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Don't lick the paintbrush

Journal of Art in Society tells the story of the most unusual pigment: The life and death of Mummy Brown. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 17, 2014 - 13 comments

Chinese Lianhuanhua: A Century of Pirated Movies

Before bootleg DVDs, western movies were adapted into Lianhuanhua: linked picture books that could be bought or rented. While many stories were told, and many movies were "pirated" in this way, one of particular interest is Star Wars. [more inside]
posted by nubs on May 27, 2014 - 26 comments

Photographs of some historical & archeological artifacts

Michael Faraday's chemical chest, 19th century.
The end of Darwin's walking stick.
Galileo’s original telescope.
Napoleon’s toothbrush, c 1795 (with engraved "N“ at bottom).
Carved Olive Pit, China (1737).
Throne of Charlemagne (790). Until 1531, it served as the coronation throne the Kings of Germany, being used at a total of thirty-one coronations.
Ishtar Gate, ca 575 BC. Built on the orders of Nebuchadnezzar II, it was a gate to the inner city of Babylon.
Tolkien's service weapon from WWI.
Breastplate, North Peru - A.D. 1000/1470. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Apr 27, 2014 - 33 comments

Top 20 Bubble Butts Throughout Art History

Top 20 Bubble Butts From The Toast
posted by bq on Mar 5, 2014 - 33 comments

Pangs piercing every muscle, every labouring nerve

In The Natural History, Pliny the Elder mentioned "the Laocoön [...]* in the palace of the Emperor Titus, a work that may be looked upon as preferable to any other production of the art of painting or of statuary." Pliny ascribed the sculpture to three sculptors from Rhodes, Agesander, Athenodoros, and Polydoros; it is possible that they (or some of their descendants) were also responsible for a cluster of similarly-themed statues found in the 1950s at Sperlonga. In any event, the Laocoön was discovered in 1506 and purchased by Pope Julius II. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise on Feb 7, 2014 - 22 comments

Free books from the Getty

The Getty has just opened its Virtual Library, where 250 book pdfs can be read online or downloaded. Some titles of interest include Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs, Between Two Earthquakes: Cultural Property in Seismic Zones and Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe. They follow the University of California Press, which released 700 books online for free yesterday, including 28 art history books.
posted by PussKillian on Jan 23, 2014 - 6 comments

Of all the occupations in the world, why did he trade in our ancestors!

NYTimes: "The paleontologist Richard Leakey has called their removal a “sacrilege.” Kenyan villagers have said their theft led to crop failure and ailing livestock. It is little wonder, then, that the long, slender wooden East African memorial totems known as vigango are creating a spiritual crisis of sorts for American museums." [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Jan 3, 2014 - 20 comments

the olfactory arts

Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?
[more inside]
posted by divabat on Dec 23, 2013 - 30 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Parisian Auction of Sacred Hopi Artifacts

"These are not trophies to have on one’s mantel; they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections." Despite protests by the US Embassy on behalf of the Hopi and San Carlos Apache, a Paris auction house continued with the sale of twenty-five katsinam (sacred masks). Surprisingly, the US based Annenberg Foundation bought twenty-four of them for $530,000 to return to the tribes. (Previously on a similar auction)
posted by Deflagro on Dec 13, 2013 - 74 comments

People of Color are not an anachronism

The Tumblr blog People of Color in European Art History, or medievalpoc for short, has a simple mission: to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Dec 8, 2013 - 107 comments

The Sound Da Vinci Invented, but Never Heard

Leonardo Da Vinci is well known as a man who invented many things on paper that never found their way into three-dimensional reality. Some would later prove to be unworkable in reality. Others would later prove to be potentially life-saving. But not all of Da Vinci's inventions were of a practical nature. Consider his plans for the viola organista, a keyboard instrument containing a system of revolving wheels, strings and other machinery to create a kind of cello that can be played with a keyboard. Never constructed in Da Vinci's lifetime, the inventor himself could only imagine what it would actually sound like. We no longer have to imagine that. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Nov 18, 2013 - 43 comments

A WEEK OF KINDNESS: a novel in collage

SUNDAY. Element: Mud. Exemplar: The Lion of Belfort.
MONDAY. Element: Water. Exemplar: Water.
TUESDAY. Element: Fire. Exemplar: The Court of Dragons.
WEDNESDAY. Element: Blood. Exemplar: Œdipus. [Certain images NSFW on account of Victorian prurience] [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Oct 30, 2013 - 7 comments

Were the First Artists Mostly Women?

