Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Smithsonian releases 2.8 million+ images that can be used for free

This appears to be a new announcement, and here is the article I stumbled across on Twitter:
The Smithsonian has released more than 2.8 million images you can use for free - Included are images from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo (Altogether, the Smithsonian site says 16 million records and 4.2 million images, audio, and video.) What's really helpful is that the collection is listed with a Creative Commons Zero license, making them free of any republishing restrictions.
As you can imagine, with that many images/resources, it will require some serious searching to find something that you want. Use the starting search page which will provide suggestions once you start typing in a term (cf. above) to get you to the results page which will allow you to start refining the search.
 As this screenshot shows, you can start using inclusion/exclusion terms based on type, place, media, etc. (On this search for Jerusalem, note the line of red characters indicating what I've added and removed. I had to remove -topic:"Dicotyledonae," because there were over 200 images of this particular plant recorded from Jerusalem.) Note that results not only include images, but a variety of media. E.g., a search on "Jesus" included a link to the Smithsonian Channel and this video on "The Science behind Crucifixion" with the famous ankle bone with the nail of the crucified man.
There is plenty of Bible-related artwork, and I did come across some interesting old photographs from the early 1900s. HERE is a stereoscopic one from Corinth in 1903 of the Temple of Apollo. (You're likely to get better results more quickly using BiblePlace's "Historic Views of the Holy Land," however!)
If you find something really interesting, please let me know!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

St. Catherine Monastery Icons Now Available Online
The ~iconic~ images from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai have now been digitized and made available online. HERE is the article with more info. HERE is the Princeton site that is hosting the images. The site notes:
This website displays all the color transparencies and color slides in the possession of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton. The online images are limited to a size of 1024 pixels. These images are available to download and use for teaching and scholarly purposes.
There are 1294 images, and they can be browsed by tag or searched.

BTW, the center image crop at the top is the oldest and one of the more famous images of Christ Pantokrator from the 6th century. Quite a few years ago, I was puzzled by the sort of side-eye Jesus had in the drawing, so I did a little image manipulation to mirror the two sides of his face. It highlights that Jesus is being depicted both as Savior and Judge. I've since discovered that I'm certainly not the only nor first to recognize this, but if someone has a link to the 'rules' of iconography that detail this aspect, please share. Also, at least in the crude way I composed the two images, it sure looks like a dove on the neck of Jesus on the left and a lion on the one on the right. Is that my imagination, or is that also a part of the iconographer's intent?