Lines and Colors art blog

Lady of Shalott - Waterhouse
I decided my first post for this weblog would be ARC.

This site is just amazing. The heart of it is an enormous virtual museum of realist and representational art filled with high-resolution images of thousands of paintings (as well as some drawings).

Browse through the Museum (online galleries), which you can sort by artist’s name, nationality or dates. The vast array of monitor-filling high-res images are sometimes accompanied by super-high-res versions that let you see details you can’t see in most book or poster reproductions.

The site is somewhat clouded by its emphasis on art politics and its “Philosophy”, basically a constant rail against modernism that takes on an air of importance and exclusionary doctrine that starts to sound like… well, like the arrogant, exclusionary art-establishment modernists themselves. ARC champions 19th century academic art, once the art establishment, now out of favor, against the current modernists, once out of favor, now the art establishment. (Sigh.) Same as it ever was.

Anyway, don’t let that (or their incessant, inexplicable attempts to elevate William Bouguereau to demi-god status) get in the way of the art. The art is spectacular. The art is amazing. Any minor gripes I might have fall by the wayside in light of what they’ve accomplished. ARC is a mind-opening, eye-dazzling online collection.

The site also includes a gallery of selected modern realists, a listing of ateliers (studios and schools) of modern realists, and many other resources for anyone interested in representational art.

Warning – be prepared to spend hours feeding your eyeballs once you start.


6 responses to “Art Renewal Center”

  1. I noticed that it is nearly a whole year since you started the excellent “Lines and Colors”, and thought I’d see what your first post was.

    As to the topic: (The ARC), do you think they use a special filter for their images to give them that typical golden glow?

    I find duplicates of the ARC image offerings elsewhere on the web, and find that by comparison, the ARC versions always have a warmer, more amber tint.

    I’ll have to record an action for Photoshop so as to give any downloaded ARC picture a digital wash and brush up before saving it to disk. 🙂

  2. Nice thought, Michael, thanks.

    Yes, I’ve noticed the color shift too, particularly as I compare reproductions from ARC to other online galleries. Unfortunately, I find little across-the-board reliabliity on color reproduction on any of the gallery sites, although some are a little better than others. Even books are often off that way. The best course, as always is to try to stand in front of the real thing whenever possible.

    ARC can’t be beat, however, for the breadth and depth of their online collections of representational art. They select good examples as well and often showcase fine pieces you won’t find elsewhere.

    They also feature more high-resolution reproductions than anyone else, some of the super-high res ones are superb and well worth the trouble to color correct.

  3. I need information as to obtain an authorization document to use the illustrations “Elegy” or “Douleur d’Amour” and “Flora and Zephyr” de William-Adolphe Bouguereau, in a romance that I’m writing. Of that it forms would receive illustrations, if has cost, which the value and as to effect the payment. In the hope to reach my objective with your cooperation.
    Thinking you in advance,

  4. Regina,

    Comments and questions left here will not necessarily be seen by someone at ARC. You should contact them directly using the contact form on their home page (in the right hand column toward the bottom).

  5. W Ardenne Avatar
    W Ardenne

    Have you read the essays and letters the ARC publish on their site? I found their denigration of artists they dislike very disturbing. By polarising attitudes towards art, they are actually making contemporary representational artists look like reactionaries, when the vast majority of us are not ideological at all, and appreciate the best examples of modernism, abstract art, and non-European art as much as the best works of the Academically trained artists of the past. Unfortunately you have started a wonderful blog on a wrong footing by recommending this organisation.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      If you look at the date, you’ll notice that this post is now 7 years old. Even at the time, however, in my comment at the bottom under “Site Quirks”, I say “ careful or you’ll step in the philosophy”.

      In the past couple of years I have stopped linking to ARC as a resource for my posts on historical artists; not because of their philosophical attitude, but because they now require a login for accessing the higher resolution images.