Were the First Artists Mostly Women? The National Geographic outlines a recent study on those handprints found near Neolithic Cave Art. By looking at finger length of the hand outlines on those walls, researchers hypothesize that 75% of the artists of iconic cave painting were women. Some adherents to other theories (the jubilent male hunter as artist; the hopeful male hunter as artist, the shaman as artist, the exploring young boy as artist) are not so convinced.
posted by julen on Oct 8, 2013 - 33 comments

Ex Urbe

"But Freud had a second fear: a fear of Rome's layers. In formal treatises, he compared the psyche to an ancient city, with many layers of architecture built one on top of another, each replacing the last, but with the old structures still present underneath. In private writings he phrased this more personally, that he was terrified of ever visiting Rome because he was terrified of the idea of all the layers and layers and layers of destroyed structures hidden under the surface, at the same time present and absent, visible and invisible. He was, in a very deep way, absolutely right." [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Aug 20, 2013 - 31 comments

The Rauschenberg Research Project

The SFMOMA has launched the Rauschenberg Research Project, an online database of the Rauschenbergs in their permanent collection. Each piece of art is available in high resolution (click 'download' for the high-res image), along with commentary, interviews, essays, maps, contact prints, or other pertinent information, including its ownership history, any markings on the piece, and its exhibition history. All the files related to a particular piece can be downloaded in one go (bottom link of every page).
posted by flibbertigibbet on Jul 9, 2013 - 10 comments

No one wants to be here

McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto and Gamer Theory, has turned his attention to the Situationist International. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 9, 2013 - 17 comments

The Sacred and the Profane, under one roof! (But not for the first time)

A French auction house has gone ahead with a planned sale of Hopi katsinam. Such a sale would have been illegal in the United States. A depiction of the Crow mother sold for more than $200,000. [more inside]
posted by anewnadir on Apr 12, 2013 - 233 comments

"First freedom and then Glory - when that fails, Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last"

Savagery - Arcadia - Consummation - Destruction - Desolation. The five stages of The Course of Empire, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School pioneer Thomas Cole. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole project, which also offers a guided tour and complete gallery of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 29, 2012 - 23 comments

To view this post, please go to page xxx of the MetaFilter, Fourth Edition by Matt Haughey ebook.

Art history students at Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD University) are required to purchase a $180 textbook with no pictures. In place of images, the book has empty boxes with instructions to look up the images online. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on Sep 19, 2012 - 87 comments

Makers of Ruins

Once upon a time, there was a wizard who knew what Heaven and Hell looked like.
On Joseph Michael Gandy (1771 – 1843), the architect's assistant who painted palaces that never were and ruins that had yet to be. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Sep 18, 2012 - 14 comments

ArtHistoryImages

ArtHistoryImages: Over 1000 artists organized by movement, from Byzantine to Realist, from Gothic to Pop. Each movement gives you a list of artists, and each artist's page joins images of their works with information from Wikipedia about their lives. [via mefi projects]
posted by ocherdraco on Jun 26, 2012 - 2 comments

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

He considered himself an artist, but his work, while popular and incendiary, showed little talent or originality. Later in life he took up working with precious metals, and that would be the craft he’s remembered for, but earlier in his career he printed his own engravings, or his version of the work of others. Earlier this year at Brown University’s John Hay Library, something very rare was discovered. One of Paul Revere’s prints depicting the Baptism of Christ was found tucked in an old textbook. While not a particularly valuable work or great art, this rare print does tell us a bit about the man as an artist, and about his faith. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 7, 2012 - 6 comments

'Look closely. The beautiful may be small.'

This is a collection of the smaller details of art works. Imagine using macro lenses on a Van der Weyden or Van Gogh. It's another way of looking at (of seeing) well-known pieces: hemlines, hands, veins, the curve of a shoulder. Also: texture and facial expressions. [more inside]
posted by pleasebekind on Feb 24, 2012 - 4 comments

"A Mock. A Mock. A Lie."

This Man was Hired to Depress Art This is the opinion of Will Blake my Proofs of this Opinion are given in the following Notes [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 28, 2011 - 16 comments

A museum shows its favorites folder

The Corning Museum of Glass (previously), not to be confused with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington (previously), has named 60 favorites of their own collection and campus. The choices range from ancient, like the glass "portrait" of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep II, to the scientific, like the initial 200-inch disk intended for the Hale telescope at the Mt. Palomar observatory, to modern sculpture, like Family Matter by Jill Reynolds.
[more inside]
posted by knile on May 3, 2011 - 17 comments

Motif No. 1

The dark red fishing shack on Bearskin Neck wharf in the artists' colony Rockport, Massachusetts "is one of the most famous buildings in the world and instantly recognizable to any student of art or art history." America's most-painted building received its name in an impulsive exclamation by famed illustrator, etcher and art teacher Lester Hornby. Its name? Motif No. 1 "One day when a student brought for criticism a pencil drawing of the house, Hornby exclaimed, 'What-Motif No 1 again!' It has been that ever since." [more inside]
posted by ericb on Apr 6, 2011 - 24 comments

"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan/The proper blog post of Mankind is Man."

