Europeana’s Open Culture app (download it now!) showcases some great collections that introduce you to Europe’s cultural heritage. Last week, we highlighted one of the app’s five themes – ‘Treasures of the Past’. Today, it’s all about ‘Treasures of Art’.
The ‘Treasures of Art’ theme of the Europeana Open Culture app comes from the Rijksmuseum. You can explore over 120,000 items from their collections. This is exactly what I’ve been doing and I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve found with you. I’m sure you’ll have your own favourites – let me know by leaving a comment on this blog.
What I love about this collection is that it is so diverse, from masterpieces to sketches and from high art to miniature silver figures. And because the Rijksmuseum gives us high quality files to view and use, you can explore a big image and get right into every detail. My personal favourites are the sketches and studies. I think they show the person behind the art – they help us to understand the artist’s thought processes and to find out what concerned them. I love the scribbles on note paper and page after page of drawings in sketch books. They make me feel like a fly on a wall in an artist’s studio.
If you like the glimpse this blog gives you of ‘Treasures of Art’, then download the Europeana Open Culture app and discover even more.
‘Noord-Hollands meisje’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Tekenaar schetsend in de ruïne van Brederode’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Studie van een rechterarm en hand op een wijde mouw’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Landschap met de Intocht van Christus in Jerusalem‘, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘De astronnom’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Kop van een koe’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Hooiwagen’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Zittende man met glas en pijp’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Drie gratiën’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Boomhagedis’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Scharenslijper van zilver’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
‘Tulp en een papaver’, Rijksmuseum, public domain
Introducing Ad Polle, Europeana’s Senior User-Generated Content Projects Coordinator.
I have been working with cultural heritage for most, if not all, of my professional life. First it was books and photography, and later on, it was film. During my job as manager of the film collection at the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, I got involved with Europeana via the European Film Gateway, one of Europeana’s main moving image partners. Through this, I realised how important it is that archives digitise their collections and make them available for everybody.
At Europeana, I am primarily responsible for managing projects that involve the public and their own personal experiences of history, such as Europeana 1914-1918 and Europeana 1989. These are two truly fascinating projects that aim to collect personal memorabilia and stories from all over Europe on both themes. We go to very diverse places to record the stories, from high in the Italian Alps to the countryside of southern Denmark or from the empty fields in Flanders to a bustling Mediterranean city like Nicosia, Cyprus. It is great to meet the people, old and young, and to listen to the stories they have to tell. And believe me, some of these stories of European history are really amazing and always very moving.
I am also involved in the work that goes on behind the scenes of these public projects. For example, I am part of what we call a ‘Task Force’ for user-generated content – our recent work involves launching a questionnaire to the Europeana Network of professional partners. On top of that, I also liaise with other film-related projects in the Europeana group, such as European Film Gateway 1914 and EUscreenXL.
‘The life story of Michael Draščka the traveling suitcase‘, Europeana 1914-1918, CC-BY-SA
My top pick from Europeana is this trunk. At first sight, this may look just like an ordinary travel trunk. In it, there were only a few old photographs, postcards and private letters in Slovenian. Nothing special you would say, but the stories that go with the trunk are just wonderful! It was brought to the Europeana 1914-1918 collection day in Nova Gorica in Slovenia, right on the Italian border, by an elderly woman. She arrived at 10 in the morning and left late in the afternoon. The owner of the trunk was her grandfather who was a soldier in the Austrian-Hungarian army. She told us the full story of both his wartime misery and true romance (which you can now read on Europeana). She also told us what happened to him and his family after the First World War and through the Second World War, what life was like in Communist Yugoslavia and how they experienced the country’s civil war – almost a full century of European history came out of that wooden box!
When I’m not working, you can probably find me on my bike, bird watching or listening to music (sometimes even all three at the same time). I have recently finished the script for a documentary on race cycling that friends of mine are shooting. And I am currently doing research for a new subject: the life of a gay officer in the French army during the First World War.
I am always prowling the web for anything related to my heroes: the German writer Thomas Mann and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. That could be a full-time job, there is so much out there! On Europeana, I came across this hilarious Italian television clip about Elizabeth Mann, Thomas Mann’s daughter, who taught her dog the alphabet and how to use a giant typewriter.
Europeana 1989 is our new project that aims to find out your stories from the revolutionary year of 1989!
From now until the end of 2014 (the 25th anniversary year), we will travel all across central and eastern Europe with our roadshows. We want anyone with memories, stories, objects or memorabilia from this time to come along and help us build the full picture of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
1989 was a year filled with political changes for Europe. If we didn’t directly experience it for ourselves, we heard about it through TV and radio broadcasts, newspapers and books. But what about the untold stories? The personal experiences? Our roadshows kicked off in Poland last week to find them out.
This is where we met Anna Misiewicz (32):
‘I brought some food coupons to the roadshow today. They were given to the people that were working class. This meant practically everybody! You couldn’t go to the butcher and just buy sausages or meat; you had to go to the office in your work place and ask for a “meat card”. There was no free market system during that time, so you needed the coupons to buy your groceries. The cards were for a specified amount of meat and were issued once a month. This one belonged to my father who was a professor working at the Institute of Archaeology.’
