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June 10, 2013

Announcing the winners of the ARTstor Travel Award 2013!

Ordered by Shapur I | Dam and Bridge at Shushtar; c. 260 | Shushtar, Iran | Islamic Art and Architecture Collection (Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Walter Denny)

Ordered by Shapur I | Dam and Bridge at Shushtar; c. 260 | Shushtar, Iran | Islamic Art and Architecture Collection (Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Walter Denny)

Congratulations to the five winners of this year’s ARTstor Travel Awards! They will each receive $1,500 to be used for their teaching and research travel needs over the course of the next year. The winning essays and accompanying images will be posted in the blog in the near future.

Our thanks to everyone who submitted an essay. Our committee was very impressed by the creative ways that our users integrate the images in the ARTstor Digital Library into their teaching and research. We hope to feature notable submissions from runners up in the blog throughout the year.

The ARTstor Travel Awards 2013 winning essays are:

Peyvand Firouzeh, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
Shushtar: A Town to Tame Water

The aridity of the Middle East stands in contrast to the 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). Firouzeh focuses on Shushtar, a town in southwest Iran, by looking at the ways its inhabitants applied to tame water, making the nearby river not only a resource for the essentials, but also an amenity for leisure.

Lisa Hartley, Student Services Associate, Columbus College of Art Design
Wrapped Up in Lace: Chantilly

Coco Chanel called lace “one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature,” and Hartley introduces us to Chantilly, the tiny town in France where the craft originated. The traditions and skills used there date back as early as the 16th century, when European nobility commissioned workers to create dresses, parasols, shawls, and gloves in beautiful openwork fabric.

Anne C. Leader, Art History Professor, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta
Florence: City of the Living, City of the Dead

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. Leader’s essay 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.

Marlene Nakagawa, Undergraduate student at the University of Oregon
Alexandria: The City

From Pakistan to Turkey, Alexander the Great founded or renamed nearly twenty cities after himself as a representation of his omnipresence in the ancient world. Over the centuries, most of these Alexandrian cities have been destroyed, renamed, or absorbed into other territories. Nakagawa introduces to the major exception: Alexandria, Egypt’s largest seaport, which continues to be a dynamic force in the country’s ancient and modern economy.

Amber N. Wiley, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture, Tulane University
Washington’s Secret City: Cultural Capital

African Americans made up from a quarter to a third of Washington, D.C.’s population throughout the nineteenth century, and historian Constance Green characterized the capital in the early 1900s as the “undisputed center of American Negro civilization.” This population peaked between 1960 and 1990. Wiley’s submission tells the story of African Americans in Washington and their significant contribution to the nation’s capital since its founding in 1790.

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February 28, 2013

A Woman’s Work

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

As a feminist, I often wonder how to approach events like Women’s History Month. Is it a celebration? A time for reflection? This year, I thought I’d meditate on an issue that has been popping up everywhere, from The Atlantic to the Academy Awards. 2012 saw a series of publications on women’s shifting role in the workplace, including Anne Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed essay, “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” Not to mention that, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post, the American workplace continues to be “really, really sexist.” In more specific terms, women still only earn $.77 to every dollar a man makes, and we make up only 4% of the S&P 500’s CEOs. 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s monumental book, The Feminine Mystique, which challenged notions of women’s work in the 1960s. What better time to think about how we define a woman’s work, across generations and cultures?

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January 29, 2013

Black History Month and Artstor

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro, panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This year, we mark Black History month with a summary of some of the excellent resources available in the Artstor Digital Library that focus on the lives and many achievements of African Americans.

Collections

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Panos Pictures The independent photo agency specializes in documentary images of critical social issues, including thousands of images from the United States, many of them tackling issues affecting the lives of African Americans.

Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs Rogovin began his first photographic series in 1958 documenting African-American store front churches in Buffalo, NY, and would go on to record many other topics surrounding the black community.

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery (Scripps College) The Gallery includes the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection, which has a special focus on art by women and African-Americans, including Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Faith Ringgold, and Alison Saar.

Romare Bearden Foundation Artstor includes nearly 1,000 images of Bearden’s work. These works represent the breadth of Bearden’s enormous output, from his early paintings executed in a range of styles to his pioneering collage work, which highlights his unique combination of painting and collage materials drawn from popular sources. Throughout, Bearden’s art displays his deep engagement with the African American community and the Civil Rights movement.

