Wellcome Images: Medical and Social History

Located in London, England, the Wellcome Library is one of the world’s top research facilities for the study of medical history. Their online image collection contains thousands of images with themes ranging from social history to contemporary biomedical science.

Images on the site are freely available for download for research, teaching, or personal use. Browse by Highlights, Illness & Wellness, Life, Culture, Nature, and War. You can also narrow keyword searches to historical or contemporary images, and an advanced option allows searches by date and technique.

If you prefer not to download images but would like to group them for later reference, you can register for a free account. The grouping function in Wellcome’s image library is called “My Lightboxes.”

Whether it’s medicine or magic, the sacred or the profane, science or satire – you’ll find more than you expect.

World Digital Library

The Library of Congress, with the help of UNESCO, recently launched the World Digital Library, an online collection of primary source materials. Contributions have been made by partner institutions in many countries. Content includes, but is not limited to: maps, manuscripts, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and recordings. The site functions in seven different languages and can be browsed by Place, Time, Topic, Type of Item, and Institution. Browsing results within the Arts & Recreation topic, for example, can then be narrowed by place, time, additional topics, item type, or institution.

Objectives of the World Digital Library include:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

Many high-quality images are available for download. Some rare books are also scanned in their entirety and available as PDFs, including this second Augsburg edition of Aesop’s Fables.

Art Videos Online: ArtBabble.org

This week the Indianapolis Museum of Art announced the launch of ArtBabble.org, an interactive website dedicated to art-based video content.

It is intended to showcase video art content in high quality format from a variety of sources and perspectives… ArtBabble was created so others will join in spreading the world of art through video.

Videos are organized by Series (such as “Behind the Scenes at MoMa“), Channels (similar to subject areas, with a large number of videos about Contemporary Art), Artists, and ArtBabble Partners. Videos can even be exported as MP4s for offline play on computers or Ipods — just click on the Ipod icon beneath a selected video to download.

Contributing institutions include Art21, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and The New York Public Library.

Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Interested in film preservation, American cultural heritage, or Texas? Take a look at the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI).

TAMI is an independent 501c3 organization dedicated to the preservation of Texas film heritage. Every year, home movies, television programs, and locally produced films are lost as these visual records of Texas rapidly decompose or are simply thrown away. TAMI works to discover these “orphan” films and to educate the public about moving image history and contemporary preservation practice.

You can search TAMI’s Video Library for your hometown, famous Texans, historical events and more, or click on “Random Film” for a surprise. Contributions from the public are also welcome; if you see someone or something you recognize in a film, become a TAMI Tagger. Some of our favorite films include Paper and I (an educational film from the Texas Forest Service) and Knife Throwing Family, which speaks for itself.

Erin Go Bragh!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we investigated some of the Irish artists in our collection. Images of works by these artists are available through ARTstor, and artist descriptions are borrowed from Oxford Art Online. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Eileen Gray, Irish furniture designer and architect, active in France. In 1898 she entered the Slade School of Art, London, with additional instruction in oriental lacquer technique in D. Charles’s shop in Soho. She moved to Paris in 1902, where she continued her training with the Japanese lacquer master Seizo Sugawara.”

Thomas Deane, Irish architect. He was the founding partner of the firm of Deane & Woodward, the most significant exponent in the 1850s of the architectural precepts of John Ruskin. Also active in local politics, Deane was twice elected High Sheriff, or Mayor, of Cork, in 1815 and 1830, and was knighted for his public service.”

James Barry, Irish painter, draughtsman, printmaker and writer. Barry accepted the challenge of history painting despite a glaring lack of patronage for this kind of art in 18th-century Britain. His conviction that modern art was in decline added to his difficulties in competing with the Old Masters: he was strongly indebted to Italian art, in particular the work of Parmigianino and Annibale Carracci.”

Mark Francis, Irish painter. He studied at St. Martin’s School of Art (1980–85) and Chelsea School of Art (1985–6). Around 1989 his early energetic, abstract landscape style became more overtly abstract. He adopted a dry-brushing technique, comparable to that developed by Gerhard Richter, to produce soft, smooth, ‘photographic’ and seductive surfaces, featuring microscopic imagery.”

James Coleman, Irish Conceptual artist. From the early 1970s Coleman made installations using audio tapes, slides and projected film to investigate social and political themes. His Slide Piece (1973, exh. Paris Biennale, 1973, and London, Tate, 1982) presents a series of identical colour images of a street, with a recorded commentary describing visible features from different subjective viewpoints, so that a dialogue is set up between the sameness of each total image and the different details to which our attention is drawn.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Find inspiration in some works of art depicting love and devotion!

One way to search for these works in ARTstor: subject headings. Here is a short list of the possibilities. Some of our favorite artists and titles from each search are included as well.

Heart in art: Fluttering Hearts, Cover of Cahiers d’Art XI No. 1-2 by Marcel Duchamp; Felt Heart by A.R. Penck

Love: Vow to Love by Jean-Honoré Fragonard; Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Flowers: Flower with Glasses by Mark Grotjahn; Maresias by Beatriz Milhazes

Cupid (Roman deity): Apollo, Cupid and Dancing Putti by Jacopo Palma Giovane; Lady Standing at the Virginal by Jan Vermeer

Kissing: Intimacy by Eugène Carrière; The Kiss by Roy Lichtenstein

Not a fan of Valentine’s Day? You could try these subject headings instead:

LovesicknessYoung Lover and His Servant by a follower of Giorgione; Love Suicides at Sonezaki by Chikamatsu Monzaemon

Despair: Despair by Edvard Munch; Study for ‘Oath of Horatii’ by Jacques-Louis David

Crying: Mask Representing a Female Ancestor by an unknown artist; Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso

But wait! Just because you don’t like Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’re unhappy…

Smiling in art: Face by Okamoto Taro; Kiki with Moss by Takashi Murakami

You can also search for these artists or titles as keywords. Enjoy!

The ABCs of Subject Headings

Staff members of the VRC use subject headings from different thesauri to describe the collection’s images. Subject headings can be combined to create complex and precise searches, gathering together all available resources on a particular topic. Some of the thesauri we use? The Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and, of course, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), just to name a few. We are often surprised by the variety of subject headings available and how frequently we expand our own vocabulary.

Just for fun, we’ve compiled the ABCs of subject headings – a list of our favorites, one for every letter of the alphabet. We have also listed some of our favorite runners-up. Try doing a subject search in ARTstor or LUNA for one of these topics, or click on the links below to see search results from our collection. You might discover something new and surprising, or at the very least, entertaining.

Our Favorites:

Abandoned buildings
Break dancing
Credulity
Diseases in Art
Electronic surveillance
Fingernails
Ghouls and ogres
Headrests
Identity (Philosophical concept) in art
Jugglers
Kissing
Labyrinths in art
Musical instruments – handbells
Newspaper vendors
Older people
Predation (Biology)
Quarreling
Ruins in art
Self-perception
Truck stops
Underwater cinematography
Ventriloquism
Women cleaning personnel
X-rays
Yurts
Zodiac

Runners-up:

Arm Wrestling
Canned meat
Drooling
Elopement
Future in art
Glaciers
Human sacrifice
Infrared photography
Leeches
Moving walkways
Nightmares
Osiers
Staircases
Yawning