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.
Caradosso, Pope Julius II [obverse] and View of Saint Peter’s [reverse], 1506 (photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington)
Let’s face it: if you live around here, you’re probably not going to be doing a lot of driving this weekend. With all the pandemonium surrounding Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia, many of us are either hunkering down at home or getting out of town altogether.
What better time to think about all your favorite popes in art? Of course the first pope, Saint Peter, is a key figure. During the Middle Ages, there were a bunch of popes named Gregory and Innocent and whatnot. There was a Saint Francis (who was said to have miraculously appeared to Pope Nicholas V), but until 2013 there had never been a Pope Francis. For awhile, the Papal Court even moved from Rome to southern France, and sometimes there were simply too many popes at once. At the height of the Renaissance, Julius II commissioned Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Stanze frescoes, and Bramante’s design for rebuilding Saint Peter’s Basilica. He also collected ancient sculptures like the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön, which would inspire generations of artists. But not everybody was a fan of such papal indulgence, or indulgences for that matter. Martin Luther and other reformers soon challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. When the Medici Pope Clement VII refused to annul the first marriage of Henry VIII, the king essentially declared himself the pope of England. The Vatican countered with a series of strong popes in the later 16th and 17th centuries. Innocent X was the patron of the Baroque sculptor Algardi, while Alexander VII preferred Bernini. But the temporal power of the popes began to wane in the 18th century, and by the death of the Pius IX in 1878, the Vatican complex was all that remained under their control.
ARTstor is releasing quite a number of new image collections as 2011 draws to a close. For the complete list of new releases, click here. A few of the most interesting of these recent collections are listed below (you can get additional information by clicking on each link):
ARTstor has just released the first 4000 of a projected 12,000 images from the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN), the premier photo agency for works of art in French museums. Along with the collections of major Parisian institutions like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, the RMN’s holdings also include works in many of France’s palaces and regional museums. The addition of RMN images instantly boosts the strength of ARTstor’s collections of both French art in general and non-French art housed in French museums. This is easily one of the most significant ARTstor releases in recent years.
You can read more about the RMN collection in ARTstor here.