Comprising a website, a traveling exhibition, and book, Qantara is a very rich and interesting resource for studying the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to the 18th century. The website contains over 1500 entries from Western Europe, Byzantium, and Islamic regions that include objects, sites, and monuments. The material can be searched using various intersections such as materials, subjects, or historical period. Each entry has descriptive metadata (size, media, discovery and repository information), a short descriptive essay, and a bibliography.
There are repositories and cultural heritage institutions from nine countries involved in Qantara, and the information has been reviewed by over 200 experts including curators, historians, and researchers.
One of the biggest concerns when using images in projects, papers, and presentations is copyright restrictions. That’s why it’s so exciting to report that the Walters Art Museum has made all their digital images, as well as the accompanying metadata, freely available via a Creative Commons Zero license.
What this means is that anyone can use any image from their website, for any purpose, without permission or fear of violating any copyright restrictions. The digital images are of high quality, easy to search, and simple to download. Those looking for higher-resolution images for publishing are encouraged to contact their photo services department.
The museum is encyclopedic in scope and offers thousands of images of artwork from the ancient world, Asia, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and the Islamic world.
Recently, Chelsea Foxwell, Assistant Professor of Art History and the College, brought a new on-line resource for Japanese art to our attention.
The Mary Griggs Burke Collection, a major new database for Japanese art, along with some Chinese and Korean art, has recently launched. During her lifetime, Mary Griggs Burke had one of the best collections of Japanese art outside of Japan, and her collection has since been donated to several museums.
This website presents the highlights of her collection, with more than 1,000 high-quality photographs and cataloging data displayed online. You can browse the website by collecting area, artist, format, and period or do keyword searches of the collection. Users are able to zoom and pan enlarged images, and you can save a medium quality image by right clicking in the view and selecting “Save Image As.”
This site, along with many others that provide images of art and architecture, can be found on the VRC’s Other Art Resources Online page.
Europeana, the site that hosts millions of digital images from European museums, libraries, and archives, now has a Pinterest page.
As can be seen from the image above, the images have been organized into categories and themes. This makes it much easier to find specific items, like Meissen porcelain or maps, or to search across media for a theme or style, like Art Nouveau or Angels. In addition to creating personal boards to “collect” images that might be useful for research or in a presentation, using Pinterest also allows users to discover other images, since users can be taken back to Europeana’s site, which provides basic metadata with links to other works by specific artists or in a specific style, a link to the owning museum, and a suggestion of “other items you may be interested in.”
StoryMapJS is a free tool created by Northwestern University’s Knightlab, which aimes to make technology that promotes quality storytelling on the Internet. Storymap allows you to highlight locations of a series of events, like this example of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Works of Art. It also uses features like Gigapixel to tag points on an existing images like this example of The Garden of Earthly Delights or SnapMap to instantly create a map through your Instagram feed. Try this open source user friendly tool for plotting your next project!
The VRC is excited to announce its new publicly available LUNA collection, Images of Black Chicago: The Robert Sengstacke Photography Archive. Born in Chicago on May 29, 1943, Robert “Bobby” Sengstacke is one of the city’s most prolific documentary photographers who is best known for capturing the African American experience. Having grown up in the newspaper business (he is the grand-nephew of Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender), Sengstacke was able to learn from established African American photographers at a young age and had unique access to important events and people. With the help of Art History Professor Rebecca Zorach, the VRC has scanned over 3,000 negatives featuring the artistic community and street life of Chicago’s South Side in the late 1960’s. To obtain high resolution images and permission contact Robert A. Sengstacke (firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-744-7487).
The Getty’s online magazine The Getty Iris has launched the series Medieval Manuscripts Alive, which features expert speakers reading the languages of the Middle Ages from centuries-old books. It aims to bring the manuscripts’ accompanying illuminations to life through sound. Each reading is accompanied by a translation into English and a brief description of the relationship between the text and image. In collaboration with the British Library’s Language & Literature audio collection, the Getty’s manuscripts collection will soon be heard in 15 languages, including Coptic, Ge’ez, Arabic and more.
The Museum of Modern Art recently launched Object:Photo, an amazing website focused on the Thomas Walther Collection. Composed of 341 photographs, the Walther Collection entered the museum in 2001. In 2010, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave the museum a substantial grant to research and preserve the photographs. The website is a direct result of this four-year research project. In the words of Glenn D. Lowry, the Museum of Modern Art’s director, the website “is unprecedented in its functionality, providing virtual access to the objects in exceptional depth, along with wide-ranging scholarship on the photographs’ historical context and significance.”
In addition to scans of the photographs themselves, there are scholarly essays, a section on the scientific analysis of the photographs, and most interestingly, a section called “Visualizations,” that presents interactive maps and timelines allowing viewers to easily connect photographers, see where they worked and exhibited, who they interacted with, and even compare photographs by attribute, subject, or style.
The New York Times has recently released a collection of ads from the 1960s and they’re crowdsourcing the data for the images. Eventually, other decades will be released. The project is called Madison and if you’re interested in participating, check out the link here to start tagging! You’ll be asked to find or identify ads on the page, tag ads, or transcribe ads.
Another great digital collection of vintage ads is Duke University’s Ad*Access, which contains more than 7,000 ads from the US and Canada between 1911 and 1955. Their digital collection is fully cataloged, so you won’t have to do any of the legwork yourself! You can browse across many different categories including product, company, publication, date, subject, headline, and audience.
The Robert Frank Collection at the National Gallery of Art is the largest repository of materials related to renowned photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. Spanning Frank’s career from 1937 to 2005, the collection includes vintage and later prints, contact sheets, work prints, negatives, three bound books of original photographs, technical material, and various papers, books, and recordings.
For a complete account of photographs, contact sheets, and work prints in the collection, see Robert Frank photographs, contact sheets, and work prints in the collection. The spreadsheet lists subjects photographed by Frank, in chronological order, along with the corresponding number of photographs, contact sheets, and work prints in the collection and the accession number of each object.