Mott-Warsh Collection With over 200 images of work by artists of the African Diaspora focusing on art produced after 1940, the Mott-Warsh Collection contains work by more than 125 artists working in a range of styles and media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, mixed-media, and sculpture. The Collection includes major figures and underrepresented artists alike, such as Jacob Lawrence, Ron Adams, Faith Ringgold, Richard Yarde, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Howardena Pindell, and Whitfield Lovell.

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June 18, 2012

Teaching with Artstor: Enhancing Children’s Literature with Artstor Images

Jacob Lawrence | The migration gained in momentum, 1940-41| Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art | © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Margaret Teillon
Volunteer educator
Wachovia Education Resource Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art

From a very early age children love to read, be read to, and look at pictures in books. Recognizing the joy children bring to picture books, I have developed teaching materials using selected children’s literature combined with Artstor images. My goal is to enhance literacy instruction and provide an interdisciplinary method of teaching social studies, language arts, and art appreciation. For the youngest students, I have enhanced books such as Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; and for elementary students have developed images for Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Included in each enhanced book is an OIV presentation and image palette with accompanying quotes from the text, and Web links to additional creative lessons. Teachers and homeschool educators have borrowed these materials for their own students.

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January 26, 2012

Artstor Is… Black History

Black History Month is observed every February in the United States and Canada. What better time to remind our readers of the many excellent resources on the topic available in the Artstor Digital Library?

Jacob Lawrence, American, 1917-2000 | In the North the Negro had better educational facilities | The Museum of Modern Art | © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Black history:

Image of the Black in Western Art A systematic investigation of how people of African descent have been perceived and represented in Western art spanning nearly 5,000 years.

Magnum Photos: Contemporary Photojournalism Some of the most celebrated and recognizable photographs of the 20th century and contemporary life, documenting an astounding range of subjects, including hundreds of major figures and events in contemporary black history.

Eugene James Martin Vibrant abstract works by African American artist Eugene James Martin, including paintings on canvas, mixed media collages, and pencil and pen and ink drawings.

The Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection Professional and amateur photographs documenting the full spectrum of activities and experiences of American women in the 19th and 20th centuries, including a significant amount of portraits of African American women.

Smithsonian American Art Museum Works of art spanning over 300 years of American art history, including selections from a collection of more than 2,000 works by African American artists.

Jacob Lawrence | In the North the Negro had better educational facilities; The Migration of the Negro panel no. 58, 1940-41 | The Museum of Modern Art | © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Johannes Segogela, Apartheid's Funeral, Sculpture, 1994. Fowler Museum (University of California, Los Angeles)
James Conlon, Photographer | Dogon Dance of the masks (2008) | Sangha (Dogon Region), Mali
Bruce Davidson | Gordon Parks, 1970 | Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos | ©Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos
Unknown Artist | Frederick Douglass, ca. 1855 | Image and Data from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Eugene James Martin | Untitled, 1980 | Image and original data provided by Suzanne Fredericq | © 2008 Estate of Eugene James Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

African art and culture:

Richard F. Brush Art Gallery (St. Lawrence University) West African textiles from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Cape Verde.

Herbert Cole: African Art, Architecture, and Culture (University of California, Santa Barbara) Field photography of African art, architecture, sites, and culture from Nigeria, Ghana, the Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Kenya, as well as photographs of African objects in private collections around the world.

James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture Images of sites and architecture in Djenné, Mopti, Bamako, Segou, and the Dogon Region in Mali.

Fowler Museum (University of California, Los Angeles) The arts of many African nations, including Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The museum also has significant holdings of African diaspora arts from Brazil, Haiti, and Suriname.

Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University Images of African art, such as textiles, costumes, basket and beadwork, weapons, tools, and ritual objects.

Christopher Roy: African Art and Field Photography Images of West African art and culture, including ceremonial objects and documentation of their social context, use, and manufacture from the rural villages and towns of the Bobo, Bwa, Fulani, Lobi, Mossi, and Nuna peoples in West Africa—primarily in Burkina Faso, but also in Ghana, Nigeria, and Niger.

Thomas K. Seligman: Photographs of Liberia, New Guinea, Melanesia, and the Tuareg people Images of the Tuareg people, a nomadic people of the Sahara who live in countries such as Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, as well as photographs of sites and people in Liberia, New Guinea, and Melanesia.