50 Best Humanities Blogs
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 30, 2011 - 14 comments

"Art is the proper task of life."

The Banishment of Beauty (Part 1) "This is part one of a one hour slide presentation I made in Laguna Beach for American Artist's "Weekend With the Masters" event. It deals with the issues as I see them between traditional and "modern" art." (Part 2) (Part 3) & (Part 4).
posted by Fizz on Oct 9, 2010 - 66 comments

James Gurney— illustrator and artist of Dinotopia— has a blog!

James Gurney (of Dinotopia fame) blogs at Gurney Journey daily about making art, making worlds, and making faces.
posted by yaymukund on Sep 3, 2010 - 7 comments

Smithsonian to exhibit videogames as art. Jason Scott Completes GET LAMP. Can this day be any better?

The Art of Videogames, a Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit set to open in March 2012, has been featured on CNN today. But you don't have to wait until 2012 to get your fix of gaming history. CNN has let the cat out of the scanner: our very own Jason Scott (jscott) has finished GET LAMP. It's now shipping! [more inside]
posted by honest knave on Aug 19, 2010 - 17 comments

Concealed Neuroanatomy in Michelangelo's Separation of Light From Darkness

In a Michelangelo Fresco, Visions of a Brain Stem. "It has been hiding in plain sight for the past 500 years, and now two Johns Hopkins professors believe they have found it: one of Michelangelo’s rare anatomical drawings in a panel high on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was a conscientious student of human anatomy and enthusiastically dissected corpses throughout his life, but few of his anatomical drawings survive. This one, a depiction of the human brain and brain stem, appears to be drawn on the neck of God, but not all art historians can see it there."
posted by homunculus on Jun 21, 2010 - 62 comments

Many eyes make light work

The Victoria and Albert Museum is using crowdsourcing to determine the best images, crops and enlargements of items in its online database. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Feb 3, 2010 - 11 comments

Leonardo de Carbon

Are Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa the same person! A local art historian clued me into this a couple of hours ago. Seems the biggest debate is not occurring amongst the nations of France and Italy but the scientific need to retain some tenure amongst Mona's necessity to remain an enigma.
posted by Johnny Hazard on Jan 30, 2010 - 36 comments

Looking for Leonardo

Are figures in a Florentine altar panel attributed to Italian artist Andrea del Verrocchio actually by Leonardo da Vinci? "The Baptistery figures, if accepted as Leonardo's, would be the only extant sculptures made in the artist's lifetime..." Related ARTNews article, additional Smithsonian Magazine article, National Gallery of Art writeup related to the additional Smithsonian Magazine article, and the High Museum's upcoming Leonardo exhibit.
posted by cog_nate on Sep 28, 2009 - 21 comments

Rerepainting Bellini

Investigating Bellini's Feast of the Gods takes apart the layers of Feast of the Gods, painted by Giovanni Bellini, repainted by Dosso Dossi, and repainted again by Tiziano Vecellio--that is, Titian. Visitors can see the results of x-rays and other imaging techniques, view the painting's changing context in the Duke of Ferrara's gallery, and examine details in close-up. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise on Aug 31, 2009 - 9 comments

Lend Me Your Ear, Vincent

Did Gauguin Cut Off van Gogh's Ear? According to a new book by two German art historians, van Gogh did not slice off his left ear in a fit of madness and drunkenness in Arles in December 1888. His ear was severed by a sword wielded by his friend, the painter, Paul Gauguin, in a drunken row over a woman called Rachel and the true nature of art.
posted by ornate insect on May 4, 2009 - 38 comments

How come nothin is tagged "nekkid?"

Tag! You're It! The Brooklyn Museum is inviting its user community to tag its online collection.
posted by Miko on May 1, 2009 - 26 comments

Visual review of art history

Are you looking to review your art history knowledge but find google too chaotic, and Prof. Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe's site is overwhelming and has a few too many dead links? Maybe wikipedia lacks the visuals you associate with an art history review, and Art cyclopedia could be a bit more straight-forward? Then The Art Browser might be the thing for you. The site combines brief descriptions of movements and artists from wikipedia, classifications from Art cyclopedia, and large images from Art.com for compact visual overview of art history. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 25, 2009 - 9 comments

