Visual Resources Update May 2021

Visual Resources Update May 2021


old hand colored photograph of children playing in front of windmills with triangular sails
From the Greek Lantern Slide Digitization Project: Mykonos, windmills outside of town (GK_PH_28.19.1)

VR received a large number of image request before the pandemic, and those increased in 2020. John Blazejewski (Senior Staff Photographer and Digital Imaging Specialist) primarily captured images from the Weitzmann/Sinai collection and the Antioch and Morgantina excavations and continued to edit images for the various digital projects VR has in process, such as the Greek Lantern Slide Digitization Project. In September of 2020, John returned to his studio in McCormick Hall for a few hours a week where he photographed, scanned, and edited original material (most from Marquand) for publications for a number of A&A faculty, other faculty and research scholars, and the VR.  He also (virtually) met with and advised graduate students regarding camera purchases, use, and software. We were unable to celebrate John’s (30 year!) work anniversary in 2020 but hopefully we can remedy that in the future.


Piece of pottery, cream, green and yellow glazed, with handwritten numbers on the edge
One sherd from a collection of two boxes sent to Alfred R. Bellinger at Yale in 1947 for a course taught by Henry Immerwahr. Information from these collections is being integrated into the Antioch excavation database.

A recent meeting of scholars currently working and publishing Antioch explored one of the most frustrating aspects of the excavation: that the material has been ‘atomized’ (as Asa Eger, Associate Professor, UNC Greensboro describes it) across the globe. For example, Prof. Alan Stahl located a notebook by Clarence Fisher from the very beginning of the excavation, unknown to those studying Antioch, held at ASOR, Boston. From reviewing archival correspondence, Julia Gearhart has recently located teaching collections of pottery at Yale, Bryn Mawr, and the Walters Museum in Baltimore. Teaching collections have also been tracked to Wellesley College and the University of Cincinnati but these have not been located. Three gifts of sculpture to individuals are also being sought as is the provenance of an Antioch mosaic currently for sale in NYC. Most people are familiar with the mosaics in museums, but there is considerably more than that: the story of the Antioch excavation continues…


Plans are underway for the next exhibition, which will be somewhere in Green Hall (to be determined over the summer). However, if anyone would like to consider incorporating an exhibition into their fall or spring course we would be happy to assist. Likewise, if you would like to incorporate specific images into the image viewer on your course page in Canvas we would be happy to help with that as well. Please email Julia Gearhart if interested.


Screenshot from a virtual museum tour; painting on left, wall label on right
Screenshot of the virtual National Gallery tour

National Gallery virtual exhibiton (‘The Director’s Choice’)

A special exhibit at the Oriental Institute: 19th century photographs of Iran by Antoin Sevruguin

An interesting copyright issue concerning public sculpture: Romanian politician gears up to sue Brancusi’s heir over longstanding copyright battle

Visual Resources Update April 2021

Visual Resources Update April 2021


Black and white image of the Genesis
Smyrna, Evangelical School A.1. fol. 2v

Justin Willson, Postgraduate Research Associate in medieval art, recently asked us for a quality image of Smyrna, Evangelical School A.1, fol. 2v, the Creation. Since the actual manuscript was destroyed by fire in 1922 he was hoping for a better quality image than what he could obtain from existing publications. Some images can be found online, but those of folio 2v are quite poor. Lo and behold, there is an envelope of photographic prints of this manuscript in the VR Weitzmann image collection. On the back of each print is a stamp with the name Paul Buberl, an Austrian art historian. From the stamp it is unclear whether Buberl took the photograph, or whether it was simply in his collection or produced by him and given to Weitzmann. Regardless, the quality of all the prints is quite good, so John Blazejewski photographed and edited the print to produce a quality image.