James Conlon, Photographer | Dogon Dance of the masks (2008) | Sangha (Dogon Region), Mali

For more teaching ideas, visit the Digital Library and click on “Teaching Resources,” where you can search for image groups that include Art History Topic: African Art and Interdisciplinary Topics: African and African-American Studies, as well as a case study, “Sweet Fortunes: Sugar, Race, Art and Patronage in the Americas” by Katherine E. Manthorne, The City University of New York. Also, visit Artstor’s Subject Guides page to download a guide to African and African-American Studies in Artstor.

New: Artstor and Black History Month, featuring additional resources!

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January 13, 2012

On this day: Artstor celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Selma, Alabama March, 1965 | Photograph by Bruce Davidson, image and original data provided by Magnum Photos | ©Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pivotal figure in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Among his many achievements, King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses; planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of African-Americans as voters; and directed the 1963 march on Washington of 250,000 people, to whom he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calling for racial equality and an end to discrimination.

King was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and the following year he became the youngest person (at the age of thirty-five) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through nonviolent means. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee as he readied to lead a protest march in sympathy with the city’s striking garbage workers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near King’s birthday, January 15.

A search for Martin Luther King leads to hundreds of images in the Artstor Digital Library, most notably dozens of photographs of King from Magnum Photos, including marches and speeches in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and Washington, DC. You will also find images of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington from the Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design, and Public Art (ART on FILE Collection).

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July 5, 2011

Artstor Is… American Studies

We welcome our United States users back to their desks after the Independence Day holiday weekend with a pointer: The Digital Library provides thousands of images related to American Studies ranging from colonial times to the present, including photography, architecture, decorative arts, graphic design, painting, and sculpture.

The Forbes Co. | Buffalo Bill: Cowboys Ride Texas Longhorn | The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: Circus Collection

The Artstor Digital Library is rich with collections that cover general American history. Notable ones include: Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress): pictorial overview of American history, including images of prints, posters, maps, manuscript pages, photographs, design, movie stills, and cartoons; Native American Art and Culture (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution): historic photographs documenting Native American subjects (portraits, scenes, etc.);  Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection (Harvard University): portraits of women’s work, key participants in the women’s suffrage movement and larger women’s rights movement, as well as women involved in organized labor and vocational training; Richard F. Brush Art Gallery (St. Lawrence University): photographs documenting the Vietnam War and protests and demonstrations it engendered in the United States; George Eastman House: early photographs of the American West by William Henry Jackson and Carleton Watkins, and portraits by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, widely considered the first masters of photography in the United States; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: Circus Collection: images documenting the history of the circus in America; Historic American Sheet Music Covers (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): sheet music covers in this collection date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (1898-1923); The Rogovin Collection: social documentary photography of the poor and working class, and his depictions of their lives, communities, and working conditions; Century Magazine Illustrations of the American Civil War (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): images depicting Civil War battle scenes and camp life, as well as details of weapons and uniforms; and Tenniel Civil War Cartoon Collection (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): John Tenniel’s full-page cartoons of the American Civil War in British humor magazine Punch.

Andy Warhol | Andy Warhol | The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Collection | © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

The Digital Library also offers many resources on American art and architecture. Among the highlights: Carnegie Arts of the United States: history of American art, architecture, visual and material culture; Ralph Lieberman: Architectural Photography: architecture and public sculpture in the United States, particularly museum architecture in the Midwest and New England; Dov Friedman: American and European Architecture: historic and contemporary architecture in the United States; Community Murals (Timothy Drescher): contemporary community murals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.; Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (Library of Congress): a systematic record of early buildings and gardens in the American South; and Terra Foundation for American Art: art of the colonial era through 1945.

Christopher Anderson | Barack Obama at a rally, 2008 | Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos | © Christopher Anderson / Magnum Photos

Also of note, Magnum Photos features iconic photographs documenting the history and culture of the United States from the 1940s to the present. Cornell Capa covered major political events, such as the electoral campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Following Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, Paul Fusco captured fleeting images of the thousands of mourners who lined the tracks as Kennedy’s body was carried by funeral train from New York to Washington, DC. Throughout the 1960s, Magnum photographers chronicled the struggles of African-Americans to achieve racial equality, photographing demonstrations, protests, marches, and speeches by prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, especially Martin Luther King, Jr. The Magnum collection includes images of current events in the United States, from on-the-ground photographs of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005, to Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

Find hundreds of thousands of further American images by choosing Browse > Geography > United States. Choose a Classification to narrow your results.

