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Archive for the 'Subject Areas' Category

CT Scan of Medieval Manuscript

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Recently, the British Library did a CT Scan of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, one of the oldest European manuscripts, dating to the 8th Century. An explanation of the process of scanning the manuscript can be found on the British Library’s website. Once the manuscript was scanned, along with a facsimile used for comparison, the data was processed in a program called “Drishti,” which allows for exploring and visualizing vast amount of data (above).

From the scans, researchers discovered that the central motif on the binding was made using a clay-like material, rather than gesso or cord as had previously been thought.

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The entire manuscript has been digitized and is available on the British Library’s website here.

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New Module in Archivision Collection


The Visual Resources Center is very pleased to offer over 6,000 new images of architecture and outdoor sculpture loaded overnight to the Archivision Collection. Archivision is a subscription-based collection of almost 78,000 high-resolution, high-quality images of architecture, urban design, gardens, and outdoor sculpture from around the world and all time periods. The collection is curated by Scott Gilchrist, a trained architect and professional photographer.

The latest upload, Module 10, contains a wealth of images of architecture in the United States, including modern and contemporary works in California and the desert southwest. There is also early Modernist buildings from the Netherlands, important buildings in India, campuses of both the Cranbrook Academy and Yale University, topographic views of many US cities, and even images from Yellowstone National Park.

All images are cleared for educational use and publication rights may be obtained at

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Chicago Architecture Biennial


This weekend marks the opening of the 3 month long Chicago Architecture Biennial. With a mission of creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism, the Biennial “seeks to convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architecture to contemporary society.” The calendar is overflowing with events, including free tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s S.C. Johnson Wax headquarters and the UChicago campus, as well as the opening of the Stony Island Arts Bank, all happening this weekend.


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The Mary Griggs Burke Collection Online

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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.

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Medieval Manuscripts Alive

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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.

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Mackintosh Architecture: Context, Making, and Meaning


Recently, the University of Glasgow announced the launch of a new website cataloging all known architectural projects of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish architect, designer, and painter.  Additionally, “the site also provides entries for projects by the practice, John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh during the Mackintosh years 1889–1913; images and data from the office record books; a catalogue raisonné of over 1200 drawings by Mackintosh and the practice; analytical and contextual essays; biographies of over 400 clients, colleagues, contractors and suppliers; timeline; glossary; and bibliography.”

For anyone doing research on Mackintosh, this site is a treasure trove of digitized archival documents, photographs, and even job books kept by the firm founded by Honeyman. There are also essays on Mackintosh, an interactive map related to his work, a glossary, and very thorough bibliography.

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Record Sales at Christie’s


Christie’s Auction House brought in the highest total for an auction in history last night, grossing $852.9 million at the contemporary sale in New York.  New records were also set for 11 artists, among them Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig, Martin Klippenberger, and Seth Price. The stars of the night were Andy Warhol’s Triple Elvis [Ferus Type](1960) and Four Marlons (1966), which sold early going for $81.9 million and $69.6 million, respectively.  “By the time the second figure was reached, the crowd—whether reeling from the action or no longer capable of being surprised or just no longer impressed by anything under $80 million—forgot to clap,” says Dan Duray from ArtNews. Although the prior nights’ Sotheby’s sale was a disappointment bringing in only $343.6 million, the two weeks of sales at both auction houses took in a total of some $2 billion, comforting many that the art market is alive and kicking.

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Open House Chicago This Weekend, October 18-19


Don’t miss the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s fourth annual Open House Chicago, a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to 150 buildings across Chicago. Explore repurposed mansions, hidden rooms, sacred spaces, private clubs, iconic theaters, hotels and more.  Highlights include an airstream trailer on top of a roof between the Montrose and Damen Brown Line stations, a meticulously restored Frank Lloyd Wright home in Rogers Park, and a former meatpacking warehouse turned vertical urban farm.

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Simpson Islamic Manuscript Record Archive Online at University of Michigan


The Visual Resources Collections at the University of Michigan just announced that the Simpson Islamic Manuscript Record Archive is available online. They write, “Dr. Simpson served as Curator of Islamic Near Eastern Art at the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic Art at the Walters Art Museum, and Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan (2005).”

The website for the Simpson Islamic Manuscript Record Archive contains more than 500 documentation records and approximately 4,800 images (in a variety of media including prints, color slides, digital images, and microfilm). The Simpson Archive “is organized by repository name and manuscript accession number or shelf mark (for example, “British Library Add. 7622”)” and each record contains robust cataloging information about the manuscript.

This collection is related to the Islamic Art Archives at the University of Michigan, which has more than 900 digitized manuscripts available in HathiTrust.


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e-Museum of Japan


Looking for images of works of art in the National Museums of Japan? This e-Museum collection of “National Treasures & Important Cultural Properties” contains hundreds of high quality reproductions, robust metadata, and descriptive content. Users can zoom and and pan through images, browse by categories including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, textiles, ceramics, and more. The site features a keyword and an advanced search.

In addition, iPhone and Android apps exist for the e-Museum collection.

For more information, explore the e-Museum of Japan!

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