The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has beautiful objects to delight every fancy, whether you seek manuscript illustration (more), calligraphy (more), glassware (more), archetectural elements (more) and much, yes, more! If you want some knowledge to go with the beauty then you are in luck because on the site there is an overview of Islamic art history from inception to the now.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 21, 2008 - 5 comments

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Magnified

Cranach Magnified, courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum, enables users to compare and analyze the "surprisingly minute features" of several paintings by the great Lucas Cranach the Elder. For much more Cranach, visit the extensive listing at Artcyclopedia, which includes, among other things, the woodcuts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; several paintings at the Kunsthistorisches Museum; and more paintings at the National Gallery of Art.
posted by thomas j wise on Sep 13, 2008 - 4 comments

England's Rock Art

England's Rock Art. "Amongst the outcrops and boulders of northern England keen eyes may spot an array of mysterious symbols carved into the rock surfaces. These curious marks vary from simple, circular hollows known as 'cups' to more complex patterns with cups, rings, and intertwining grooves. Many are in spectacular, elevated locations with extensive views but some are also found on monuments such as standing stones and stone circles, or within burial mounds. The carvings were made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people between 3500 and 6000 years ago." [Via Life in the Fast Lane]
posted by homunculus on Aug 6, 2008 - 17 comments

Posters from 1880-1918 in huge resolution

Art of the Poster 1880-1918 has high-quality scans of 162 posters. The images can either be viewed through a zooming window in the browser or exported in enormous resolutions (export image link in top left corner of image page). Here are some of my favorite posters: Scribner's Fiction Number, Between the Acts All Tobacco Cigarettes, Palais de la Danse, Starnberger-see, Read the Sun, Cercle Artistique de Schaerbeek, Bosch-licht, XXV Ausstellung Secession and Cabaret du Chat Noir.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 1, 2008 - 21 comments

Art of the Kathmandu Valley

From the Land of the Gods: Art of the Kathmandu Valley. [Via Plep - NY]
posted by homunculus on Jul 17, 2008 - 3 comments

Don Quixote, Illustrated

Illustrated Quixote is a Brown University Library digital project--one of many inspired by the 400th anniversary of Don Quixote in 2005--that allows you to search/browse and view illustrations of Don Q produced between 1725 and 1884. There are a number of other excellent sites devoted to illustrations and paintings of the novels, as well as to the publishing history of the novel itself, notably The Cervantes Project, OSU's Digitized Historical Editions of Don Quixote, Georgetown U's Tilting at Windmills, and the Don Quixote de la Mancha digital exhibit.
posted by thomas j wise on Apr 8, 2008 - 8 comments

Art Image Bank

Art Images for College Teaching is a searchable, browsable collection of 2,027, well, art images for college teaching, and appears to be mainly the personal collection of Art Historian Allan Kohl (previously on MeFi), and thus represents his interests and specialities, not to mention the variable quality of his photographic skills. Rather strong in Ancient and Medieval, especially architecture, but tapers off as you become more distant from Europe or closer to the 20th century. Nice sets include the Lion Hunt from Ashurbanipal, Iraq; the exterior sculpture of Chartres; and grave stele.
posted by Rumple on Feb 1, 2008 - 4 comments

Faces of the Divine

India's Ancient Art. "Fifth-century painters created stunning murals in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer brings them to light." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 25, 2007 - 13 comments

Virtual Museum of Art

MUVA El PAIS has been conceived as a dynamic, interactive museum bringing together the most renowned works of contemporary Uruguayan art, an important contributor to Latin American art. MUVA is devoted to quality, content, education, information and recreation through the knowledge of visual arts. In Spanish and English, Flash and/or HTML.
posted by netbros on Aug 25, 2007 - 2 comments

David Blaine Art History

The face of Jesus in historic paintings was replaced by that of David Blaine by New Genre Arts professor Ben Bloch. The resulting images were shown to Art History students at Whitman College during the course of a class on Entertainment Violence. The students were not alerted to the fact that the images were doctored, nor did they notice on their own. Stupid students!
posted by ba on Jun 18, 2007 - 70 comments

Digital Collection of the Etchings of Wenceslas Hollar

Born in Bohemia, Wenceslas (Vaclav) Hollar (wikipedia; illustrated chronology of his life; essay on Hollar) was one of the leading etchers and illustrators of the middle 17th Century, working primarily in England and Belgium. The University of Toronto has placed almost his entire works online, including more than 4,000 images and some complete illustrated books. Some favorites: the man himself; simple, powerful Illustrations of Genesis; The Pack of Knaves; Elephants and Flowers; Shells; Fitting out a Hull; and Muffs (sfw). Most images are zoomable, and you can create marked lists and compare images side by side.
posted by Rumple on Jun 17, 2007 - 8 comments

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