For teaching ideas, see our Sample Topic on American Studies. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download Artstor’s Subject Guides.

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June 17, 2011

Artstor Is… Architecture

State Capitol, Montgomery, AL. Photographer: Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1939. Image and original data from Library of Congress, Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South Collection

Artstor just launched the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (Library of Congress), architectural photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston’s systematic record of early American buildings and gardens in the South. Johnston’s masterly portrayals of the exteriors and interiors of houses, mills, churches, mansions, plantations, and outbuildings transcend their purpose as records, and her prints have been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among other institutions. Johnston was a pioneer photographer—she was given her first camera by George Eastman, the inventor of roll film—and she continued to work at her craft until her death in New Orleans at the age of 88. She was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings.

The Carnegie Survey is the latest of the many excellent resources available for architectural studies in the Digital Library, which features more than 50 collections and 300,000 images documenting architecture and the built environment, including monuments, buildings, drawings, models, plans, and QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas.

TWA Terminal (Trans World Airlines Terminal), exterior, entrance from the north. Eero Saarinen and Associates, with Kevin Roche, Cesar Pelli, Edward Saad, and Norman Pettula, architects. Photographer: Ezra Stoller, 1962. Ezra Stoller © Esto

Highlights include: The Museum of Modern Art: Architecture and Design, which features architectural drawings, models, and photographs; SAHARA (Society of Architectural Historians Architecture Resources Archive), images of architecture, landscape design, and the built environment; Ezra Stoller: Modern Architecture (Esto), modern architecture from the archive of the celebrated architectural photographer; Architecture of Venice (Sarah Quill), Venetian architecture and architectural sculpture; Hal Box and Logan Wagner: Mexican Architecture and Urban Design (University of Texas at Austin), architecture and outdoor communal spaces in Mexico; Carnegie Survey of Architecture of the South (Library of Congress), a systematic record of early buildings and gardens in the American South; Brian Davis: Architecture in Britain, British and European architectural and garden sites from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century; European Architecture and Sculpture (Sara N. James), Italian and English architecture, with an emphasis on sites in England; Dov Friedman: American and European Architecture, historic architecture of New York City, as well as sites in Central and Eastern Europe; Hartill Archive of Architecture and Allied Arts, the architectural history of the Western world from antiquity through the present, and from the Middle East to the Americas; Historic Campus Architecture Project (Council of Independent Colleges), the first national architecture and landscape database of independent college and university campuses; Historic Illustrations of Art & Architecture (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), engravings, line drawings, and plans; Christopher Long: Central European Architecture (University of Texas at Austin), sites in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland; Wilfried Wang: Modern Architecture (University of Texas at Austin), modern European and American architecture, with a special focus on museum architecture.

Tomb Complex of Muhammad Adil Shah, 1656 Bijapur, Karnataka, India. Photographer: Alka Patel, 2008. © 2008 Alka Patel.

The collections in the Digital Library also include several devoted to non-Western architecture. Among the most notable are Islamic Art and Architecture Collection (Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Walter Denny), architecture of the Islamic world; Alka Patel: South Asian and Cuban Art and Architecture, fieldwork photography focusing on the Islamic architectural history of South Asia from 12th to the 18th centuries, and Cuban architecture of the 18th through early 20th centuries; Mellon International Dunhuang Archive, Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China; Sites and Photos, archaeological and architectural sites in the Middle East and Europe; American Institute of Indian Studies, Indian art and architecture; Art, Archaeology, and Architecture (Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives), art and architecture in Asia and the Middle East; Herbert Cole: African Art, Architecture, and Culture (University of California, Santa Barbara), field photography of African architecture and sites from Nigeria, Ghana, the Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Kenya; and James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture, earthen architecture and other traditions that link the two distant countries.

Arons & Gelauff; Animal Shelter; curving wall leads to courtyard and entry or receiving area, 2007, Ookmeerweg 270, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Image and original data provided by ART on FILE.

In addition to its many collections, Artstor collaborates with professional photographers documenting a wide range of architectural sites and monuments around the world. Colleen Chartier and Rob Wilkinson of ART on FILE document contemporary architecture, built environment projects, and landscape architecture throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East in ART on FILE: Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design and Public Art; Susan Silberberg-Peirce of Canyonlights World Art Image Bank photographed prehistoric and Native American sites in the Southwestern United States and Spanish Colonial missions, available in California Art, Archaeology, and Architecture (Canyonlights World Art Image Bank); art historian and photographer Ralph Lieberman is producing new images of contemporary museum architecture throughout the United States and Canada in Ralph Lieberman: Architectural Photography; and Columbia University has created thousands of QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas of ancient to contemporary architecture that can be seen in QTVR Panoramas of World Architecture (Columbia University).

