Take a look at the Ghent Altarpiece in 100 billion pixels. Amazing.
Aaaaahh! I spent a couple of hours staring at this when I visited Ghent a couple of years ago. It’s one of those works of art where there simply isn’t enough time to stand and stare and see everything.
The actual zoomable image (in colour, under infrared, and under x-ray) can be found on the Closer to Van Eyck website, along with some fascinating detail of how the images were taken.
Wow. Art historians and art geeks of the world rejoice.
Fascinating! How on earth have I not stumbled across this before? A marvellous project from the Library of Congress in the USA, and UNESCO. Do take a look. Lots of marvellous artefacts and books from around the world.
Thanks to @epoz on twitter, I have had a peek at arkyves.org, an image database which pulls together thousands of images of art, and indexes them using the Iconclass taxonomy. Many (all?) of the images are already available online, but the beauty of Arkyves is that it pulls them together in one place.
I enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours meandering around the site and learning how to use it. I think I would have found it invaluable when I was a student, especially because it allows you to see thumbnails of many images of the same theme/type. Predictably, I looked at images of the nativity, and of the magi, and enjoyed comparing the different styles and approaches (especially the one from a Birgittine breviary).
I also looked to see if I could find any useful pictures of fathers/fatherhood, as challenged by @kindofpalejewel. I didn’t find the Iconclass category for ‘fatherhood’ that helpful, but that may reflect more on my own inadequacies and lack of familiarity with the schema. I found keyword searches successful. I liked that I could use Boolean for my searches, so a very basic search for father NOT God meant I could concentrate on a mere 288 manuscript illuminations that looked promising, but weren’t of the Trinity. If I’d been feeling imaginative, I’m sure I could’ve done a more complex query, but I was mostly enjoying the slideshow!
I was particularly entertained (some might say childishly!) by f.12v from The Hague KB 78 D 43, which shows Noah’s son Ham mocking his father for his drunkenness and nakedness. I also liked The Hague MMW 10 B23. See f17v for another embarrassing picture of Noah and f14v for a possibly more-book-cover-worthy image of the same people, but before the drunkenness set in… there is a whole world of iconography here that I never knew existed!
Arkyves is still being developed, and it shows in a few places. For some reason the ‘Themes’ button didn’t work so well for me - a long lag loading the Iconclass themes (actually, they never did load for the images I looked at). I thought the raw metadata for each image was rich, but that the abbreviations and layout used was not always intuitive. It would be helpful to include a hyperlink to the website of the library which owns the artwork (if there is a link, I didn’t spot it), especially if the user wants to obtain copyright permission to use one of the images in a publication. Also, there were some confusing abbreviations - especially in the collection names.
Overall though, I think it’s a really neat project. I absolutely loved being able to view so many images from different libraries side by side. I’m very grateful for the chance to test it out, and wish @epoz et al. every success.
I had no idea this was online! I remember the days of it being a beast of a database when I was a student. I confess I never quite got the hang of it. I’m excited to see it’s online - and more user friendly. Hurray!
I’m not an art historian, so I’ve not come across this website/system before. “Iconclass is a subject-specific classification system. It is a hierarchically ordered collection of definitions of objects, people, events and abstract ideas that serve as the subject of an image. Art historians, researchers and curators use it to describe, classify and examine the subject of images represented in various media such as paintings, drawings and photographs.” Using the browser you can search through a ton of images by keyword(s). Really interesting stuff.
Pretty medieval manuscript of the day: is this Book of Hours of Sarum (Salisbury) use from the collection at Southern Methodist University’s Bridwell Library. I love the delicateness of the ivy leaf border decoration, and the mosaic-effect in the background. I also really like the reds and pinks behind Mary and Elizabeth (it looks like the Visitation to me). Funny, as it’s normally the blues that get me.
July. From the Tres riches heures of Jean duc du Berry. The manuscript is the work of the Limbourg brothers, and is one of the most famous and beautiful surviving works of medieval illumination. Images from the book are reproduced in so many places that it’s easy to become a bit blase about them. Look again. Really carefully. It is exquisite.
For further info, take a look at this useful page on the University of Sheffield’s website.