Digitized Freer|Sackler collections up and running

As promised, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s digitized collections went live on January 1st, 2015. The new website is called Open F|S and is populated with high resolution images of the museums’ 40,000 works of Asian art. You can search by keyword or browse by object type, topic, name, culture, place, date and whether it’s currently on display.

Just to take the database for a quick spin, I did a keyword search for “peacock” because I am thoroughly obsessed by the Peacock Room, originally a dining/Chinese porcelain display room in the London home of shipping magnate Frederick R. Leyland that was lavishly decorated by James McNeill Whistler in 1876-7. The entire room was purchased in 1904 by future museum founder Charles Lang Freer who had it installed in his Detroit home. It was moved to the new Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., after Freer’s death in 1919. All that moving wasn’t good for the room. Attempts to repair structural damage in the late 1940s neglected much of Whistler’s work, leaving colors darkened and patterns obscured. The room was returned to its early splendour by a punctilious cleaning and conservation in 1993 and is now on display in all its glory.

The Peacock Room exhibition page has a nice image gallery, but the photographs are too small to feast upon the details to my satisfaction. Those dark days are over now. The Open F|S entry on the Peacock Room has four huge pictures that you can click on to zoom in or that you can download.

The peacock search results pointed me to a wealth of other beautiful objects. The textiles are particularly fantastic to view in high resolution because you can see the details of the stitching and fabric, like in this late 18th century painting on silk by Mori Sosen. I also love seeing ceramics, like this gazelle vessel made in 12th-14th century Syria that is part of Freer’s ceramic collection on display in the Peacock Room, in extreme close-up because the cracks and flakes give you a whole new perspective on the glazing and design.

If you plan to enjoy this resource for browsing or to make art work of your own using the Freer and Sackler collection images, consider signing up as a beta tester. They are looking people willing and eager to go down the rabbit holes of this vast digital wonderland and report back on any issues. So far I’ve encountered a couple of minor weirdnesses — the zoom feature cutting the picture in half, difficulty clicking between the different Peacock Room images — but they were quickly resolved by refreshing. The only actual feature that I reported as questionable is that you can zoom past the native resolution which gives you a close-up view of a lot of pixellated, blurry edges. I think the zoom should max out at the highest res. Beta testers will also be given early access to future closed test versions of Open F|S which sounds like good clean fun to me.

Share

RSS feed

5 Comments »

Comment by rita Roberts
2015-01-04 07:11:53

Thank you. What a delightful experience being able to see these beautiful works of art close-up.

 
Comment by Rebecca
2015-01-04 10:44:07

Thank you, thank you! This is an amazing way to look at Persian miniatures, Whistler etchings, Japanese woodblock prints… And peacocks of course!

 
Comment by Annie Delyth
2015-01-04 18:16:59

I am overwhelmed… I don’t know where to start. How does one wander aimlessly in a digital display that goes on endlessly and never closes? This could take days. At least the restroom is nearby, but what about the cafe? I’ll have to fix my own meals? Okaaay, heading in…

 
Comment by Annie Delyth
2015-01-04 18:34:01

Oh, well, I guess going onto a content heavy site on a cold icy Sunday evening wasn’t really a good idea… especially with my isp. Oh, well. When all the kids are back in school…

 
Comment by Mitch Featherston
2015-01-08 14:06:00

This is clearly an amazing effort.Lots of wonderful imagery. Too bad they have riddled the site with goofy ‘Terms of use’ (http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/usage/) links everywhere when clearly much of it would/should be considered publid domain.

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI

;) :yes: :thanks: :skull: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :hattip: :giggle: :facepalm: :evil: :eek: :cry: :cool: :confused: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Navigation

Search

Archives

October 2020
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Other

Add to Technorati Favorites

Syndication