Buqshan family villa, stairway between structures; Wadi Du’an, Yemen. Photographer: James Conlon, 2008. For commercial use or publication, please contact: Caleb Smith, Director, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University

Furthermore, with the support of a three-year National Leadership grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Artstor, and The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University are collaborating on the creation of a Built Works Registry (BWR), a community-generated data resource for architectural works and the built environment. The BWR’s goal is to create the system and tools to enable the gathering and widespread dissemination of a large and growing body of built works information. Some ideas about the challenges and benefits of creating the BWR can be found in Aaron Straup Cope and Christine Kuan’s paper, “Imagining the Built Works Registry.” See Built Works Registry Blog.

For teaching ideas, see our Sample Topic on Architecture and the Built Environment. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download Artstor’s Subject Guides.

Have other suggestions for new architecture collections? Leave us a comment!

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May 16, 2011

A Shakespeare Gallery

Julia Reinhard Lupton

Professor of English and Comparative Literature, The University of California, Irvine

With its extraordinary image collection and sensitive search functions, Artstor has changed the way I teach Shakespeare. Images of the Globe Theater and panoramic maps of Elizabethan London set the stage for our engagement with the plays. When teaching The Merchant of Venice and Othello, I use paintings by Venetian artists to introduce students to this city of canals, carnival, and liturgical spectacle. Ignazio Danti’s full-color map provides an aerial view of the city in Shakespeare’s century. Veronese’s Wedding at Cana puts the cosmopolitan world of sixteenth-century Venice on extravagant display, with an African cup-bearer, turbaned Turks and Moors, court musicians, fantastical wedding costumes, and a stage-like setting. Gentile Bellini’s Procession in Piazza San Marco graphs the political and theological axes of public pageantry in Renaissance Venice. A thoughtful illumination of a man and woman dressed for carnival gives further insight into the Venetian theater of life. Jacob de Barbari’s woodcut map of Venice provides a detail of the Jewish ghetto, which I supplement with photographs of the ghetto today. Images of Epiphany kings represent noble Africans as members of a Pauline community, a theme tapped by Shakespeare in Othello.

Sandro Botticelli, The Third Episode of the Story of Nastagio degli Onesti, 1483. (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Sandro Botticelli, The Third Episode of the Story of Nastagio degli Onesti, 1483. (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence / ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Jacopo del Sellaio, Banquet of Ahasuerus, c. 1490. Galleria degli Uffizi .(c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Jacopo del Sellaio, Banquet of Ahasuerus, c. 1490. Galleria degli Uffizi .(c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Venice: Map of City, 16th C
Venice: Map of City, 16th C
Globe Theatre (Southwark, London, England), Ref.: development 1580-90(i): possible intermediate steps in the early development of English theaters
Globe Theatre (Southwark, London, England), Ref.: development 1580-90(i): possible intermediate steps in the early development of English theaters
Paolo Veronese, Marriage at Cana; detail, 1563. Musée du Louvre. Photo Credit: Erich Lessing/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Paolo Veronese, Marriage at Cana; detail, 1563. Musée du Louvre. Photo Credit: Erich Lessing/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

When I teach A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winter’s Tale, I develop the extensive analogies between the metamorphic, seasonal, and amatory mythologies of Shakespeare’s plays and Botticelli’s Primavera. All three works display the glorious weave of holiday celebration, natural history, mythography, and courtship narratives in the Renaissance society of festival. I supplement Botticelli with examples of medieval and Renaissance calendar art. We also discuss the cassone tradition (marriage chests painted with mythological scenes) and their relevance to both the artistic output of Botticelli and the ways in which humanists and artisans in northern Europe wove classical mythology into the décor of daily life through tapestries, embroideries, and other household objects.

The Taming of the Shrew draws on falconry and animal husbandry discourses, which I introduce to students through medieval falconry guides. I also fill out Shakespeare’s bestiary with images of the hunt and animal social life.

I illuminate Richard II through the Wilton Diptych, a portable votive portrait depicting the coronation of the King by Mary and a host of angels. The painting demonstrates the power of political theology in Richard’s lifetime, tropes that Shakespeare both takes apart and rebuilds over the course of his play.