Anna wasn’t the only one who shared her stories with us. We recorded experiences from all levels of society: adults who were children in 1989 told us how all of a sudden soda in cans became ‘a thing’ – it was something they hadn’t had before so people started buying them and collecting the cans; people who were teenagers during the time shared with us how supermarkets became their favourite places to hang out; the shops were full so budding chefs could buy all the spices they needed, and little children collected the images that came with packets of gum.
So, what is your story from 1989? Do you remember the moments that told you that the world around you had changed forever?
You can upload your stories to Historypin online or you can come along to one of our roadshows. Your experiences don’t need to be political – we want the personal stories, the life-changing moments, however small! Share your experience and contribute to the big picture!
Europeana is travelling Bulgaria with a new free exhibition. ‘Linked Across Borders and Time’ is being run by the Varna Regional Library in Bulgaria and will visit eight cities in the country between now and September. If you’re in Bulgaria, get yourself to one of the hosting regional libraries or Helikon book shops and check it out!
‘Linked across Borders and Time’ begins in Bulgaria but provides visitors with a cultural gateway to the rest of Europe. It showcases carefully chosen cultural symbols from each of the eight Bulgarian cities, and invites visitors to explore them and then learn more on Europeana. The exhibition also reveals a European ‘twin’ city for each of the Bulgarian cities, displaying an object, monument or place from that city with similar cultural, scientific, historical or religious significance. Images from the past are mirrored with images from the present demonstrating how easy it is to cross both time and geographical borders online.
Through the exhibition, visitors can discover more about both the people and places close to home and those further afield across the continent. The exhibition goes to Vienna, Italy, via Russe, Bulgaria’s own ‘Little Vienna’, exploring both cities’ architectural heritage. From there you can travel to the Bulgarian city Haskovo and French city Lourdes through their monuments to the Virgin Mary, the patron of both cities. You can also discover Varna and Nice – the ‘pearls’ of two seas, and Neolithic villages discovered in Stara Zagora and Vaucluse, France.
The images displayed in the exhibition are accompanied by QR codes, so that visitors can go directly to Europeana via their smartphones and discover additional interesting information on the exhibits. An interactive film that allows visitors to visit Europeana directly by clicking on a map of Bulgaria accompanies the exhibition.
Jill Cousins, Executive director of Europeana says, ‘”Linked across borders and time” connects the people of Bulgaria with their cultural heritage and shows, through its imaginative associations, the links between Bulgarian culture and the rest of Europe. We want everyone to have access to their European cultural heritage and this exhibition is a great way of achieving that – it delivers culture directly to people, which is what Europeana is all about.’
Famous Bulgarian writer, Georgi Gospodinov, was a special guest at the exhibition launch. He said: ‘Europeana doesn’t just make it easier for us all to access European cultural treasures kept in libraries and archives. With projects like this, we can enter museums and their collections without effort but we can also grant those collections the opportunity to get right inside us. Europeana allows us to carry them along with us every day. We can have centuries of culture in our pocket – on our phones, on our computers. What we do with it is down to our own curiosity.’
Georgi continued: ‘Many years ago,’when the Bedouins used to trek slowly across the desert, they would make frequent stops, not just to allow their camels to rest, but also to give their souls time to catch up because the soul travels at a different pace. I claim that literature and culture know a lot about this pace. I think that Europeana is one of the places where we can stop and spend some time with our European souls.’
If you’d like to find your European soul, then visit the travelling exhibition at the regional libraries in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo, Haskovo, Russe and Dobrich during June – August, or Helikon book shops in Burgas and Plovdiv in September. View full tour details
Last week we launched our first ever free app for iPad (download it now!). Today, Europeana’s Milena Popova introduces you to one of the app’s five themes – ‘Treasures of the Past’, and tells you all about the old Thracians and their finest works.
‘Treasures of the Past’ showcases more than 2,000 archaeological artefacts and orthodox icons provided by the Central Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, the Institute of Balkan Studies and Thracology, Bulgaria and Museu Nacional de Arquelogia, Portugal.
The Thracians, Bulgars and Slavs are the three ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians. The Thracians inhabited the Balkan Peninsula from 1234 BC till the early centuries AD. The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, said that the Thracians were the second-most numerous people in the part of the world known by him (after the Indians), and could be the most powerful were it not for their lack of unity. Divided into numerous tribes, the Thracians didn’t form any lasting political organisation until the Odrysian state was founded in the 5th century BC.
Thracians lived in small villages with simple dwellings and yards for the livestock. However, Thracians despised the work of farming and cattle-breeding and instead spent their time either in war (they made their living from it) or in glorious, continuous celebrations with a lot of wine and dance.
Thracians were regarded as warlike and courageous and many became soldiers of fortune (seeking money or adventure through military exploits) and gladiators. One example is Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who led a large slave uprising in southern Italy in 73–71 BC. Perhaps the secret to their bravery lay in their strong belief in the afterlife; in particular, that after death they would go down to the underworld where the gods would welcome them and an endless feast would begin. Like other ancient civilisations, men were buried with all their belongings, and with their wife – in fact, the female relatives often fought with each other for this privilege.
However, Thracians appreciated arts at least as much as they loved war. Remember the legends about the talented singer and poet Orpheus who was the king of the Thracian tribe of Cicones? Music and dance were seen by Thracians as a direct path to God, so their wild celebrations – and orgies – were in fact the pagan way of achieving unity with God.
