Joan of Arc. Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1897. Oil on canvas.
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that more than 375,000 images found in the museum’s online collection are now available for free and unrestricted use. The high-resolution images are licensed under Creative Commons, the non-profit organization that facilities the public use of some 1.1 billion digital works.
The announcement is an update to the Met’s 2014 initiative placing hundreds of thousands of images into the public domain, but the expanded policy, called Open Access, now allows for unrestricted usage including commercial purposes. The vast library of paintings, historical objects, photographs, textiles, and prints can now be utilized anywhere for any purpose. Metropolitan Museum of Art Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell shares in the announcement:
We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years. Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the Museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas. We thank Creative Commons, an international leader in open access and copyright, for being a partner in this effort.
All images available through the new Open Access policy are searchable on the Met’s website. Simply check the “Public Domain Artworks” option under “Show only” and start searching. Seen here is a small collection of images available through the new policy. (via My Modern Met)
Victorian Interior I. Horace Pippin, 1945. Oil on canvas.
Openwork furniture plaque with ram-headed sphinx. Neo-Assyrian. ca. 9th–8th century B.C.
Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1868–69. Oil on cavas.
Panel with striding lion. Mesopotamia, Babylon (modern Hillah, Iraq) ca. 604–562 B.C. Ceramic, glaze.
Mäda Primavesi. Gustav Klimt, 1912–13. Oil on canvas.
Frederick Douglass. Portrait by Mathew B. Brady, 1880.
Award to the Hammond Typewriter Company. Jules-Clément Chaplain (French, Mortagne, Orne 1839–1909 Paris). Bronze.
In the Northeast suburbs of central Osaka stands a curious train station unlike any other. Kayashima Station features a rectangular hole cut into the roof of the elevated platform and, from inside, a giant tree pokes its head out like a stalk of broccoli. It’s almost like a railway version of Laputa.
The large camphor tree is older than most records but officials believe it to be around 700 years old. The story of how this tree and station became, quite literally, intertwined, varies depending on who you ask. It certainly has to do with a great reverence for nature, but also a fair amount of superstition.
Kayashima Station first opened in 1910 and, at the time, the camphor tree stood right next to the station. For the next 60 years the station remained largely unchanged. But an increase in population and overcrowding began to put pressure on the station and plans for an expansion where approved in 1972, which called for the tree to be cut down.
But the camphor tree had long been associated with a local shrine and deity. And when locals found out that station officials planned to remove the tree there was a large uproar. Tales began to emerge about the tree being angry, and unfortunate events befalling anyone who attempted to cut it down. Someone who cut a branch off later in the day developed a high fever. A white snake was spotted, wrapped around the tree. Some even saw smoke arise from the tree (it was probably just a swarm of bugs).
And so, the station officials eventually agreed to keep the tree and incorporate it into the new elevated platform’s design. In 1973 construction began and the new station was completed in 1980. The station even surrounded the base of the tree with a small shrine. To this day, the tree still stands thanks to a strong, local community and a little bit of superstition. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
The full trailer for Loving Vincent (previously here and here), a film examining the life of Vincent van Gogh, has finally been released after nearly six years of creative development. Each of the 62,450 frames for the feature-length film were hand-painted by 115 professional oil painters, and will integrate 94 of Van Gogh’s paintings into the animation. First captured as a live action film, the final oil paintings replicate each shot, recreating the entire film frame-by-frame. Loving Vincent is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, and produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films and UK’s Trademark Films. You look behind-the-scenes of the film in the video below, as well as keep up-to-date with release information on the film’s Twitter and Facebook.
This brief educational film takes us into a paper marbling studio from the 1970s where centuries-old techniques are used to create elaborate marble-like designs on paper. The video was produced by the Bedfordshire County Council and posted online by the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives. (via Laughing Squid)
Carved the size of a palm or smaller, these miniature boxwood carvings featuring religious iconography from the early 16th century have long been a mystery to researchers in the field. It is believed that the entire body of work was created during a 30-year window between 1500 and 1530, somewhere in Flanders or the Netherlands.
Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures will showcase AGO’s collection along with 50 other loaned pieces from other museums and private collections, including some rare carvings that have never been seen in North America. One work, the eleven-bead Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509-1526), was owned by King Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon. You can tour the full exhibition yourself at the AGO through January 22, at the Met Cloisters on February 21, 2017, or when the exhibition makes its last stop at the Rijksmuseum on June 15, 2017.
You can also follow AGO on their journey to discovering the mystery behind the boxwood miniatures in the video below, as well as see detailed images from the entire collection on AGO’s website. (via The History Blog)
A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail. Photo by Lida Xing, courtesy National Geographic.
The first known dinosaur tail preserved in a piece of amber was recently discovered by paleontologist Lida Xing while collection samples in Myanmar last year. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous Period some 99 million years ago, the roughly apricot-sized piece of amber contains a 1.4-inch appendage of 8 vertebrae unmistakably covered in primitive feathers. Scientists ruled out the possibility of the tail belonging to a bird, and based on its structure believe it came from a juvenile coelurosaur, a group of dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs. Via National Geographic:
While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.