of saluting the American flag comes to us from our partners at the Museum of the City of New York.

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July 20, 2012

On this day: Man lands on the Moon

John Adams Whipple | The Moon, 1857 – 1860 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The first manned mission to land on the Moon touched down on July 20, 1969. Upon arrival, Commander Neil A. Armstrong famously reported, “The Eagle has landed.” The next day he would be the first human to walk upon the Moon’s surface, the capstone of mankind’s fascination with the satellite.

Enjoy this slide show featuring an early photograph of the Moon, Caspar David Friedrich’s Romanticist landscape, a Nepalese mandala of Chandra, god of the Moon, all courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Yamamoto Baiitsu’s painting of the Moon and waves from the Philadelphia Museum of Art Collection; and an Iranian manuscript illumination featuring the angel Israfil holding the Moon from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Angel Israfil Holding the Moon, two manuscript leaves of Qazvini's Ajaibal Mahhluqat, 16th century | Iran | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | Image and data from: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
John Adams Whipple | The Moon, 1857 – 1860 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Yamamoto Baiitsu | Waves and Moon, Early 19th century | Philadelphia Museum of Art | Image and data from: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Mandala of Chandra, God of the Moon, late 14th-early 15th century | Nepal |The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Caspar David Friedrich | Two Men Contemplating the Moon, ca. 1830 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Want to see more? Do an advanced search in the Artstor Digital Library for Moon in the Title field to find more than 1,000 results in many media from ancient times to the present. Be sure not to miss Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s irreverent painting, too racy for the Artstor Blog!

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July 19, 2012

Edgar Degas, secret sculptor

Edgar Degas | Arabesque over the right leg, left arm in line, 1882-1895 | yellow-brown wax | Photograph by Gauthier| Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com

Edgar Degas is primarily known for his painting, having exhibited only one sculpture during his lifetime: The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, shown in the sixth Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1881. It was not until after his death in 1917 that more than 150 pieces of sculpture of dancers, horses, and nudes, mostly made of wax, clay, and plastiline (a type of modeling clay), were discovered in his studio (read the intriguing story of the posthumous castings on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website).

Edgar Degas | Horse galloping on right foot, 1865-1881| brown wax; pieces of cork in the base | Photographer: Hervé Lewandowski | Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Edgar Degas | Dressed dancer at rest, hands behind her back, right leg forward, 1896-1911 | brown wax | Photograph by Gauthier| Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Edgar Degas | Arabesque over the right leg, left arm in line, 1882-1895 | yellow-brown wax | Photograph by Gauthier| Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Edgar Degas | Woman washing her left leg, 1896-1911 | yellow and red wax; the 'basin' is a small pot of green porcelain | Photograph by Gauthier | Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Edgar Degas | Dancer putting on her stocking, 1896-1911 | brown wax, pieces of wire wound around the lifted foot | Photograph by Gauthier | Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Edgar Degas | Grande arabesque, first time, 1882-1895 | green wax | Photograph by Gauthier | Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com

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June 17, 2012

Ingres vs Delacroix: An artistic rivalry spills over at a party

Left: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres | Self Portrait, 1858 | Galleria degli Uffizi Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y. Right: Eugène Delacroix | Self-Portrait, c. 1837 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com

The rivalry between Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Eugene Delacroix, the two titans of 19th century French painting, is often seen as embodying the conflict between the era’s tradition-based neoclassicism and non-conformist Romanticism. Writing for the journal Art History, Andrew Carrington Shelton quotes an article from 1832 by an anonymous critic as the first time the dispute was presented:

It’s the battle between antique and modern genius. M. Ingres belongs in many respects to the heroic age of the Greeks; he is perhaps more of a sculptor than a painter; he occupies himself exclusively with line and form, purposefully neglecting animation and colour […] M. Delacroix, in contrast, willfully sacrifices the rigours of drawing to the demands of the drama he depicts; his manner, less chaste and reserved, more ardent and animated, emphasizes the brilliance of colour over the purity of line.

The antagonism seems to have extended into the personal. In 1883, the New York Times featured a surprisingly gossipy account of a party in which the two stars had a confrontation. The famously testy Ingres doesn’t come across too well in the exchange:

After dinner, holding in his hand a cupful of coffee, he brusquely went up to Eugene Delacroix, who was standing by the fire, and said to him: “Drawing, sir, drawing is honesty! Drawing, sir, drawing is honor!” In his agitation the cup of coffee capsized and poured over his shirt and waistcoat. He seized his hat in a fury… “This is too much! I shall go; I will not let myself be insulted any longer.”

After Ingres left, Delacroix showed admirable restraint, speaking of the qualities that made lngres an eminent painter, adding: “Talent is apt to be exclusive: narrowness is often the condition of its existence.”

Left: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres | Self Portrait, 1858 | Galleria degli Uffizi Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y. Right: Eugène Delacroix | Self-Portrait, c. 1837 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com
Eugène Delacroix | Saint George Fighting the Dragon (Perseus Delivering Andromeda; Saint Georges Combattant le Dragon; Persee Delivrant Andromede), 1847 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com
Eugène Delacroix | Saint George Fighting the Dragon (Perseus Delivering Andromeda; Saint Georges Combattant le Dragon; Persee Delivrant Andromede), 1847 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres | Roger and Angelica, 1819 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com
Eugène Delacroix | Odalisque, c. 1848-1849 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y. artres.com
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres | The Grand Odalisque, 1814 | Musée du Louvre | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com

For this slide show, we searched the Artstor Digital Library for some images that highlighted the formal differences between the two artists. Among the hundreds of choices, we chose these examples from the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, the Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives, and the Scala Archives. From viewing the artworks alone, could you have predicted which of these two artists would be more likely to get so agitated at a party that he would spill coffee on himself?

–  Giovanni Garcia-Fenech

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