The Thracian admiration for the arts is shown also by the masterpieces of gold and silver (jewellery, weapons, household items, etc.) and the wall-paintings found in the Thracian tombs (of which there are more than 20,000 in Bulgaria).
Among the most beautifully decorated and well-preserved tombs are the ones near the town of Kazanlak and the village of Sveshtari. The monument in Kazanlak dates back to the 4th century BC and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. It is situated in a region in Central Bulgaria known as the ‘Valley of the Thracian Kings’ where more than 1,000 tombs of kings and members of the Thracian aristocracy can be found. The murals in the Kazanlak tomb are memorable for their splendid horses and especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other’s wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality.
The Thracian tomb of Sveshtari is situated in north-eastern Bulgaria. This 3rd century BC tomb has unique architectural décor. Ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands.
So, download the Europeana Open Culture app and enjoy your journey into Thracian treasures!
Blog by Milena Popova, Europeana.
All images in this blog are from the Institute of Balkan Studies and Thracology, Bulgaria, and are available under a CC-BY licence.
The first Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest has now closed to entrants. We are pleased to say that it succeeded beyond expectations as there were a total of 9,250 photos submitted by 224 contestants in Austria, Finland, Israel, Spain and Sweden. These photos of over 2,155 different artworks are now available on Wikimedia Commons under free licences, which means they can be re-used in, for example, online projects such as Wikipedia.
One of the entries for WLPA 2013: Gato (Fernando Botero). Rambla del Raval, abans a la pl. Blanquerna (Barcelona)
The goal of the Wiki Loves Public Art (WLPA) contest was to get as many pictures of public art as possible available under a free licence on Wikimedia Commons. The 9,250 contest submissions can now be seen and used by anyone, anywhere. These pictures will help Wikipedia (the world’s sixth largest website) to see a boost in its art coverage as photos in the contest can be added to illustrate articles in the online encyclopedia. The contest is organised by Wikimedia Sverige, Europeana and volunteers in the Wikimedia chapters and affiliated groups in each of the participating countries.
One of the entries for WLPA 2013: Cap de Barcelona (Roy Lichtenstein). Moll de la Fusta (Barcelona)
‘We are so happy that we have been able to increase our common collection of artwork photos and make them easily accessible to everyone through Wikipedia. The contest has succeeded beyond our expectations and we cannot wait to organise the contest again next year, hopefully in many more countries’, says the international WLPA coordinator, John Andersson from Wikimedia Sverige.
One of the entries for WLPA 2013: A Rovira i Trias (Joaquim Camps). Pl. Rovira i Trias (Barcelona)
Nearly two-thirds of the submissions for the contest came from Barcelona, where the streets are filled with art from, for example, Gaudi, Miro and Picasso to mention just a few. In Spain, the Freedom of Panorama laws also allow any artwork to be photographed and the photo to be published under a free licence.
One of the entries for WLPA 2013: Lletres gimnastes (Joan Brossa). C. Rauric (Barcelona)
Not all of the participating countries however have the same legal situation, for example, in Finland, the photos for the contest had to be of artworks whose creator has been dead for more than 70 years. The diverse copyright laws and the fact that most countries lack a national database of their artworks have been the biggest challenges of organising the contest.
‘The volunteers have been amazing in all of the countries in putting together the lists of artworks that can be photographed for the contest, as well as making contacts with museums to let us come and photograph their collections’, states John Andersson.
One of the entries for WLPA 2013: Cementiri del Poblenou. Av. Icària (Barcelona)
The photos uploaded for the contest will now be judged nationally, then the ten best pictures from each country will be sent to the international jury. The prizes for the three internationally best pictures – which will be announced in July – are travel gift certificates for 500 euros, 300 euros and 200 euros, and on top of that Europeana has sponsored high quality prints of the winning pictures that will be sent to the winners.
So, which do you like? Browse all the entries on Wikimedia Commons.
A fascinating register of Swedish shipwrecks is available in Europeana. This is the story of one of the ships named in the register – the S/S Energi. By Göran Ekberg, Curator – Archaeology Unit, Swedish National Maritime Museums.
S/S Energi, unknown photographer, 1942, Swedish National Maritime Museum
At the end of September 1950, a very powerful explosion occurred in the lower part of the nearly 60-metre long steamer, S/S Energi. The ship, which was on her way from Luleå in the north of Sweden, to Rotterdam in The Netherlands, carried a cargo of sulphur pyrite. It started to sink aft-first, just three minutes after the explosion. Six of the 16 crew members were able to hang on to a lifeboat floating upside-down and were rescued ten hours later. The other ten died.
This was not the end of the story.
Immediately after the loss of the ship, suspicions were raised about possible sabotage. In hearings after the accident, the surviving crew members told of a course of events that did not fit with the theory that the ship collided with a mine, which was a common explanation for losses at sea after the Second World War. However, the police investigation found no evidence of a criminal act and the subsequent maritime inquiry established that the reason for the accident was indeed collision with a mine. The insurance company paid more than 750,000 Swedish kronor (approximately 70,000 euros) to the owner of the ship. In the following years, both the accident and the wreck were forgotten…
But this was still not the end of the story.
