Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Smoke and Mirrors: Did Vermeer Have a Secret?

There is an intriguing article in this month's Vanity Fair about  an inventor in Texas who become obsessed with Vermeer's paintings. Check out the article Vermeer's Secret Tool

Tim Jenison, a creator of hardware and software for video production,  used his ingenuity to  look at the paintings in an entirely new way.  NPR also has an interview with Penn and Gillette, the makers of the documentary "Tims Vermeer" about how Jenison went about making his own version of Vermeer's "The Music Lesson". teller-breaks-his-silence-to-talk-tims-vermeer

Friday, November 8, 2013


It looks like a wonderful exhibit opening at the Prado this month. 

The Prado began its life as a natural history museum and  Spanish artist Miguel Ángel Blanco wanted to evoke that origin by installing some of the finest objects from the National Museum of Natural Sciences alongside the gallery's more famous works. 

"It occurred to me that I could create a contemporary cabinet, an artistic intervention that also showed off the natural history in the paintings that hang in the Prado," he said.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg joins Google Art Project

The fantastic Google Cultural Institute has just added material from Colonial Williamsburg to its collection.

Enjoy this portrait of George Washington, by Charles Willson Peale, 1780.  In the midst of our government shutdown, it might be a good moment to contemplate some of our tumultuous history and iconic heroes.  The Google projects lets you get up close and personal by clicking on any image.  You can get close enough to see Washington's button holes and look him in the eye.

And, of course, there are many, many more wonderful images from all around the world.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art has just relaunched its web site and it looks beautiful.  A fine resource to research and gorgeous images to use in your scholarly projects. Take a look here: National Gallery Image Collection

Friday, August 30, 2013

Paintings Can Still Get you in Trouble

Art is still a powerful form of protest. This painting of Vladimir Putin in lingerie was seized from a gallery in St. Petersburg. Police said it broke unspecified laws.Art as Protest

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Useful Google Image Trick

This was news to me, so I thought I would share it. Below is a quotation from an image librarian on my listserv:

"Whenever you want to know what an image is - right click or control click on the image - and click Save Image as... - save to your desktop. Then go to Google Images and simply pick up the image and drop it in the Image Search bar and VOILA! all the info you could possibly want on the image."

This worked for me, more or less  I had a scanned image of a Teco vase and Google offered me images of skinny green things, so basically I stumped Google. But when I inserted an image of a mosaic from Pompeii that I had found on-line, Google Image came up with both more pictures of the same thing and a written suggestion of what the mosaic was.  Pretty cool!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ARTstor News

There are some changes at ARTstor to correct some image download problems.  

ARTstor Digital Library image downloads will now come via zip files.Check here for complete information.


Friday, April 12, 2013

True Colors

When can we trust our eyes and how do we evaluate the rich resources that the web brings to us.  Technologists and artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg have made a wonderful mosaic of image search results that can help us think about visualization.

"The web can seem like the perfect museum, holding all the world’s art. Type “Danae Klimt” into your favorite search engine, and you conjure up a high-resolution image of Gustav Klimt’s Danaë: tan limbs, a shower of gold, red hair.

Or did you find pink limbs? Or were they gray or even green? There’s the rub: the seemingly perfect museum holds dozens of Danaës—with dozens of different palettes. Even the shape changes as reproductions are subtly cropped.
Curious just how far reproductions stray from each other, we began an investigation. (Go directly to the results if you like.) For a set of famous artworks, we downloaded all the plausible copies we could find. Then we wrote software to reconstruct each artwork as a mosaic, a patchwork quilt where each patch comes from an individual copy."

From the web site of technologists and artists, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. "We invent new ways for people to think and talk about data."

Friday, March 29, 2013

ARTstor Keeps on Growing!

Imagine a free national library of images! It is happening and coming our way.

ARTstor is partnering with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to provide access to more than 10,000 high-quality images from six leading museums.This is great news for users. Single portal access to an ever greater and more diverse sea of images!

Check out the DPLA to see what they are all about here:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Iliad in the News!

Geneticists are backing up classicists and agreeing on a date for Homer's Iliad.

Saying that language behaves extraordinarily like genes, the scientists agree with an 9th C. BCE date for the celebrated epic.  The scientists tracked the words in the "Iliad" the way they would track genes in a genome, using a tool known as the Swadesh word list. To read more and see the fascinating way that genetics, classics and linguistics can come together, check out this link

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Getty Guide to Imagery

Looking for more information on a research topic?  Try this resource sponsored by the Getty to find resources on art topics. It looks very intriguing.

Getty Guide to Imagery

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

American Landscape Painting and the Civil War

In this opinion piece in the New York Times,  Eleanor Jones Harvey, curator at the Smithsonian Institution, argues that although American painters avoided directly painting scenes of the Civil War, their fascination with natural phenomena and meteorology provide commentary on our national upheaval.  americas-moral-volcano

Monday, January 7, 2013

3D interactive history of Paris

Hey, Fans of history, architecture, classics and French language! Check out this 3-D visualization of Paris through time. The creaters, Dassault Systèmes say "with the help of historians and archeologists, Dassault has created Paris 3D, an interactive model that transports any Internet user through two millennia of the city's history."

It looks a little like a video game, but a high quality one created with the help of scholars.