1 (edited by Josselin 2013-08-21 05:58:39)

Topic: artist page properties

Here is a page to deal with issues on an artist's page.

I have been thinking of how we should write the text displayed on the artist's page. When I create a page for an artist, I usually write a short formal text with the main information of his life, which are:
- Nationality, movement, art (sculpture, painting...).
- With whom he trained.
- If he won or failed at a prize (like the Prix de Rome).
- One or two sentences to briefly describe his style.
- An outline of his career, especially his academic positions - if available.

You have several examples of this way of presentation for most of Rococo artists: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/mvmt/detail.php?id=12
Here is an example : http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?ID=3644

One the other hand, I tried to write a more detailed biography for David, here: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?ID=1959
But I don't think the Athenaeum can compete with Wikipedia on this point... We are just an handful of members and write such long texts would be a full time activity.
Moreover, if we start writing long texts, there should be a way to sign them as Wikipedia did, and to store older versions when someone else modifies the text (however I'd like to have this this feature for artworks as well).

If the first solution is chosen, there should be boxes for the different artist's properties I listed above (or other ones).

What do you think of this issue?
Josselin

2 (edited by Josselin 2013-08-21 04:49:28)

Re: artist page properties

It also could be a good idea to display somewhere the gender of the artist.

Re: artist page properties

Hello Josselin:

Get ready for a LONG process! :-)

For now, let us set aside "competing" with anybody, and just do whatever work appeals to us (though I do think we can get a level of detail similar to Wikipedia as we continue to grow).

There are a lot of moving parts to this, so I'll edit this post at the head of our conversation as we work on it. For now, here are my thoughts:

Major functions to add on artist pages

Many of these apply elsewhere on the site, too.

  1. Easier text editing: We need a way to enter text that feels natural and easy, not technical. I have purchased a license for Redactor, which should help. I'll be adding it to the various long text "description" fields across the site over time. You can see how Redactor works here: http://imperavi.com/redactor/

  2. History of edits on a page: The "wiki" system has perfected this over many years, and is a bit technical, so I am not sure we'll do it exactly as they do. But I do want to store and display this information. I have a system I am testing with edit history for exhibitions, and will test the display there first. If it works well, I'll add it to more "core" pages.

  3. History of specific text edits: This one will be a bit of work, but I want to do something similar to this (wait for it to finish loading).

  4. Suggested headings: While I don't want to force people to use certain headings, it would be good to have some suggested standard headings for long articles (like person biographies). So the editing box might eventually have pre-configured headings for things like "Early life," "Beginning of career," etc.

  5. References: Eventually I need to build some forms to add/edit/display entries for things like books, theses/dissertations, articles, and web references. Once that's done, I'll add a way to reference parts of the text, and it will show the bibliography at the bottom, like Wikipedia does.

That's a pretty good list for now. But I think all of those things are do-able, they just take time. As we continue to grow, we'll have more contributors, and we'll slowly have more abilities for people to flesh out those biographies. There's the added benefit that once we figure out referencing, or page history, etc for one page, we can apply it everywhere. So doing this for person records will help the rest of the site.

The only real question is which tasks I work on next.

Add any thoughts you have, or link to web sites or examples that do it well, and I'll take a look at them.

Thanks,
Chris

Re: artist page properties

I agree that the current text system doesn't help to write long texts. Moreover, the coding is not the same than in this forum. The code for creating links is especially awful.

Re: artist page properties

Yeah, the forum is a whole separate packaged codebase. But I am not inclined to rewrite it, because I'd have to make those changes and test every time we upgraded the forum.

If there was a packaged forum software out there that did it better I could upgrade that, but I think most forum software uses those kind of "square bracket" codes. They do it for security I think, so that formatting is "similar to HTML" without actually *being* HTML, allowing people to edit formatting without "injecting" dangerous HTML code into the forum itself.

Do you know of any forums where you really like the editing? I could look at what software they're using...

- Chris

Re: artist page properties

Most forums I read use phpBB https://www.phpbb.com/
With this code, you can have some of the most used codes (bold, italic, underline, link...) on the textbox just by clicking on buttons above it. It really improves the writing, faster and easier to use.
This is the feature I'd like to have the most.
But my knowledge of internet programming ends here..

7 (edited by Josselin 2013-08-21 09:21:54)

Re: artist page properties

One of my biggest expectations with the Athenaeum is to create online catalogues raisonnés for most of artists. This is just my personal opinion of the purpose of the site, I don't know if it matches yours.

In this regard, I have been thinking of a way to display advancement - or percentage of completion for the artists we know how many works they created. For instance, I am currently working on JMW Turner and I mentioned on his page that he painted 550 canvases and 2000 watercolours; I think that there could be a kind of gauge to display the work left to be done with him. I will try to upload everything he painted.
A similar feature could be added for artworks in the list, when they still need information on medium, owner or dimension (a small icon could show that "this artwork needs dimensions info", etc.).

So members could see where they should work.

I know that these are low priorities but I think you should add features like these in the future, when the records become nearly comprehensive for several artists.

8 (edited by Josselin 2013-08-21 09:52:26)

Re: artist page properties

Chris, Can you at least put somewhere a list of tags for textbox in the artist's page, like this one: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/forum/help … ion=bbcode

I'd like to create a list of Turner's travels all over Europe. My idea would be to create a detailed page for each of his travels, as most of his paintings are related to a particular place (the Seine river in 1832, Italy in 1819, etc.), and to have access to them by directly clicking on the artist's page entries for his travels.