The move out of McCormick Hall has required the reorganization of VR collections which have filled all corners of the second floor. In one of the less accessible storage rooms a handful of large images of architecture on old particle board were leaning in between the cabinets of oversized mounted prints. On the back of each is a sticker from the Museum of Modern Art. We have not completed the research, but we believe these are associated with the 1932 MoMA exhibition on Modern Architecture.

Of note: this recent NY Times article, addressing the living situations in which many Syrian refugees currently find themselves, with ancient sites once again providing shelter. As the VR Butler Syria Location Concordance Project continues, here is a view of a private house at Deir Amman from Howard Crosby Butler’s 1905 expedition, and again today, with a little girl looking out from her family’s encampment (photograph by Ivor Prickett). Through the online publication of Butler’s photographs and journals we hope to shed some light on these sites, some of which have been changed by war, others which have very much stayed the same.



  • Explore the extensive digitization efforts of the Louvre.
  • Wildenstein Plattner Institute offers an online archives/auctions viewer.
  • Have you heard of fingernail art?
  • Update to Zotero: fantastic built-in PDF reader with many annotation features; better notes; a new tabbed interface so you can have multiple items open at the same time; full support for embedded images. Also, iOS app is coming soon and Princeton is now offering free unlimited storage!


Visual Resources Update March 2021

Visual Resources Update March 2021


Green and black hardbound books on a wooden shelf, The Dictionary of Art

In preparation for the upcoming move to Green Hall, VR continues to sort, pack and weed materials. The multi-volume Grove Dictionary of Art and other art reference books used in Visual Resources found a new home on 3/25 at Trenton Central High School as a lending library to students taking part in Princeton ArcPrep. ArcPrep is a program developed in part by the Princeton School of Architecture to introduce teens to the discipline of architecture, a field which sorely lacks diversity.

VR is also working on cleanup and reconciliation of past cataloging data. In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a visualization of the nationalities of women creators currently represented in our database, with bright yellow indicating the largest concentration of artists in our records. Our data examination involves looking at underrepresented creators, countries, works, etc. and planning additions to our collection that expand representation. We are also considering cataloging terminology that is no longer useful, with an eye to improving accuracy and discoverability.

Number of women artists in A&A image collection, mapped
Data visualization by Michele.


Harvard Art Museum Logo

Jacob attended the Harvard Art Museums lecture: “Troubling Images: Curating Collections of Historical Photographs” which discussed the analysis and presentation of photography involving troubling images of slavery and violence against indigenous peoples and communities of color. Mark Sealy of the University of the Arts London, Makeda Best of Harvard Art Museums, and Ilisa Barbash of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, presented.

VR staff (Julia, Yichin and Michele) attended the remote Visual Resources Association conference March 22-26, taking part in sessions covering: data reconciliation, improving metadata workflows, intellectual property rights, and building innovative digital projects, among others.


The word HOPE in rainbow with Radical Hope, Critical Change underneath

  • We encourage everyone to explore the Pitt Rivers Museum: Radical Hope, Critical Change series of events as they tackle “decolonizing” the museum. The events will focus on how Western museums have relied on colonial ideas that have erased the many ways of knowing and being of people from around the world in favour of promoting one viewpoint. The series will consider how museums can change to support humanity, our relationships to each other, to the environment and to things.”




  • Do you have trouble keeping track of your images? Check out Tropy, a “free open-source software that allows you to organize and describe photographs of research material.” Here is a webinar for graduate students (we recommend starting at the 12:00 mark if you just want the nitty-gritty). VR has requested an art-centered webinar from Tropy and it is coming!


Visual Resources Update February 2021

Visual Resources Update February 2021


Screenshot of many images of the same Byzantine icon within a dark rectangle (image viewer).
Screenshot of the new Sinai icon collection website.

Visual Resources is finalizing the new Sinai Archive website, which will replace  and includes all the images of the icons from the University of Michigan and Princeton together at last.

