For years Rembrandt’s paintings have been the subject of many exhibitions and publications and a specific focus of technical research, which has produced an extensive and wide-ranging body of information and documentation. This material is preserved in various museums, research institutes, archives and laboratories around the world. The documentation is generally difficult to access, still unavailable in digital form, and not yet organized as a coherent and interrelated body of material.
The Rembrandt Database is a sustainable repository of existing information and documentation that is made available in a technologically advanced way. This service does not aim to replace the study of original objects or consultation among colleagues, but rather to speed up and facilitate research.
For more information and to explore the database, view the website.
The Gallery of Lost Art is an online exhibition that tells the stories of artworks that have disappeared. Destroyed, stolen, discarded, rejected, erased, ephemeral—some of the most significant artworks of the last 100 years have been lost and can no longer be seen.
This virtual year-long exhibition explores the sometimes extraordinary and sometimes banal circumstances behind the loss of major works of art. Archival images, films, interviews, blogs and essays are laid out for visitors to examine, relating to the loss of works by over 40 artists across the twentieth century, including such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro, Willem de Kooning, Rachel Whiteread and Tracey Emin.
Jennifer Mundy, curator of The Gallery of Lost Art, says: “Art history tends to be the history of what has survived. But loss has shaped our sense of art’s history in ways that we are often not aware of. Museums normally tell stories through the objects they have in their collections. But this exhibition focuses on significant works that cannot be seen.”
The virtual exhibition launched on July 2, 2012, and will be available online for only one year before it too is “lost.” A new artwork will be added each week for 6 months.
An important photography archive at the New York Public Library has recently been re-discovered, partially digitized, and cataloged. The archive includes over 41,000 prints from Farm Security Administration photographers, which were collected and sent to the NYPL by FSA founder Roy Stryker. It includes some prints previously unknown, and many that are not included in the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph Collection.
The New York Public Library has not only digitized more than 1,000 images that do not appear in the Library of Congress online catalog, it has also made them available today on a special NYPL site. It also has another site containing the records — but no images — for all 41,000 FSA photos in their collection.
Via the Lens blog at the New York Times.
The Netherlands Institute in Turkey has recently released the first installment of digital images from the vast photographic archives of Dutch historian Machiel Kiel.
A former director of the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT), at which this project is now implemented, Kiel is a scholar whose career has revolved around the study of Ottoman-Islamic architectural monuments in the Balkan countries — an area of study that he pioneered. His archive represents an invaluable source for researchers of this heritage. Created for the most part between the 1960s and 90s, it contains visual documentation of many monuments that have not survived, or have been significantly altered in, the second half of the twentieth century. The publication of Kiel’s archive by the NIT is hoped to significantly advance international research on this heritage.
Images are available for publication free of charge (with attribution). For more information, see the FAQ section of this page.
The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University shares its digital archive of early American images with LUNA Commons. With over 7,000 images, this collection includes:
graphic representations of the colonial Americas, from Hudson Bay to Tierra del Fuego, drawn entirely from primary sources printed or created between 1492 and ca. 1825.
LUNA Commons collections are contributed by partnering institutions from around the world. Please contact the VRC for a LUNA tutorial.
Michelle Caswell of the South Asian American Digital Archive provides a helpful description of community-based archives:
We continue to see SAADA as part of a growing movement of independent grassroots efforts emerging from within communities to collect, preserve, and make accessible records documenting their own histories outside of mainstream archival institutions. These community-based archives serve as an alternative venue for communities to make collective decisions about what is of enduring value to them, to shape collective memory of their own pasts, and to control the means through which stories about their past are constructed.
Gothic Past is an open-access resource for the study of medieval Irish architecture and sculpture. It is part of a research project in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin, which is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). The site showcases images from three significant collections of image archives housed in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College. They include the Stalley Collection and the Rae Collection of medieval Irish architecture and sculpture: photographic images that were created and collected from the 1930s to the present day. A third archive contains the O’Donovan collection of Irish Gothic moulding profiles.
Registered users can group and save images for later reference, and can use these groups as presentation tools. In the future, users will be able to submit their own images for inclusion.
The New York Times recently began posting digitized photographs from their “morgue” (or archive) on Tumblr, including the reverse sides with notes from the photographers, notes about how the photograph was used, captions, and more.
We’re eager to share historical riches that have been locked away from public view, and have been awaiting a platform like Tumblr that makes it easy to do so. We hope you’ll enjoy the serendipity of discovery, that you’ll know something of the thrill we feel when we unlock the door of the morgue and walk into a treasure house made of filing cabinets, index cards, manila folders and more 8-by-10s than anyone can count.
A diagram of possibilities for deciphering the reverse-side notes can be found here (near the bottom of the page). Creators of the project plan to post several photographs on Tumblr every week.
The Cranach Digital Archive (cda) is an interdisciplinary collaborative research resource, providing access to art historical, technical and conservation information on paintings by Lucas Cranach (c.1472 – 1553) and his workshop. The repository presently provides information on more than 400 paintings including c.5000 images and documents from 19 partner institutions.
The metadata is extensive, with especially detailed provenance information. Images for most works include high-resolution overall views, reverse views, infrared images, UV images, detail images, and photomicrographs.
Malaysia Design Archive is a project to map the development of graphic design in Malaysia from the period before independence (1957) until now. It is a space to trace and document Malaysian ‘endangered’ design legacy, to preserve our historical past, as well as to create a resource of Malaysian design work.
This is also another way to protect our history, provide us with space to question its meaning, recurring imagery, icons used, ideas, and how it is connected to the our political landscape at the time. This project aims to highlight the importance of archiving as a way protect and preserve our own visual history.
Via South Asian American Digital Archive.