Archive for July, 2011

New additions to ARTstor

July 20, 2011

China Pavilion

Almost 1,300 new images of contemporary architecture in Shanghai, including the Expo 2010, have been added to ARTstor. ART on FILE photographers were sent to Shanghai by ARTstor to document the architectural highlights of this city, such as Marshall Strabala’s Shanghai Tower (the second tallest tower in the world), the Shanghai Museum (shaped like a Shang Dynasty ding), People’s Square, the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Pudong Riverside Promenade. The Expo 2010 Shanghai China collection includes images of the grounds and pavilions of the largest, most expensive and most visited Expo in the history of World’s Fairs. Among the sites captured by ART on FILE include the Urban Best Practices Area, the Denmark Pavilion (BIG, 2 + 2, and ARUP) and Poland Pavilion (Natalia Paszkowska). To read more about these additions, go here. To learn more about ARTstor’s ART on FILE collection, go here.

Drag and drop with Google images

July 20, 2011

If you’ve looked at Google images recently, you probably noticed a new feature: Search by Image. Just click on the camera icon in the search bar or drag and drop an image into the search bar and Google images will search for and retrieve visually similar images. I’ve been testing out a number of images but here is one example: Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut “Two Men Plotting Points for a Drawing of a Lute in Foreshortening” (ca. 1525). Google image recognized the print as a Dürer and found visually similar images. It may not be as accurate as your art history professor but its a still pretty cool.

Google Goggles app

July 12, 2011

Google has created an app called Google Goggles that lets you use pictures taken with your mobile phone to search the web. It is designed to enable searching for things that aren’t easy to describe in words. Typing or speaking your query is not necessary – open the app, snap a picture, and wait for your search results. Google Goggles works well with certain types of images (books, landmarks, logos, artwork, text) and not so well with others (animals, plants, furniture for example). This free app is currently available for Android devices running Android 1.2 or higher and iPhone 3GS and iPhone4 devices.

The Getty Museum is encouraging its visitors to use Google Goggles and has created a special app for their collection. To read more about the Getty’s use of Google Goggles, go here.

Conservation images of Ghent Altarpiece available

July 12, 2011

The Getty Foundation and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage have released high resolution images of Jan Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece taken while the work was undergoing conservation in 2010. The project utilized high resolution macro photography under visible and infrared light, infrared reflectoography, X-radiography and dendrochronolgy to reveal valuable information on underdrawing, layer paint layer structure and other technical aspects of the altarpiece. Additional images of the conservation project will be made available over the next year.

Take a tour of the original Barnes Foundation

July 12, 2011

The amazing collection of Impressionist and early modernist painting and sculpture making up the Barnes Foundation will be leaving its original home in Merion, PA and moving to its new home in Philadelphia next May.  After a long fought battle, the foundation managed to over-ride its original charter and bylaws established by the pharmaceutical tycoon Albert C. Barnes in the early 1920s which stated that none of the collection’s paintings or sculptures could be sold, lent or moved from the original gallery walls. To many, the quirky and idiosyncratic way in which Barnes displayed his collection — “antiquated-looking salon style that filled entire walls of its neo-Classical home with odd arrangements of paintings, organized to echo and rhyme their formal qualities and interspersed with decorative metalwork like ax heads and hinges” [New York Times] — made the Barnes Foundation such a fabulous and unusual institution. Happily for those of us who have never had the opportunity to visit the original galleries, the New York Times has produced a virtual tour of its many highlights. To read more about the tour and the Barnes Foundation, click here for the full article.

You can read more about the new building designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien here.

From here to then

July 5, 2011

Wish you could see what your favorite neighborhood in your favorite city looked like at the turn-of-the-century? A new collaborative project called SepiaTown can make that possible. SepiaTown a project that allows registered users to upload historical photographs of their favorite city, index them to Google Maps and show you a “then and now” picture of your favorite city. The makers of SepiaTown think of it as “a time machine. SepiaTown lets you use your computer or mobile device to see what the very spot you’re standing on looked like decades or centuries ago.” Registered SepiaTown users (anyone can register) can upload, map, and share historical images (film and audio coming soon) from any given location and time period with other users around the world. SepiaTown is free and content is completely user generated.

Digital doodling devices

July 5, 2011

If you long for the days of pen and paper, don’t give up — consider turning your touch screen tablet, phone or computer into a virtual pen and paper. John Biggs, writing for the New York Times “Personal Tech” page, reviewed several new devices now on the market that enable users to draw or write directly onto a screen using digital pens.  A few examples:’s Pogo Sketch, Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus,  N-trig’s DuoSense (pictured above) and Livescribe Echo. Among the apps to consider: PhatPad and Adobe Eazel. To read the complete review, go here.

Summer reading for art historians

July 5, 2011

Are you suffering from a shortage of reading material now that classes have ended? Missing your art history text books, class readers and style manuals? No fear, there is plenty of art and art history related reading to be had this summer.

Here is a long list of fiction suggestions, pulled together from various sources:
Bellini Madonna by Elizabeth Lowry
Rendezvous in Venice by Philippe Beaussant
What I Loved: A Novel by Siri Hustvedt
Angelica’s Grotto: A Novel by Russell Hoban
Headlong by Michael Frayn
Tracy Chevalier’s Burning Bright and The Lady and the Unicorn
Dutch Kills [English ed.] , Bets and Scams: A Novel of the Art World by Gary Schwartz
Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Forest Lover (Woman artist Emily Carr), Girl in Hyacinth Blue (Vermeer), Luncheon of the Boating Party (Impressionists), and The Passion of Artemisia
What’s Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies
Circles & Squares by John Malcolm
The Inheritance by Simon Tolkein
Art of Deception by Elizabeth Ironside
Sarah Taylor’s Still as Death (features a woman art historian) and Judgment of the Grave (also about a woman art historian)
Color Blind, Jonathan Santlofer
The Beholder, Thomas Farber (featuring a woman art historian)

If you like mysteries:
Iain Pears’ The Bernini Bust, Death and Restoration, Giotto’s Hand, The Immaculate Deception, The Last Judgment, The Portrait, The Raphael Affair, and Titian Committee
Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva
Amy Navaratil Ciccone, an art librarian at USC, has many suggestions for art mystery lovers in her article entitled “Art of Architectural Mysteries”.

If you prefer non-fiction, consider:
Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman and John Shiffman
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Sailsbury and Aly Suio

UK National collection online

July 5, 2011

Earlier this year, the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation launched an online image collection called Your Paintings with the impressive objective of showcasing the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind these paintings, and where you can go and view the actual works. Your Paintings is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the UK. Collections and museums from across the UK are supporting this effort to digitize and present online 200,000 oil paintings in UK national collections. Over 60,000 of these publicly-owned paintings are currently online. Critics, scholars, and artists also provide virtual guided tours and discuss the art that inspires them.