The Art Institute of Chicago has an extensive resource called Turning the Pages, which utilizes software developed by the British Museum to present fully digitized book-reader objects of select objects in the AIC’s collection. Images can be also zoomed in to view details. So far, 30 objects from various departments in the AIC’s collection and library have been rendered in this software:
Several of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most unique and important artist sketchbooks, manuscripts and rare printed items are now available online. Viewers may page through or zoom in to look closely at the bound volumes, prints, and handscroll paintings from the Department of Prints and Drawings, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, and the Department of Asian Art.
You’ll need to have Microsoft Silverlight enabled on your computer to use Turning the Pages software. If you don’t have it, it can be downloaded for free here.
For more information, visit the AIC’s Interpretive Resource page for Turning the Pages objects.
Image from Presentation copy of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Le Chef d’oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), 1931.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art recently launched a new collections website that features a faceted search engine that facilitates both browsing and direct searching of the museum’s objects. Most importantly, however, is LACMA’s initiative to release nearly 20,000 high-quality images of art objects from their collection believed to be in the public domain. Users can freely download the images and use them as they see fit.
If you want to see all of the public domain objects for which downloading a high-quality image is possible, run a search on your research term and select “Show only unrestricted images” at the top of the page. Alternatively, if you’d like to all 20,000 objects LACMA has made freely downloadable, run a blank search and select “Show only results with unrestricted images” from the top of the page.
For even more information, we keep our list of Copyright Lenient Images for Academic Publishing up-to-date.
The Public Domain Review (a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation) is a great resource that highlights a variety of digitized public domain resources and curated collections, including images, film, text, and audio. In addition, there are scholarly articles from various humanities disciplines that engage with the digital materials included on the site.
The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.
All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classic works of art, music and literature, to abandoned drafts, tentative plans, and overlooked fragments. In doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction.
We believe the public domain is an invaluable and indispensable good, which – like our natural environment and our physical heritage – deserves to be explicitly recognised, protected and appreciated.
The Public Domain Review aims to help its readers to explore this rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance of an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.
The PDR also has a thorough guide to finding interesting public domain works online. Collaborators include the Internet Archive, Europa, the Library of Congress, the Field Museum, the Boston Public Library, the California Digital Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty, and more.
For more information, visit the Public Domain Review.
The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (IFCA) or Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC has recently expanded the images included in their website dedicated to the photographs of Nicholas V. Artamonoff, who photographed Ottoman monuments and daily life in Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s. Other Turkish cities represented in the collection include Bergama, Bursa, Izmir, Selçuk and Yalova. While the ICFA holds a collection of Artamonoff’s images in their repository, they discovered that other photographs are held in the the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives of the Smithsonian Institution in the Myron Bement Smith Collection. The addition of 477 images from the Smithsonian brings the total number of photographs available in the ICFA’s website to more than 1,000.
The ICFA’s website allows users to browse images individually or by parent institution, historic site, or keywords. There is also a map with plotted points that link to images in the collection to allow users to browse geographically and a “Zoom.it” viewer function.
For more information, visit the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection.
Image: Nicholas V. Artamonoff. Cityscapes, Istanbul, View of the Atatürk Bridge and Süleymaniye Cami, no date. Myron Bement Smith Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Artamonoff P382.
Project CHART has recently launched a website for the Brooklyn Visual Heritage project, which will eventually contain more than 13,000 historic photographs and images from the collections of the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Public Library. The Brooklyn Visual Heritage digital library is hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science collaborated on the project as well.
One of the primary goals for the BVH website is “focusing on the digitization of historic images of Brooklyn and making them easily accessible to a broad and diverse audience.” In addition to searching across institutions or limiting your search to a specific institution, the website also provides access to discrete archival collections and thematic groups. While enlarged images are available for viewing on the website, they all bear a digital watermark (there is an option to purchase images without watermarks). The three-year-long project, nearing the final stages, was developed through an IMLS grant.
For more information, and to explore the collections, visit Brooklyn Visual Heritage.
The Center for the Art of East Asia has recently announced the launch of a new and improved website for the digital handscroll paintings project:
One of the major types of traditional East Asian painting, the handscroll, or horizontal scroll, is meant to be appreciated by unrolling and viewing it section-by-section as a continuous composition. Unfortunately, the temporal and participatory aspects of viewing handscrolls cannot be readily experienced today, as the original paintings are far too valuable and fragile to be handled frequently. When shown in museums, they are always placed in glass cases and are seldom displayed in their entirety. For students and specialists seeking to view them, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain access to these important cultural materials. Beyond the rare opportunities to experience them in person, they are primarily known through static, fragmentary images in slides and as photographs in books. Fortunately, the digital medium has offered the potential for much greater exposure to these works of art, simulating the interactive viewing experience for which they were originally designed. The Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA)at the University of Chicago has teamed with the Visual Resources Center (VRC) and Humanities Research Computing to develop this innovative digital presentation. Initially used as a course website, we are also developing it as a resource for teaching and research at other universities and for museum archiving and exhibition. The digital scrolling paintings website is a multi-functional tool that allows users to move through the scrolls and view elements of the painting in high resolution, with colophons, signatures, and seals of artists and collectors, and also to examine their media, materiality, and techniques of production. This is a means to fuller understanding of a work both in its details and as a composite of its many elements.
