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Archive for the Tag 'digital humanities'

The Story of the Beautiful: Virtual Tours of Whistler’s “Peacock Room”

Peacock Room Detroit

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.

Via ArtDaily.

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Art Resources from the Mid-20th Century

Forbidden art in the Third Reich: paintings by German artists whose work was banned from museums and forbidden to exhibit (1945?)

The Guggenheim and Whitney Libraries have collaborated to digitize selections from the personal libraries of Hilla Rebay and Juliana, the inaugural directors of the museums, respectively. The digital library—Art Resources from the Mid-20th Century: Digitized Highlights from the Libraries of Hilla Rebay and Juliana Force—is available publicly via the Internet Archive. They describe how the collections were developed by Rebay and Force, female museum directors whose institutions were both founded in the 1930s:

Each woman acquired a considerable library during her tenure, collecting materials ranging from the uncommon (gallery announcements from New York and beyond, as well as rare and unusual periodicals and books) to the required reading of the day (exhibition catalogs and major monographs on contemporary artists). These important resources influenced the two women, who in turn influenced the vision and development of their respective institutions, which remain integral to the city’s cultural life today.

The museum libraries digitized selected volumes from each collection to display the materials together online, which helps highlight the similarities and differences between each collection. The Internet Archive, which hosts the collection, offers robust functionality including cataloging data, and the ability to view the fully digitized materials online in a book reader software or to download as a PDF of e-book reader file, including EPUB and Kindle.

To visit the project collection page for Art Resources from the Mid-20th Century: Digitized Highlights from the Libraries of Hilla Rebay and Juliana Force, click here. For more information, please also explore project summaries from the Guggenheim and the Whitney.

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MoMA’s “Inventing Abstraction” Website and Exhibition

MoMA recently opened a new exhibition, Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, and this ground-breaking survey is accompanied by an equally ground-breaking website. The exhibition takes a multidisciplinary look at the development of abstraction and as such:

The exhibition brings together many of the most influential works in abstraction’s early history and covers a wide range of artistic production, including paintings, drawings, books, sculptures, films, photographs, sound poems, atonal music, and non-narrative dance, to draw a cross-media portrait of these watershed years.

In the October, ARTnews reported that the Leah Dickerman, curator of the exhibition, was collaborating with Paul Ingram of Columbia University’s business school because he specializes in social network analysis. Dickerman wanted to visually display connections and friendships among the artists and creators involved in the genesis of abstraction, and she and her team, along with their business school partners, began mapping connections in an Excel spreadsheet. The project then turned into a dynamic network of artists and other creative types connected by vectors. They liken the project to a Facebook or LinkedIn network for the abstract vanguard.

inventingabstractiondiagram

In the ARTnews article, Paul Ingram “explains that the quality of ‘between-ness’ in the network—being on multiple paths between others—is associated with creativity. According to this measure, he says, Kandinsky is the most central figure in MoMA’s history of abstraction.” The interactive chart highlights key players in red, and for each artist represented on the chart, more information about their role, interests, and works is provided.

And as an aside, the ARTnews article mentions several other charts or family trees that had been created to document relationships (either sincerely or snarkily) in modern art movements—be sure to check out the very famous Barr’s Chart! These genealogical charts differ greatly from the social vectors described in the new MoMA chart, but provided the initial inspiration for the website’s diagram. Another “genealogical” example comes from the Irving Penn Archives, housed at the Art Institute of Chicago: Penn drew an a family tree, titled “An Immodest Claim to Artistic Roots,” in which he lists several of the artists included in MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction exhibition including Fernand Léger, El Lissitzky, and Man Ray. You can view his tree here.

The VRC will be adding images from the exhibition to our LUNA collection soon!

Via ARTnews

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The Medici Archive Project

The Medici Archive Project has recently launched its BIA Digital Platform which allows users to search and view digitized material from the Medici Archive, which is housed in the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. In addition to viewing archival documents, users can enter transcriptions, provide feedback, exchange comments, and participate in digital humanities projects. From the project’s website:

The Medici Granducal Archival Collection (Mediceo del Principato)–among the most exhaustive and complete court archives of early modern Europe–is one of the most frequently consulted collections at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Over the past fifteen years, the Medici Archive Project has been using computing technologies to facilitate scholarly research on this collection. With BIA’s launch, the Medici Archive Project will double its online text content and it will inaugurate a new digital imaging function by putting online 120,000 digitized documents—a number that will continue to grow. Additionally, BIA will enable community sourcing with new applications for online manuscript transcription and its online forums for scholarly discussion. Scholars anywhere in the world will now transcribe, edit, and comment on archival material in the database, collaborating in real time and making use of the forums to share expertise and knowledge.

The Medici Archive was established in 1569, and the material, which consists primarily of letters, takes up nearly 1 mile of shelf space. In order to search the BIA digital platform, you must register for a free account. After registering for a free account, you also can save documents and search terms pertaining to your research.