Fifteen years later, a woman turned up to speak to the homicide squad at the National Criminal Investigation Department, saying that she knew that the ship S/S Energi was deliberately sunk so that the owners could get the insurance money. It turned out that the woman had been in a relationship with one of the men involved in the sinking, but now the relationship had ended and she wanted revenge. With this new information, the police department reopened the case. At the same time, it came to the investigators’ knowledge that an extortion letter had been sent to the owner of the shipping company. In the letter, the extortioner demanded 30,000 kronor (approximately 3,000 euros) not to reveal the truth.
The new investigation unearthed interesting results. Shortly before the accident, the steward on S/S Energi had bought 20 kilos of dynamite, 100 percussion caps and lots of fuse cord. The police also found a letter dated a few years before the accident, in which the owner of S/S Energi urged a former captain of the ship to sink the vessel. According to his wife, the captain responded very strongly to the letter, saying ‘I am a sailor not a murderer, if he wants to sink his ship he will have to do it himself”. The letter made the captain so angry and disappointed that he signed off the ship and destroyed the letter. The captain died shortly before the trial but his wife testified about the episode in court.
When the investigators interrogated the steward, he confessed that he had been involved in the sinking. Following his confession, three other people were arrested – one crew member and two of the shipping company’s owners. In the trial, the steward and one of the owners were sentenced to 8 years in prison on the charge of murder. The other owner was sentenced to four years in prison and the other crew member walked free.
This story, together with many other gruesome and intriguing stories, can be read about in a database run by The National Heritage Board in Sweden. The database, Fornsök, includes information about more than 1.7 million wrecks and ruins in nearly 600,000 places in Sweden, both on land and in water. The information comes from field inventories and archaeological excavations. The database is updated regularly with information about new remains and newly uncovered information.
Search Fornsök, the Swedish national shipwrecks database
In total there are around 20,000 maritime objects included in the database. 17,000 of these are about ship losses, and of these, 3,500 wrecks have been found and given an exact position. This information is collected from the general public, from the military, from recreational divers and from archaeological excavations since the beginning of the 1960s. The National Maritime Museum started to digitise its wreck register in 1995 and it was included in Fornsök in 2008.
The wreck of the S/S Energi is still out there somewhere waiting to be found.
You either love them, or you don’t: cats. Painters in the 17th century must have loved them because they’re on many paintings. Have you ever looked at a painting and paid attention to the little kitten hiding in the corner, or to a cat eating his fish with a satisfied air? Try to find them in the stunning paintings below or if you’re not a cat lover, just enjoy these beautiful public domain images from the Rijksmuseum.
Want to go and look for more cats on Europeana? Click here.
We are delighted to announce that we have launched Europeana’s first free iPad app. ‘Europeana Open Culture’ introduces you to hand-picked and beautiful collections from some of Europe’s top institutions, and allows people to explore, share and comment on them. Designed by Glimworm IT during a Europeana hackathon, the app provides an easy introduction to Europe’s glorious art treasury through five specially curated themes: Maps and Plans, Treasures of Art, Treasures of the Past, Treasures of Nature and Images of the Past.
The home screen and an item’s details on the Europeana Open Culture app. Europeana Open Culture presents stunning visual collections from Europeana.eu with large images – great for those smaller details – and a ‘comment’ option that opens up the possibility for dialogue between many people exploring the same images. Jill Cousins, Europeana Executive Director says:
‘We’re really pleased to launch the first ever Europeana app. By downloading Europeana Open Culture, more people can now explore, share and have fun with Europe’s cultural heritage. It’s only a small snapshot of the whole of Europeana’s collections but small is beautiful. We’re enthusiastic and excited about the ‘Connect’ feature which you can use to link images to articles elsewhere on the web, or to content in Wikipedia. And for the first time, you can make your own comments on the individual images.’
Exploring and filtering results on the Europeana Open Culture app. The 350,000 images available through the app come from collections as diverse as:
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK
- Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands
- National Library of Poland
- The Archaeological Museum, Portugal
- Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Digital Library of the Spanish Ministry of Defence
‘We started work on an interactive museum idea at the Europeana hackathon in Leuven, which became Muse Open Source – a free software platform. We then released the Muse app for the Rijksmuseum. After this success, Europeana asked us to create an app for them – they wanted something open source so that other developers could build on it. We were delighted that they really got the idea of using an app to make digital libraries and archives fun and accessible. We are really happy that the new Europeana app is helping people to enjoy culture in new ways.’For more information on how the app works, go to http://muse-opensource.org/. Those interested in the code can check the GitHub repository and provide their feedback to email@example.com. Download the app from iTunes and start your cultural treasure hunt! Q&A What language is the app available in?
The interface is in English, but the collections are in their original languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Bulgarian and Latin! What operating system is the app available in?
Apple for iPad. Can I get the app on Android?
Right now it’s only available for Apple iOS but the code is open source, meaning that others can develop it as they choose. Can I get the app on my iPhone or iPod?
Right now it’s only available for iPad but the code is open source, meaning that others can develop it as they choose. Can I use the images for my project?
Yes. All the images in the app are public domain or openly licensed and so available for re-use, both commercially and non-commercially. Tap the ‘Rights’ link in an image’s details to learn whether it is in the public domain or is licensed.
Where can I find the source code?
At the Github repository: https://github.com/europeana/openculture/wiki
Where can I download the app?