Digital technology presents these paintings as continuous scrolling images and offers various kinds of user interfaces such as auto-scrolling, zooming, and comparison. The newly designed website has more paintings accessible for public viewing and enhanced functions for searching, text annotations, and links to related material. We are continuing to add paintings to the public website and partnering with other institutions with a goal to create a more extensive public database of these invaluable works of art. We will include more rare works, Japanese painting, and calligraphy. The project has negotiated agreements to show paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Palace Museum, Beijing, St. Louis Art Museum, and the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago.
To learn more, visit the Digital Scrolling Paintings Project.
A collaborative website—The Story of the Beautiful: Freer, Whistler, and Their Points of Contact—between the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Wayne State University presents a virtual tour of James McNeil Whistler (1834–1903)’s Peacock Room. Users are given the option to visit the room as it existed in London in 1876 or as it appeared after Charles Lang Freer moved the room to Detroit and reassembled it there in 1908. In addition to panning through the 3D interior space of the room, users can click on individual objects for more information as well as supplementary content including maps, timelines, and archival material from the Charles Lang Freer Papers. The team behind the website describes their project:
The site thus functions both as a digital archive and as an immersive virtual environment in which users can explore the room, learn about the objects it has contained, and see how the places and faces associated with the room contributed to its history. Anchored by the two virtual tours, the site offers users a deeply contextualized way to navigate the collections: some 400 digital objects, among them the room itself, the objects it has contained, as well as archival materials such as photographs, bills of sale, and correspondence.
In addition to exploring the Peacock Room virtually, users can browse the obects in the collection and digitized content from the archives separately. For more information, visit the website.
The Royal Academy of Arts has digitized and made freely available their Winter loan exhibition catalogs from the program’s beginning in 1879 to 1939. These exhibitions typically consisted of works by Old Masters or recently deceased British artists and later expanded to include surveys of European and Persian art.
The exhibition catalogs have been made available on the Royal Academy of Art’s collections search page where they can be browsed or searched for terms including artists, titles, and lenders. The catalogs included in this project present essays by several prominent art historians of the early 19th century as well as reproductions of the 3,000 artworks included in the exhibitions. Thumbnail images of artworks have been included with links to the related pages from the institutional repositories where the objects are held, many of which are now held in collections such as the Tate, the National Gallery or Ireland, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Wallace Collection. The Royal Academy has also digitized related installation photographs to provide historical context for the exhibitions.
For more information, visit the Royal Academy of Arts Collections page here or browse the collection here.
The Archigram Group emerged in UK during the early 1960s, and while many of their projects from 1961–74 went unbuilt, they extended a significant international infuence. The Archigram Archival Project is a digital collection of the work by Archigram that is freely available online for viewing and study. Hosted by the University of Westminster, the database contains images and contextual information, linking together alternate versions created for the same project. The website describes the scope of the project:
Almost 10,000 items are included in this archive, including digital versions of drawings, collages, paintings, photographs, magazines, articles, slides and multi-media material, accompanied by original texts by Archigram wherever these are available. Around half of these items belong to the 202 projects currently listed and given project numbers by Dennis Crompton in the Archigram Archives. The rest are supporting and contextual material such as letters, photos, texts and additional projects provided by the depositors.
The AAP focuses on the main Archigram period of 1961-1974, but includes all the projects, both before and after these dates, which have been included in the project list of the Archigram Archives at the time of doing the project. The main omissions from the Archigram Archival Project website are the films, television programmes and audio-visual material which for technical or copyright reasons cannot be included at this stage. Some projects and project material have been lost over the years; both we and Archigram members would welcome approaches from anyone holding material or copies of material which is not included here.
For more information, visit the Archigram Archival Project or the Archigram website.
Via Deep Focus
WorldImages, hosted by California State University, has recently added more than 3,000 images to its database that is free for educational use. The new images include locations and topics such as Easter Island, the German art and architecture of the Nazi party, and Portuguese art and architecture. The images are free to use for educational purposes, and the relevant metadata information has been embedded into the images themselves that that users may download it with the images (opening the images in Adobe Bridge or a similar image management software will allow you to view the data along side the images).
To see their list of newly added images, click here. For more information, explore the rest of the WorldImages collection.