One of the best things about the internet is its exponential rate of growth. If there’s something you can’t find today, wait a few years (or months, or days) and it just may pop up. “All things”, to paraphrase the zen-like passage from the Bible, “come to he who waits.”
When I started writing Lines and Colors back in 2005, my very first post was about the Art Renewal Center, a sprawling art image resource dedicated to representational art. Since then I’ve discovered many other art image portals, like terrific Web Gallery of Art (see my post here), and The Athenaeum, which has recently been one of my favorites; as well as several others that I frequently link to in my posts about well represented artists from the past.
Sites like ARC, the WGA and the Athenaeum are constantly adding to and improving their image catalogs, but occasionally I’ll be surprised to find a new (at least to me) major trove of online art.
A case in point is the Allpaintings Art Portal, which I wasn’t aware of until a few months ago (at allpaintings.org, allpaintings.com is just a squatted domain). Im not certain how long the site has been established, but it boasts over 33,000 images (though some of them contemporary, in a “Users Gallery”), as well as a blog and Art News listing.
The works are arranged in general stylistic categories with oddly varying degrees of specificity, like Baroque, Impressionism, Hudson River School, Barbizon School, Symbolism and Realism, with subsections for individual artists.
The image “thumbnails”, actually quite large, are presented as square crops and alphabetically arranged, oddly enough, by the artists’ given names rather than by surname.
While not “complete” in any sense of the word, or even “as complete” as some of the art image sites that have been established for many years, the site nonetheless contains an impressive number of images, carefully selected and nicely presented; with well balanced color and good quality of reproduction.
The best thing about the Allpaintings Art Portal, though, is the size of the images. While many of the other art portals have very large images for some works, the Allpaintings site seems to be taking pains to post large images whenever possible, some of them are among the highest resolution images of paintings you’ll find in art portal sites.
Once you’ve drilled down through an artist to an individual painting. look for the link above it to “View larger Image” (the image itself at that point is often linked to a detail crop, or a series of them, click on the text link for the full large image).
The selection of images is impressive as well. Though fewer artists may be represented than other portal sites, the selection of images for an individual artist may include images not found in the others, such as one of the best resources for the pre-tonalist work of George Inness (my post here), good selections of American Impressionist Theodore Robinson and undersung French Impressionist Gustav Caillebotte (my post here), a section dedicated the Pre-Raphaelites (my post here) and related painters, including John William Waterhouse (my post here), a wonderful selection of very high resolution detail crops from Caravaggio’s paintings, and probably the best resource anywhere for one of my (undeservedly obscure) favorites, Frits Thaulow (Hooray! — my post here); just to name a few.
(Image above: Caravaggio, Frits Thaulow, Theodore Robinson, George Inness, Gustav Caillebotte, John William Waterhouse)
As usual in this kind of situation, I’ll issue my Major Time Sink Warning. There are enough beautiful images here to keep you avoiding work for weeks on end.