Download the app from iTunes: itunes.apple.com/nl/app/europeana/id646414251
The contributing collections are:
- Biblioteca Virtual del Ministerio de Defensa, Spain
- Biblioteca Valenciana Digital, Spain
- Biblioteca Virtual del Patrimonio Bibliográfico, Spain
- Biblioteka Narodowa, Poland
- Catálogo Colectivo de la Red de Bibliotecas de los Archivos Estatales, Spain
- Central Library of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria
- Central Library of Fondo Fotográfico de la Universidad de Navarra, Spain
- Institute of Balkan Studies and Thracology, Bulgaria
- Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Portugal
- Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands
- The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK
- University of Tartu – Museum of Geology, Estonia
- University of Tartu – Natural History Museum, Estonia
What links fashion designer Fong Leng with a festival organiser, a member of the Dutch Costume Society and Wikipedia? The answer – the Europeana Fashion editathon in Utrecht on 13 May 2013.
Europeana Fashion is a project which aims to provide Europeana with outstanding and rich material about the history of European fashion, including more than 700,000 fashion-related digital objects, ranging from historical dresses to accessories, photographs, posters, drawings, sketches, videos, and fashion catalogues. At this event, its second editathon, 40 fashion enthusiasts gathered at Europeana Fashion partner Centraal Museum. From journalists and curators to students and bloggers, all attendees spent a full day editing fashion-related articles on Wikipedia. The event was co-organised by Europeana Fashion partner, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, and Wikimedia Netherlands with support from the Dutch fashion project, ModeMuze.
The day included a guided tour of the Centraal Museum. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg. Image used under Creative Commons License Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
So what is an editathon? Quite simply – it’s an event at which a group of people come together to add or update Wikipedia pages. This one was themed around fashion and involved working with, amongst other resources, images from the collections of Europeana Fashion partners that those partners had made available on Wikimedia.
Fong Leng, jacket and dress. From Collection Centraal Museum Utrecht. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg. Image used under Creative Commons License Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en Find out more about this object here: http://centraalmuseum.nl/ontdekken/object/?q=fong%20leng#o:18163
We spoke to a couple of the people who came along to the event to find out exactly why they got involved.
Leonie Sterenborg is a Junior Curator at the Amsterdam Museum, and a Coordinator and Board Member of the Dutch Costume Society Bulletin. Leonie says she jumped at the chance to attend because ‘I am researching accessories and I often find that information in a thesaurus or on Wikipedia is incorrect. So this was a good opportunity to contribute. I was worried that I might not have enough knowledge, but that fear was taken away because you are writing for a general audience. The explanation and introduction to the day made it very easy to start editing on my own. I think I’ll continue writing and editing on Wikipedia. I am currently working on crinolines and I can see that there is room for improvement there.’
Leonie Sterenborg (second from left). Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg. Image used under Creative Commons License Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
Iris Loos, Founder of ‘In-Fashion’, the Utrecht fashion festival was another first-timer. So how does she feel about Wikipedia now? Iris says, ‘I really enjoyed learning more about Wikipedia and how to actually work on an article. I have more ‘feeling’ with Wikipedia now. I used to be a passive user, but now I have more insight into how it actually works and the philosophy behind it. I would like to organise something similar with In-Fashion.’ Iris concludes, ‘I think it is a great initiative to have at Centraal Museum. Museums can be quite traditional in their role of preserving and presenting, so working with Wikipedia enriches them.’
Iris Loos. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg. Image used under Creative Commons License Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
By the end of the day, 40 new fashion Wikipedians had been born and more than 25 articles were written or edited. Topics included designers such as Fong-Leng, Iris van Herpen, Dirk van Saene and techniques like corded quilting. Attendees worked on Dutch, English and Polish articles. We had writers from Australia, Poland and the UK as well as a strong presence of Dutch newcomers to the platform.
But the day yielded more results than new information and new Wikipedians. Attendees mentioned how they learned more about copyright and intellectual property. Some indicated they could see themselves using Wikimedia in their personal or professional research. Attendees also expressed they now felt more confident to update inaccuracies on Wikipedia if they came across them. And, they said, it was a great opportunity to meet people from the fashion community.
There are only a few foods that people feel as passionate about as chocolate. With so many flavours and variations, it’s sometimes difficult to choose what to try next. And then there’s chocolate in liquid form – how about a nice cup of hot chocolate to warm us up on those cold less-than-summery days? For the true chocoholic, just thinking about it can send us into choc-filled daydreams. You may want get a nice piece of your favourite choc before you begin exploring this public domain image collection of old chocolate advertisements.
Feel like looking at more chocolate related images? Go to Europeana!
Ever wondered what it would be like to live by the standards of a different political ideology? Or what it would be like for the political landscape you lived in to change almost overnight?
If so, then you should check out our new project, Europeana 1989, which documents the time when the very symbol of the division of Europe was torn down, and states dominated by one-party dictatorships could finally move towards democracy.
One Europe, two perspectives
1989 presents the revolutionary year when Europe, torn in half after WW2, became one again. Walls crumbled, wire was cut, and families that were torn apart were united again…
It was a time for celebration. For the first time in decades, a sense of cohesion returned to Europe and we have been ‘one’ ever since.
So how come that, despite this grand unification, what we know about ‘life behind the Iron Curtain’ still comes just from our history books?
