Greek (Hellenistic), Nike of Samothrace, ca. 190 BCE, Musée du Louvre, Paris
The Louvre – maybe the most famous museum in the world — has launched a new website. Its central feature is a collections database that gives you access to nearly half a million works of art (they claim that the museum’s entire collection is now online, although this is probably not even all of it). This is a major upgrade from the Louvre’s old site, which included only a limited selection of works, often with images too small to be very useful.
For many of the Louvre’s treasures, a variety of images are now available (including details and alternate views), which is an especially welcome feature. You can download these images at a maximum of 1500 pixels, which is a reasonable size for using in a PowerPoint presentation, but not large enough for publication. Keep in mind that the Louvre is still not an open-access institution, so while you may use these images for personal study or teaching, you are not allowed to publish or otherwise distribute them. And although much of the museum’s website is available in English, most of the information in the collections database is only in French.
Ma Lin, Scholar Reclining and Watching Rising Clouds, 1225-1275, Cleveland Museum of Art (artwork and digital image both in the public domain)
Another major American museum has joined the growing list of institutions to adopt an Open Access policy. The Cleveland Museum of Art announced this week that it is releasing about 30,000 images of works in its collection into the public domain, effective immediately. These images have been given a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation, which means you can use them for anything, without a fee or permission.
Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884-86, Art Institute of Chicago (artwork and digital image both in the public domain)
Good news! The Art Institute of Chicago has launched both a new website and a new Open Access policy for more than 44,000 of the images you’ll find on it. Like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum before it, the AIC has released its images into the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which is the least restrictive kind you can use. This means that you are free to download and reuse these images for any purpose–even a commercial one–without having to pay a fee or seek any additional permission. As always, this only applies to the museum’s images of artworks which are themselves in the public domain, so most modern and contemporary art (including Picasso’s Old Guitarist and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks) is excluded from the policy.
Visitors to the Delaware Art Museum‘s website can now search for works in its newly launched online collection. So far, this includes more than 1,000 works of art; the museum’s entire collection is expected to be online by 2018. You can read more about this new feature in the museum’s press release.
Located in Wilmington, the Delaware Art Museum is best known for its important collections of Pre-Raphaelite art; Howard Pyle, the Brandywine School, and American illustration; and John Sloan and the Ashcan School.
UD’s VisualCat (LUNA) collections were officially retired on June 30, 2013. All of the VRC’s images that were formerly in VisualCat are now available exclusively in our Shared Shelf collection in ARTstor. You can find more details about ARTstor, Shared Shelf, and the former VisualCat in my earlier post.
ARTstor has announced that it will soon discontinue the use of Java in its Digital Library. This comes after security concerns over Java caused some subscriber institutions to drop support for Java, effectively preventing them from using ARTstor at all. While this has not occurred at UD, we have noticed some technical difficulties with Java recently.
We won’t know how much of a change this will mean for regular ARTstor users until we see it in action, but I suspect it will only require minor adjustments to our current habits. After the switch, downloads will arrive to you as zip files, a change which will likely affect PC users (who may have the added step of “unzipping” the files) somewhat more than Mac users.
The VRC staff will be here to help if you have any problems during the transition!
After many years of development, the Getty Research Institute has finally begun to roll out its newest online vocabulary, the Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA). It joins the Getty’s other vocabularies–the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)–all of which have become standard reference tools for cataloguers of works of art.
The aim of CONA is even more ambitious than those of its fellow vocabularies. Whereas the scope of AAT was limited to art historical terms, TGN to place names, and ULAN to artists, CONA will eventually include (in theory, at least) an authoritative record for every work of art and architecture ever created.
As you can imagine, this is a massive undertaking that will require many more years of work. Right now there are only about 1000 records in CONA, and these draw heavily from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, with works like Van Gogh’s Irises. There are also records for some of the major landmarks of world architecture, like the Pantheon and Taj Mahal. The total number of records is still small enough that you will probably have more success exploring CONA by browsing rather than searching. But regardless of its current limitations, for the first time we are getting a glimpse of what will soon become one of the most important metadata resources.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Loge, 1874, Courtauld Gallery, London
ARTstor has released a number of important new image collections recently. These include the following:
The Courtauld Gallery (one of London’s most renowned small museums; it’s the home to Édouard Manet’s famous A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and other masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting)
If you find that you are unable to download images from ARTstor, you may need to upgrade the version of Java that’s running on your computer. You can read ARTstor’s notice for more information on fixing this problem, or stop by the VRC and we can help you out!