It is being used in classes this spring at Princeton with ART310 ‘The Icon’ taught by Justin Willson and at Michigan with HISTART 394-002  ‘Saints in Medieval Art’ by Paroma Pratterjee. We are not unveiling it publicly yet (that will be at the Byzantine Conference in October) but if anyone is interested in seeing it, we are sharing the link and would like feedback. We believe it to be the first use of IIIF and an image viewer to present single works with images from different collections and with different canvas-level information.



Sepia tone photograph of two people standing in a ruin
Tell Akibrin

In an effort to make all of Howard Crosby Butler’s Syria Expedition archive (all notebooks and drawings) available online in an interactive map, VR is working with Butler’s own site data, and establishing concordance with other sources to determine geographic coordinates. We started this work in May 2020 with the assistance of TCNJ students, continued with the help of Princeton students over the summer, and Michele Mazeris is nearing the end of this phase of edits. The data will soon move to area specialists (including Dr. Ross Burns, former Australian Ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, who has kindly made his extensive site data available) before being published online via OpenContext.


Coin cast
Coin cast from Morgantina excavation.

While Visual Resources staff has had limited access to McCormick, efforts have been made this month to digitize large portions of the Morgantina archive’s photographic contact sheets in order to assist researchers in selecting desired negatives for higher quality scans. Professor Ingrid Edlund-Berry of UT Austin and Professor Malcolm Bell of UVA have benefited from this workflow, led by Jacob Wheeler. New photography by John Blazejewski of coin casts in the collection was also produced for Professor Bell.


Ultra close image of paint texture on paintingPAINTINGS ARE NOT FLAT

The V&A launches Explore the Collections, a newly redesigned search and discovery collection interface.

Kress Foundation launches a new IIIF site. This means Visual Resources can put these images directly into the image viewer in Canvas! They’ve also launched the Kress Collection Digital Archive which documents the history, acquisition, condition and care of the more than 3,000 works of art in the collection.

Detail of Bayeux tapestry, soldier with head chopped off Explore the entire Bayeux Tapestry online in amazing resolution!


Visual Resources Update January 2021

Visual Resources Update January 2021

At the request of the VRC Committee (which met at the beginning of December), Visual Resources will provide a monthly email describing new and
ongoing work, this being the first.

If you are interested in utilizing the Image Viewer for your course in Canvas in the spring, please email so we can set that up for you. There are many options for how the images are put together in the viewer, and you are welcome to use your own photographs.



The VR held a successful copyright workshop for graduate students on Nov. 6 which featured presentations by VR staff, Hannah Yohalem (Ed. for ARTMargins), Lucy Partman and Wes Markham from PU General Counsel.

Faculty publication permissions: we now have two forms, one for general inquires (geared towards graduate students) and one for faculty on our website.

For those feeling adventurous, here’s a video tutorial (in our Sharepoint sub-site) of a little work-around that may help you obtain larger images online. You may have seen this in the department meeting.

The existing Antioch website spurred the identification of a collection of Antioch sherds at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, something no one knew! We knew Harvard had some sherds, and Cornell, but this teaching collection was a mystery to them. This discovery shows how getting the information out there can have a very meaningful impact both for the holding repository and for us because their collection contains material from sector 17-O, the focus of the first volume of the new Antiochene Series to be published by Brepols.

Pottery with item number label in box

2020 was a busy year for publication requests of department archival holdings, as usual the most popular collection is the Sinai expedition photographs and the rest of the Weitzmann archive.

Interesting projects, new resources:

A Digital Project Handbook: from the Wired! Lab (Digital Art History &
Visual Culture) at Duke

12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive.
Explore Sunset Boulevard throughout 60 years as photographed by LA
photographer Ed Ruscha and archived by the Getty
Made possible with IIIF

Tropy for Graduate Students webinar
How to use the open source image management platform on your

New Resources (February)

What do we think about Yale scrapping their art history survey course? Is that even what this article describes?