After all, history isn’t only about the objects in a museum or the accounts in a book – we make history ourselves, every day.
Our new project ‘Europeana 1989’ will launch soon and we are looking for your untold stories about the revolutionary events that led up to the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Share your personal experiences directly online or come to the collection day in Warsaw, where we will help to preserve your videos, pictures, objects and documents. Share your personal history with the world!
Over the past week, we’ve seen Hawaiian artist and photographer Cheyne Gallarde take on some of Europe’s most well-known faces. The man behind Universe of One has already shared his interpretations of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Napoleon and now we want you to pick the next face for him to recreate. Inspired by the work of Cindy Sherman, Cheyne poses as a wide range of people, normally based on photographs that his fans send him of themselves – both male and female, of different ethnicities, and from different walks of life. Eager to promote the creative re-use of Europe’s culture treasures, Cheyne accepted our challenge to re-invent some well-known portraits that are available in Europeana. After conquering three portraits already, we now need you to help us pick Cheyne’s next challenge.
Cheyne posing as Napolean. Image: ‘Portrait of Napoleon I’ by Wojciech Eljasz. Biblioteka Narodowa – The National Library of Poland (Public Domain).
Cheyne posing as Rembrandt. Image: ‘Self Portrait at an Early Age’ by Rembrandt. Rijksmuseum (Public Domain).
Cheyne posing as Van Gogh. Image: Self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh – 1887 – Rijksmuseum (Public Domain).
It’s a tough choice, but we want you to choose between either Marie Antoinette or William Shakespeare. Click on the name below to vote! We’ll count up the votes at the end of this week and Cheyne will get to work on mimicking the portrait that receives the most votes. So get clicking and help us decide the next Europeana Twinsie.
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Elizabeth Gurney, or Betsy as she was known, was born on 21 May 1780 to a wealthy family of bankers. Her father, John Gurney, was a partner in Gurney’s Bank, and her mother, Catherine Barclay, came from the family that founded Barclays Bank. Gurney’s eventually merged with Barclays, which is now one of the world’s biggest banks. Today, Elizabeth’s legacy is demonstrated by money. Quite literally. It is her face that you can see on the Bank of England £5 note.
‘Portrait of Elizabeth Fry’, Wellcome Library, London, CC-BY-NC
But it wasn’t money that bothered Elizabeth. It was people. The kind of people not many other people bother about – prisoners. She believed that prisons and the treatment of prisoners should be more humane. She fought for new legislation and won.
Brought up in a Quaker household (a conservative branch of Christianity also known as the Religious Society of Friends), Elizabeth was moved by the teachings of a Quaker preacher and, aged 18, began taking an interest in the poor, the sick and prisoners. She started a Sunday school to teach children to read, she visited the sick and gave clothes to the poor.
The majority of the next portion of her life was taken up with marrying Joseph Fry and having 11, yes 11 children (five boys and six girls).
The first time she visited a prison – Newgate Prison in the early 1800s – she was horrified. She found cramped and squalid conditions, and prisoners held without reasonable trial. Fry did what she could to help, taking food and clothes, even staying overnight there herself and encouraging members of the upper classes to do the same to experience it for themselves. In 1816, Elizabeth set up a school for the children who lived in prison with their parents.
‘Elizabeth Fry’, Wellcome Library, London, CC-BY-NC
A little nepotism never goes amiss and when Elizabeth’s brother-in-law was elected to parliament, he campaigned on her behalf and Elizabeth was able to address the House of Commons on the conditions faced in Britain’s prisons. She was the first woman to present evidence to parliament. Her influence changed how prisons in the UK are run, and was partly responsible for Prime Minister Robert Peel’s Gaols Act being passed in 1823.
And that’s a very brief history of how little Betsy Gurney became Elizabeth Fry, Angel of Prisons.
‘Elizabeth Fry is seated at a table in a large room surrounded by men and women prisoners listening to her’, Wellcome Library, London. CC-BY-NC
Explore collections relating to Elizabeth Fry in Europeana, including a memoir of her life, written by her daughter, Francis Cresswell.
Today we have an exciting announcement to make.
Here at Europeana we are massive fans of Hawaiian artist and photographer Cheyne Gallarde, made famous through his self-portrait project entitled Universe of One. Funded via Kickstarter, his series of self-portraits transform him into an ever-expanding catalogue of characters. Inspired by the work of Cindy Sherman, he poses as a wide range of people, normally based on photographs that his fans send him of themselves – both male and female, of different ethnicities, and from different walks of life.
Eager to promote the creative re-use of Europe’s culture treasures, Cheyne has accepted our challenge to re-invent some European classic portraits that are available in Europeana. With only minimal make-up, lighting and props, Cheyne will recreate our best-loved images, starting today with a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh from the Rijksmuseum.
We have given him full reign over our public domain collections so over the next few weeks, we will be sharing his recreations of Europe’s most recognisable faces. Then we are handing the control over to you – you decide his next challenge.
Can you guess who he will be next? Keep your eyes peeled!
15 May is European Literature Night and events are happening across the continent – check out what’s going on where you are.
The concept, according to the official European Literature Night website, is ‘One night – many experiences: public readings of contemporary literature performed by well known personalities at attractive and unusual venues in cities across Europe.’ In brief, it’s about capturing imaginations and new audiences by bringing individuals and societies together in creative ways.