For more information, visit the Medici Archive Project or explore the collection’s highlights pertaining to topics such as Women Artists and Women Patrons of the Arts or Cabinet of Curiosities.

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The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

The Google Cultural Institute and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem collaborated to bring five complete Dead Sea Scrolls online. The new digital library (released Tuesday, December 18), allows users to study and discover the the most ancient biblical manuscripts on earth:

The website gives searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. The scroll text is also discoverable via web search. If you search for a phrase from the scrolls, a link to that text within the scroll may surface in your search results. For example, try searching on Google for [And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb Dead Sea Scroll].

The Great Isiah Scroll

English translations of the manuscripts are also available. The Google Cultural Institute is also responsible for the Art Project as well as other digital humanities projects, including Versailles 3D and La France en relief. For the Dead Sea Scrolls project, they used imaging technology originally developed for NASA. The scrolls weren’t discovered until 1947, and they had been in the Qumran caves for two thousand years. ArtDaily reports:

The parchment and papyrus scrolls contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic script, and include several of the earliest-known texts from the Bible, including the oldest surviving copy of the Ten Commandments. The oldest of the documents dates to the third century BC and the most recent to about 70 AD, when Roman troops destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The artefacts are housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly lit Shrine of the Book on a rotational basis in order to minimise damage from exposure. When not on show, they are kept in a dark, climate-controlled storeroom in conditions similar to those in the Qumran caves, where the humidity, temperature and darkness preserved the scrolls for two millennia.

For more information, visit the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.

Via artdaily.org

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The Book of Kells for iPad

The Book of Kells was released as an iPad app last Friday, November 16. The app contains all 680 surviving pages of the manuscript as well as other special features and content. It is intended to replace previous electronic reproductions of the manuscript which had been released on DVD-ROM and CD-ROM.

The app features the entire manuscript in high resolution, with 21 pages viewable at up to 6 times their actual size and categories of decorative themes that users can browse through including letters, animals, and other symbols.

You can also stop by the VRC anytime to check out the “eBook of Kells” app! Best of all, the app can be projected from the iPad for use in classrooms and presentations.

For more information, view the Book of Kells website or the iTunes app store.

[Images: The Book of Kells, folio 7v and 8r, and an image group of initial letters for the letter “A”.]

 

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Local/Global: Mapping Nineteenth-Century London’s Art Market

The online art journal Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide recently featured a new digital humanities research project that focuses on London’s art market from 1850–1914. The researchers aim to document the rise and spread of commercial galleries across the city by aggregating data from a variety of sources including galleries, exhibition societies, artists’ addresses, and retail spaces. The data was then added to a map of Victorian London—users can turn data on or off depending on their research, including moving chronologically through time.

Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich describe the project and offer their own conclusions based on their research in Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and the London Gallery Market website with their maps and data is freely available.

Via Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide and London Gallery Market

Image: Pamela Fletcher and David Israel, London Gallery Project, 2007, revised 2012.

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A Handsome Atlas

 

Interested in information visualization and/or 19th Century American culture?  Explore “A Handsome Atlas,” a recent project by the Brooklyn Brainery, which displays reproductions of the Statistical Atlases of the United States of America from 1870, 1880, and 1890. Although these maps, charts, and graphs were created more than a hundred years ago, they are surprisingly modern in their display of information.

While the images are all available online through the Library of Congress and a long list on the US Census website, A Handsome Atlas provides a much more elegant interface image viewer that allows for easily viewing the contents of each atlas and zooming in on individual plates. Users have the options to filter by countless subjects pertaining to life in the US—including liquor, lumber, and Lutherans among many others—or to filter by specific categories of visualization devices, including pie charts, radar charts, and treemaps.

Users also have the option to view each plate on the Library of Congress website and to freely download image files in high, medium, or low resolution.

Additionally, the 1880 and 1890 Statistical Atlases were undertaken by Henry Gannett, largely considered to be the father of American mapmaking. The David Rumsey Map Collection contains more than 170 government-sponsored maps, charts, and geological surveys by Gannett. Click here to view.

Via Information Aesthetics

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Art.sy: a New Online Art Discovery Tool

The New York Times wrote yesterday of a new start-up called Art.sy, which is digitizing works of fine art to catalog in its database, called the “Art Genome Project”. Their service is similar to Pandora, which mapped a “music genome” in order to encourage user discovery of new songs, or Netflix, which uses algorithms to predict and suggest films and movies a user might like.

Art.sy already has 20,000 images in their database, is partnering with galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions to increase their catalog. In addition to traditional subject, genre, and period/movement based descriptions, Art.sy’s team is also tagging works with categories that their system will use “to make connections that are seemingly from different worlds.” These categories include ideas such as “focus on the social margins,” or “personal histories,” and “private spaces.” The system will also search for images that are most similar in terms of composition and color, providing yet another way to access different images.

For more information, see Art.sy’s blog or visit the Art.sy website, where you can request a login or browse the beta site.

Via New York Times

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The Rembrandt Database

Screenshot from The Rembrandt Database

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.

 

 

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