A great article celebrating the open access policy at Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, and, from the National Museum of American History, a lovely example of a museum resisting the call for perfection before publishing collection records.

A really interesting resource of historical photography of China, put together by the University of Bristol:

Eagerly awaiting the digital publication related to the upcoming exhibition: Exquisite Patterns: Japanese Textile Design, at the British Library.

Front cover of Ayanishiki / [henshūsha Nishijin Orimonokan] digitized by the British Library
Ayanishiki / [henshūsha Nishijin Orimonokan], (Kyōto: Unsōdō, [Taishō 7 [1918])
The Art Institute of Chicago wrote a piece about how to search their fantastic new online collection:

Like the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and the Finnish National Gallery, the searching, faceting and presentation of these collections is really changing!

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has led them (Watson Library and the Museum Archives) to digitize the records of Francis Henry Taylor, the 5th director of the museum from 1940-1955. These records make for fascinating reading, especially those concerned with the wartime safety of artworks.

New Resources (January)

A lot of people are probably familiar with the beautiful Closer to Van Eyck website about the restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece. The website was recently updated and now includes further works by Jan van Eyck but beware one caveat which has been pointed out by Douglas McCarthy, Collections Manager at Europeana:

“These images are not available for commercial publications or other items made for profit. Images will be provided free of charge for scholarly publications, although shipping and handling fees may apply.”

CODART claims this while also stating that the website provides “high-quality, standardized technical images of the paintings available online in open access.”

Screenshot from: Closer to van Eyck. Map of Europe with van Eyck paintings located.
Screenshot from: Closer to van Eyck. Map of Europe with van Eyck paintings located.

Given that van Eyck died in 1441 these images should really be available at no fee. Thankfully, in a few years all European institutions will have to abide by Article 14: what is in the public domain in analogue form stays in the public domain in digital.

Emma Stanford, Digital Curator at the Bodleian Digital Library, created a quiz to help you find your favorite manuscript in their collection. Take it and see! Click here.

Botanical drawings of Chinese plants with Chinese names. Bodleian MS 5304. fol. 15r
Botanical drawings of Chinese plants with Chinese names. Bodleian MS 5304. fol. 15r

The New York-based Wildenstein-Plattner Institute (WPI) is digitizing and will make available their archives: 100 years of annotated sale catalogues, letters and notes.

Over 100,000+ artworks from 14 Paris museums are now available as open content!

The Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia has recently digitized over 1,000 drawings, prints, watercolors and posters and made high resolution images available online!

Glorious glass lantern slides

Below are just a few examples of the amazing images we have found while weeding through our collection of glass lantern slides. We have started the digitization of a few key sub-collections. For the full collection we will post an inventory of the locations represented and digitize them as requested.


New Resources (December)

Check out this 3D image of a Japanese folding screen (Edo period, mid 17th c. by Master of I-nen Seal (1600-1630), F1962.30) from the Sackler Museum and then look at it through the collections  image viewer:

Hooray for 3D imaging and Sketchfab!

There is a new absolutely gorgeous online collection for the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst):

Learn more about the process of putting their collections online here.

Read this interesting article: The Great Wave: what Hokusai’s masterpiece tells us about museums, copyright and online collections today. By Douglas McCarthy of Europeana.

New Resources (November)

Firstly, you can now download high resolution images of every plate in John J. Audubon’s Birds of America Book!:

If you came to the Matthew Lincoln talk you may find this blog post from the digital humanities center at UVa (the Scholar’s Lab) really interesting: Thinking About [Art] Collections As Data

Newly digitized collections at the Library of Congress include the history of women’s suffrage, Civil War history, and Olmstead Associates Landscape Architectural Firm.

Explore projects at the University of Chicago to provide images of Buddhist works spread across museums back into context and with 3-D viewing. The Xiangtangshan Caves Project and the Tianlongshan Caves Project.

The Judy Chicago Research Portal bridges collections housed at Penn State University, the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.