For example, at the British Library in London, UK, there’s a free panel discussion on ‘Writing, Creativity and Translation‘, exploring the role of translation in European fiction. Then the main evening event sees eight exceptional writers, from groundbreaking new talent to leading names, joining BBC journalist and presenter Rosie Goldsmith for readings and conversation: Norbert Gstrein (Austria), Miha Mazzini (Slovenia), Erwin Mortier (Belgium/Flanders), Ece Temelkuran (Turkey), Jordi Punti (Spain/Catalonia) Jáchym Topol (Czech Republic) Birgit Vanderbeke (Germany) and Frank Westerman (Netherlands).
Readings of contemporary literature will be taking place across Europe on 15 May. Pictured – Literature in Focus event with Slovenian writer Svetlana Makarovič, Trubar Literature House in Ljubljana, 2010, Slovenian National E-Content Aggregator, CC-BY-ND
In Prague, Czech Republic, 18 locations play host to 18 new translations of contemporary European literature by renowned actors and celebrities, including Catalin Dorian Florescu from Switzerland and Wilhelm Genazino from Germany. Readings will take place at all locations in parallel. Venues include theatres, clubs, cinemas and coffee shops, institutes of architecture, museums, universities, industrial settings like Vltavská Metro Station and several other venues. More information
In Bulgaria, ten cities (Burgas, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia and Shumen) will hold European Literature Night events. A series of public readings will take place in unconventional urban spaces. Every half an hour, famous actors and other public figures will read excerpts from works of modern European literature. The night’s event is inspired by the assumption that literature is a tool for mutual understanding and cultural exchange that helps to overcome barriers in communication. More information
Other cities taking place include Dublin (works from 12 countries are read by Irish celebrities in 12 unusual venues), Lisbon (on 24 May), Bucharest (on 29 May – literature lovers travel between readings on donated bicycles!), Brussels (16 May), Slovakia (ten cities – Bratislava, Košice, Michalovce, Prešov, Rožňava, Trebišov, Trenčín, Trnava, Vranov nad Topľov and Žilina), Edinburgh, Florence, Malmo, Munich (7 June) and Vienna.
Reading events like this one will be taking place all across Europe on 15 May. Pictured – ‘Vili Rezman (second from the left) presenting his awarded work in Konzorcij, at Mladinska knjiga Bookstores during Fabula Festival of Stories 2009′. Slovenian National E-Content Aggregator, CC-BY-ND
In the month of May, Mode Museum (MoMu) curator Karen Van Godtsenhoven is taking over the Europeana Fashion Tumblr. With MoMu currently amidst preparations of an exhibition around the anniversary of the renowned Antwerp Fashion Academy, the curation of the Tumblr is inspired by Karen’s research.
Screenshot of the Tumblr with a sketch by Marina Yee, a silhouette by Walter Van Beirendonck, the Antwerp Six and a graduate silhouette by Walter Van Beirendonck. Images: all rights reserved.
You are currently preparing the upcoming exhibition, ‘Happy Birthday Dear Academy’, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Karen: This exhibition is part of a bigger project about the 350th birthday of the Royal Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts. This anniversary is celebrated with multiple exhibitions throughout Antwerp from September onwards. You can check the project’s website at www.happybirthdaydearacademy.be for the full programme. The whole project is curated by Walter Van Beirendonck, head of the fashion department.
The fashion department has existed for 50 years and gets a Momu exhibition showcasing work of the students of the fashion department. Through graduation silhouettes, drawings and film, the exhibition will trace the evolution of the academy over 50 years. From a small department under Mary Prijot, through the breakthrough of the Antwerp Six and Martin Margiela, and the next generations of designers under the direction of Linda Loppa and Walter Van Beirendonck, the fashion department of the Antwerp academy has grown into an institution of international acclaim with more than 40 nationalities of students. The artistic principles of the teaching methods and the results (careers) are under the spotlight in this intense and wonderful exhibition.
Poster for the upcoming exhibition at MoMu. All rights reserved.
The academy has been around for 50 years. MoMu was founded 10 years ago. What role does MoMu play in preserving and researching the history of the fashion academy?
Karen: Most ‘Belgian’ designers that MoMu collects come from this school. Many designers are not Belgian by birth, but are labelled Belgian because of their education in Antwerp. Their silhouettes and collections are the primary focus of MoMu’s collection and exhibition policy. The Antwerp school is also responsible for MoMu’s 10-year existence, so the two are very interrelated. We are now also collecting the graduation silhouettes from the most important Antwerp-trained designers for our archives. MoMu also gives an award each year to the student with the most artistic merit, whose silhouettes we showcase in our gallery.
You are currently curating our Europeana Fashion Tumblr. What will you be showing on the Tumblr this month and how does it connect to the upcoming exhibition?
Karen: It connects through my research of the graduates’ collections for the exhibition. Each week I will post some graduation images from a different decade, starting with those of the Antwerp Six and Martin Margiela, followed by the student generations of the nineties and noughties. Not all of them are in the exhibition because they didn’t survive time, but I think it is worthwhile sharing them in the virtual world. The evolution of the work will hopefully tell a little bit of the story of 50 years of Antwerp fashion.