Banquets figure as settings for key scenes in plays as diverse as Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, and The Taming of the Shrew. At court, Shakespeare’s plays were performed in banqueting houses. Images of Renaissance banquets bring to life the intimate relationship between hospitality, commensality and theater in the Renaissance.

Finally, in addition to these more historical and illustrative uses of visual art, I design backdrops for student readings of scenes from Shakespeare using Artstor images (often updated in Photoshop). By projecting the images against a screen, I can create instant environments for our in-class performances, greatly enhancing student learning and experience.

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Posted in
May 16, 2011

Online teaching and architectural solutions to climate problems in the Islamic world

Colette Apelian
Fine Art faculty, Berkeley City College

As the Islamic art historian in the Art Department of Berkeley City College (BCC), I explain how North African to South Asian art and architecture are relevant to design students less familiar with pre-modern and non-western material cultures. Course logistics add to the challenge. Art 48VR, Introduction to Islamic Art History, is one of the few, if not the only online survey of Islamic art presented to a community college audience. To better address student needs, I organize the class thematically rather than chronologically, and focus upon a carefully chosen combination of fine and utilitarian objects and buildings. Presentations must be compressed so that BCC’s course management system, Moodle, properly stores and displays them. An example of how I use Artstor in Art 48VR can be viewed in one image group for the lecture “Architectural Solutions to Climate Problems in the Islamic World.”

Reed building screen, detail, Morocco. Image: 1982. Image and original data provided by Walter B. Denny
Reed building screen, detail, Morocco. Image: 1982. Image and original data provided by Walter B. Denny
Bagh-e Fin, exterior, through screen of entrance portal, toward court. Image: 1978. Image and original data provided by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom
Bagh-e Fin, exterior, through screen of entrance portal, toward court. Image: 1978. Image and original data provided by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom
Alhambra Palace - (Partal Gardens), Granada, Spain, Main construction 14th century. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos
Alhambra Palace - (Partal Gardens), Granada, Spain, Main construction 14th century. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos
'Alawi Abu Bakr al-Kaf, Dar al-Salam, Exterior, Image: 2005. Tarim, the Hadramaut Valley, Yemen. James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture
'Alawi Abu Bakr al-Kaf, Dar al-Salam, Exterior, Image: 2005. Tarim, the Hadramaut Valley, Yemen. James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture
Alhambra Palace - (Generalife Market Garden),Granada, Spain. Begun in the early 14th century, redecorated in 1313-1324. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos
Alhambra Palace - (Generalife Market Garden),Granada, Spain. Begun in the early 14th century, redecorated in 1313-1324. Image and original data provided by Shmuel Magal, Sites and Photos

In addition to illustrating specific motifs, pictures in the group show technology, materials, and plans that naturally temper hot and dry conditions. There are reed, mud brick, stone, and wooden screens (musharabiyya and jails, among other terms), which are used to mitigate the sun’s glare and heat in North African, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Indian contexts. Screens also allow air to flow freely while preserving privacy and demarcating private and religious spaces from public and secular locales. There is an Iranian badgir (wind tower) at Mir Chaqmaq (1436-37 CE) that, without electricity, circulates fresh and cool air through multi-story structures. An example from the United Arab Emirates indicates how the idea spread. The image group additionally has historic to contemporary mud brick architecture from Egypt and Yemen. Mud brick insulates interiors from excessive heat and cold, uses inexpensive local resources, and can been crafted into a multitude of styles, including quasi-Rococo and neo-Classical in some Yemeni examples. Images of the Alhambra in Spain, Bagh-e Fin in Iran, and the Sahrij Madrassa in Morocco display architects’ and engineers’ use of water channels, pools, and fountains to cool and hydrate. Medieval waterwheels and a recent qanat demonstrate more methods to harness natural power and supply water. In Egypt and Morocco, central courtyard planned structures and narrow urban streets flanked by windowless buildings cool private and public spaces while providing light, seclusion, and ventilation.

Artstor has helped me create digital bridges between students, subject matter, and Moodle in other ways. I have most appreciated the ability to create presentations in OIV 3.1. After organizing and downloading an image group to my laptop, OIV allows me to create a slide show quickly complete with captions and copyright information. The opportunity to choose compression levels means few size problems when uploading to the course website. Artstor’s varied content has also helped me be more efficient. I can find most of the images I need in one location without additional searches, imports, and scans.

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