Posts Tagged ‘posters’

The RISD Digital Image Database runs on a piece of open source software called MDID, developed at James Madison University, which is used by many other institutions throughout the country to catalog and deliver digital images. Some of these institutions have made part of their digital collections freely available to other MDID users, by incorporating them ‘remotely’ into local image databases. The Visual Resources Center is proud to announce the incorporation into the RDID database of the following image collections:

  • Art Images for College Teaching: Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) is a personal, non-profit project of its author, art historian and visual resources curator Allan T. Kohl, consisting of 2,900 records. AICT is intended primarily to disseminate images of art and architectural works in the public domain on a free-access, free-use basis to all levels of the educational community, as well as to the public at large.
  • Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: A collection of 106 digital images taken from “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War,” issued serially in 1887-1888 by Century Magazine. The massive four-volume set consisted of articles, memoirs, and reminiscences, which quickly became accepted as the comprehensive (and surprisingly unbiased) account of the War. According to the digital set’s author, Allan Kohl, “the nearly 3000 pages of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War featured more than a thousand maps, engraved portraits, spot designs, and other original artwork created by some of America’s top illustrators. These included familiar names such as A. R. Waud and Winslow Homer, men who had been highly regarded as field correspondent sketch artists during the actual conflict. But Century also commissioned new illustrations from the outstanding military subject specialists of its own day, artists such as J. O. Davidson, H. A. Ogden, and Isaac Walton Taber. This project contains a selection of over one hundred of the best examples from among these illustrations, including both battle scenes and camp life, along with details of weapons and uniforms.”
  • English Architecture: The James Collection of English Architecture (c.1100-1800 CE) was photographed by Sara Nair James, professor of Renaissance Art at Mary Baldwin College, Virginia, and consists of 648 digital images and their accompanying records. The archive includes cathedrals and parish churches from the Norman Romanesque period; ecclesiastical buildings in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles; Medieval secular architecture including castles, marketplaces and town halls; Perpendicular Gothic collegiate buildings; Tudor, Elizabethan, Baroque and Neoclassical country houses and churches.
  • Historic Illustrations of Art & Architecture: The 297 historic illustrations included in this project by Allan Kohl were originally published during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many appeared in publications that predated the widespread use of photography for art documentation. “These engravings, line drawings, and plans reflect both the technological and aesthetic standards of their time. By their very nature, they often represent subjective interpretations of the monuments and works depicted, and as such they offer fascinating insights into the cultural values of art and architectural history during the formative years of these disciplines…. Anyone wishing to use these images for teaching and research purposes should bear this in mind. Moreover, some of these illustrations may no longer reflect current scholarship due to ongoing research and critical reassessment of individual sites and works since their original publication. Therefore, the use of these images for pedagogical purposes should be complemented as necessary by comparison with updated plans, drawings, and photographs of the subject works and sites.” [ Allan Kohl]
  • Historic Posters (1880 – 1918): This collection, also created by Allan Kohl, consists of 162 digital images of late-nineteenth and early twentieth century European posters. In the words of the collection’s author, “In the late nineteenth century, lithographers began to use mass-produced zinc plates rather than stones in their printing process. This innovation allowed them to prepare multiple plates, each with a different color ink, and to print these with close registration on the same sheet of paper. Posters in a range of colors and variety of sizes could now be produced quickly, at modest cost. Skilled illustrators and graphic designers – such as Alphonse Mucha, Jules Cheret, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec — quickly began to exploit this new technology; the “Golden Age of the Poster” (1880s through the First World War) was the spectacular result. This collection of over one hundred and sixty digital images of historic posters from this period was originally compiled to support the teaching of Design History and Graphic Design courses at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design…. All of these works are in the public domain under United States Copyright Law.”
  • John Tenniel and the American Civil War: Political Cartoons from Punch, 1860-1865: “John Tenniel is best known as the original illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Before teaming up with Lewis Carroll, he was the chief cartoonist for the British periodical Punch, a weekly journal of political and social satire, and is regarded as one of the pioneers in developing the genre of the political cartoon as we know it today. Each issue of Punch featured a “principal cartoon,” printed full page on a single side of the paper for highest quality reproduction under the standards of the time. Between 1860-1865 Tenniel produced some 56 cartoons commenting on the conflict in America from a sometimes very biased British perspective. These would be of potential interest to anyone dealing with topics such as the history of diplomacy and international relations during the Civil War, the development of the political cartoon as a genre, or the relationship of popular illustration to high art. Because Tenniel maintained high standards of draftsmanship, and as Punch appealed to an erudite upper class readership, these cartoons offer fascinating insights into the social life of Victorian England, and also provide useful resources for costume and design history.” [ Allan Kohl]
  • Madison Art Collection: James Madison University’s collection of 1035 art images is quite varied, ranging from the late Neolithic Period (3,000 BCE) to contemporary art. Areas where it has strengths include the ancient Near East, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, West Africa, and Russian religious art. It also contains a large number of paintings by the 19th and 20th century American landscape artists, Walter and Eliot Clark. Further the Madison Art Collection is an official repository of arts and crafts objects created in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), including quilts, prints, and paintings.

To download images from these remote collections, login to RDID, go to the Search page, and check the box next to the collection’s name. Users can then do keyword searches within each specific collection, and download the images by clicking on the floppy disk icon below the thumbnails. For cross-collection searching, check as many boxes as needed, and use keyword searches.


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The RISD Digital Image Database, RDID, continues to grow apace, thanks to requests from our very committed faculty. These are some of the image groups we have uploaded in the past month:

Posters from German-occupied France during WWII

20th Century Chinese Art

New Yorker Magazine Cartoons

Marginalia in Medieval Manuscripts

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