Photograph by Karel Fonteyne. The Antwerp Six (L to R: Marina Yee,Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene) and Martin Margiela were the first generation of fashion students from the Antwerp Academy to rise to international success in 1986. All rights reserved.
This post first appeared on the Europeana Fashion blog.
You might have noticed that the Europeana home page highlights a range of our contributing partners each month. The Crawford Art Gallery is currently one of them, and so today we are putting their collection in the spotlight here on the blog. The Crawford’s small but stunning and colourful collection on Europeana consists of mainly visual arts, both historic and contemporary.
The Gallery is located in Cork in Ireland and has a permanent collection of over 2,000 works, ranging from eighteenth century Irish and European paintings and sculptures, through to contemporary video installations. At the heart of the collection is a selection of Greek and Roman sculpture casts, brought to the museum in 1818 from the Vatican Museum in Rome. The collection is also particularly strong in Irish art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Below we showcase some of the lovely works of the Crawford Art Gallery. For more, view the full collection on Europeana.
Today the whole of Europe will be celebrating Europe Day and the anniversary of the ‘Schuman declaration’. Speaking in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman (the French foreign minister) proposed a new form of political cooperation for Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
Over the last two weeks, we have asked you to tell us your what Europe means to you through one of its cultural treasures from Europeana. And of course to vote for your favourite pick. We would like to thank you all very much for your great contributions and votes! The winner of the contest – the object with the most votes – is Gashi Egzon with a photo of the interior of a Cathedral, which was formerly the Mosque in Cordova. Congratulations Gashi! You are the happy winner of the Google Nexus 7 Tablet!
‘The interior of Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. This image represents the treasure that Europe has and that’s great and rich cultural heritage along with diversity that’s not seen everywhere. On one place you can see and experience culture at it’s finest.’ - Gashi Egzon
You sent us many more great European treasures from the Public Domain, so see below for a small selection of what Europe means to you. Want to see all the entries? Go to our Facebook Gallery!
Next week, I will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean on my non-stop flight from Amsterdam to Philadelphia. A common occurrence I hear you say, however a little over a 100 years ago, people were literally dying in their attempts to fly this particular stretch of ‘the pond’.
Map of the North Atlantic Ocean – 1867. Biblioteca Virtual del Patrimonio Bibliográfico (Public Domain).
Today it is a totally different story – along with the flight I will be taking, tens of thousands of other commercial flights a week make the world a smaller place and cross the Atlantic Ocean. In the 1920s, it was an unattained human and engineering feat that could be compared with man landing on the moon in the 1960s. But look at what progress has been made: in 2010 alone, 2.5 million passengers crossed the Atlantic between London Heathrow and New York JFK airports, the busiest transatlantic route by a large margin. The Atlantic Ocean stood as a significant obstacle to the aviation pioneers of the 19th and early 20th centuries and now it is simply a way of getting from A to B – thanks to the efforts of a few brave aviators that we remember today.
The aviators, Coli and Nungesser, who attempted to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in the L’Oiseau Blanc. San Diego Air & Space Museum (Public Domain). Portrait of Nungesser in 1920. French National Library (Public Domain).
On this day in 1927, French World War I aviation heroes, Charles Nungesser and François Coli set off on their ill-fated journey in an attempt to pilot the first non-stop transatlantic flight with a fixed-wing aircraft and bag the $25,000 Orteig Prize. The prize was offered on May 19, 1919, by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first allied aviator(s) to fly non-stop from New York City to Paris or vice-versa. Most were attempting to fly from New York to Paris, but a number of French aviators including Nungesser and Coli planned an attempt to fly in the opposite direction, from Paris to New York. The pair flew a specially built Levasseur PL.8, a single engine, two-seat long-distance biplane aircraft modified from an existing Levasseur PL.4.
Promotional post card of the L’Oiseau Blanc. Unknown Author (Public Domain).
The aircraft disappeared after its takeoff from Paris. The intended flight path was a great circular route, which would have taken them across the English Channel, over the southwestern part of England and Ireland, across the Atlantic to Newfoundland, then south over Nova Scotia, to Boston, and finally to a water landing in New York. Crowds of people gathered in New York to witness the historic arrival, with tens of thousands of people crowding Battery Park in Manhattan to have a good view of the Statue of Liberty, where the aircraft was scheduled to touch down. After their estimated time of arrival had passed, with no word as to the aircraft’s fate, it was realised that the aircraft had been lost. The disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc is considered one of the great mysteries in the history of aviation.
Several famous aviators made unsuccessful attempts at the New York–Paris flight before relatively unknown American Charles Lindbergh won the prize in 1927 in his aircraft Spirit of St. Louis. The disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc has been called ‘the Everest of aviation mysteries’. If the aircraft had successfully completed its journey, Lindbergh would probably not have made his own historic flight, and might instead have set his sights on crossing the Pacific, which might have prevented Amelia Earhart from attempting her own journey. When Lindbergh did succeed with his own flight across the Atlantic, the international attention on his achievement was probably enhanced because of the disappearance of ‘L’Oiseau Blanc just days earlier.
So next time you are on a transatlantic flight, at 30,000ft looking down at the mass expanse of the Atlantic, spare a thought for the pioneers who were brave enough to advance mankind’s ambitions to go faster, further and higher.