, contrary to popular opinion. Might we be concentrating on the wrong things?
For a long time, Artemisia Gentileschi’s paintings have been interpreted almost exclusively as symbolic revenge against the man who raped her, but a historian argues we should see her as a champion of strong women instead.
Leonardo da Vinci; Mona Lisa; 1503-1506, Musée du Louvre. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com Unknown artist (Gravettian culture), Palaeolithic; Venus of Willendorf; circa 30,000-25,000 BCE; Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com Edouard Manet; Olympia; 1863-1865; Musée d’Orsay. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com
In in the vast, global virtual museum of the Artstor Digital Library, women are rising to the top. Our recent use statistics reveal that portraits and likenesses of the fairer sex (your interpretation…) dominate. The subject of women prevailed among the top 20 hits, with, you guessed it, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, c. 1505, his serene queen, as number one (more than 12,000 views), followed closely by the Venus of Willendorf, c. 30,000-25,000 B.C.E., and Manet’s Olympia, 1863, each a distinctive icon of a particular era.
Among our fine and plentiful selections from the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn, 1967, arguably the modern MonaLisa, topped the charts, prevailing over favorites by Pieter Bruegel I, Caspar David Friedrich, Jan van Eyck and Hans Holbein the Younger. At MoMA, another version, the Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962, figured among the top ten, and its shimmering ground recalls so many Byzantine and early Italian Madonnas, like Giotto’s Ognissanti Madonna, c. 1310, one of the most frequented images across all of our collections.
Constantine Manos, Watching the dance, Olympos, Karpathos, 1960s. Thomas L. Adams, Jr. Photographic Collection, Teti Library, New Hampshire Institute of Art
This fall, the New Hampshire Institute of Art published a first selection of 22 images from its Thom Adams Photograph Collection on Shared Shelf Commons. The collection, a gift from 2011, includes around 300 original photographic prints by world class photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries belonging to collector, photographer, and New Hampshire resident Thomas L. Adams. The collection is being released in batches as it gets digitized, cataloged, and cleared for publication.
The Thom Adams Photograph Collection is made up largely of works that explore lifestyles, customs, and human relationships through portraiture, figurative studies, documentary photography, and street photography. Photographers represented in the collection include Annie Leibovitz, Todd Webb, George Platt Lynes, and Steve McCurry, as well as many lesser known artists.
The beginning of the 21st century was an especially auspicious time for the global arts community. While New York retained its place as a cultural capital, its standing in the world seemed buffeted by larger forces.
As curator Gary Carrion-Murayari pointed out, the 1990s had a large influence on how we see art today. “Some of the artists who were doing things that were shocking then, we take for granted now.”
It was a turbulent time, as major institutions were upended. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. A stock market crash set off a recession keenly felt in the art market. New York gallery owner Mary Boone, named “The New Queen of the Art Scene” in the eighties, reflected on the downturn in 1992. “Value in everything is being questioned,” she said. “The psychology in the 80’s was excess; in the 90’s, it’s about conservation.”
Quall’s collection opens during the hurly-burly of the 1980s, the era of Reaganomics and Wall Street’s “greed is good,” and the rise of AIDS. It was also a time when the booming stock market transformed street artists into superstars.