This also could be a specific feature designed for really famous artists whose fame and entries here are enough to do this.
Artists sometimes have several stages in their career, which could be relevant to display, along their artworks produced during these periods. For instance, Caravaggio painted at first in Milan, then, Rome, Naples, Malta, Palermo and Naples again.

Again, low priority on this, but I'm thinking of ways to make this site unique.

9 (edited by Josselin 2013-09-11 15:54:15)

Re: artist page properties

Hello Chris,

Two suggestions to improve artist page:

1. Can you create a "circa" feature for artist's dates, as many artists have only suggested dates of birth and death?

2. I would like to have a feature to upload an image of the artist's signature. Maybe you could display it in a small box like the portraits and autoportraits of the artist.

Josselin

10 (edited by Josselin 2013-09-23 14:01:26)

Re: artist page properties

chris_mccormick wrote:

Hello Josselin and Graham,
      Just so you know, I am back from my work trip and ready to dig into things again.

A note on British people and their respective countries: Britain is a rare case where we have "countries within a country" which obviously makes it a challenge to categorise people. I live in the UK, and I know that attitudes here vary. For example, most Welsh people I know do not mind being called "British" instead of "Welsh"; however calling a Scottish person "British" may result in a fight! :-)

To be absolutely correct in a formal sense (i.e., what nationality would the U.N. use for a person?), this is what we need to do:
Before the Act of Union in May 1707 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Union_1707), there was no "Great Britain," and consequently nobody was "British". People with birth dates before that should be referred to by their respective countries only. So someone born in Scotland in 1703 is Scottish but not British.  Someone born in 1710 in Scotland is technically "British" though they wouldn't use that term themselves.

Now, the Act of Union only united England, Scotland, and Wales.  Northern Ireland doesn't get added in until the Acts of Union 1800, which take effect January 1 of 1801. So, someone born in northern Ireland in 1798 is Irish only, but someone born in northern Ireland in 1805 is British, though again they wouldn't call themselves "British".

So, that's the history, but what does it mean for our site? I think we need to be historically correct, so eventually we need to use those two dates to write the correct labels:

Northern Ireland (before 1801):    The label is "Irish"
Northern Ireland (after 1800):      The label is "British (Northern Ireland)"

Scotland (before May 1770):         The label is "Scottish"
Scotland (after May 1770):           The label is "British (Scotland)"

Wales (before 1536):   The label is "Welsh"
Wales (after 1536):     The label is "British (Wales)"

Those are the labels that should eventually be standardised across the site - they will be correct, while provided the best useful information. This means to get the labels right we'll have to have birth dates in place for people, and also have their birth country tagged (i.e., not just "UK").

For searches, we'll be more lenient, so people don't get upset if their search doesn't work. Consider someone searching for all "British" art between 1750 and 1790. Before 1770, there is technically no "Britain" at all, but the average person doesn't know that; what they mean is probably "all art by people born within the current UK borders". So we'll translate that search to include Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, and maybe provide a historical note with the search results.

There are some other countries with similar challenges (I think that the term "Dutch" i similarly weird with some of the islands in the Atlantic), but this is the biggest case.

For now, think of the above as my "template," and don't worry too much about it until I start implementing this. For now, you can use whichever term you like - British or Scottish for example. When we get the tools in place, we'll do a review and make sure everything fits in the new system.

Hello Chris,

I agree with you on this, but it creates a lot of new problems.

Indeed, countries like the Holy Empire, Prussia, the USSR or all the small Italian States disappeared long time ago, but artists of the time were linked with these countries rather than the current ones.
I am somewhat embarrassed to link Brueghel with Belgium, since the country only appeared 250 years later. We'd better label him either with the Spanish Netherlands or the Duchy of Brabant.

Moreover, some artists cannot really be linked with a country. For example, Anton Raphael Mengs was born in Bohemia - now the Czech Republic - but he was German. At this time, Bohemia was a property of Austria, and at the same time a part - as an electoral member - of the Holy Roman Empire. So Mengs can either be linked with Austria or Germany or the Czech Republic! I decided to label him as "German", but this can be disputed.

It would be very much more accurate to follow what you have proposed - as it is more historically accurate - but you need to change all of the nationality system.

I am historian, so I do not have any problem to link artists with their respective country of the time, but can everybody do the same for all the small former States of Germany and Italy? Entering new artists would become complex in the future.
Maybe we can make a feature like this:
"Pieter Brueghel the elder, born near Bree, at the time in the Spanish Netherlands, now in the Netherlands".

Josselin

Re: artist page properties

To Schroetterjoseph:

I have had to downsize some of the images you posted (examples for Gerard ter Borch) as they are far too large to observe on this website.  The downloads I have adjusted are still large but the viewer can appreciate the whole artwork more easily. 

It would be good if you could note the size of the work in case the image you possess is excessively large (it can be downsized easily through Microsoft Office Manager, if you have this facility).

Also, as this website started in the USA, and, is primarily an English language tool, it is best, when possible, not to give German titles to artworks which might present a problem for many observers.  French is better but English would be preferable.

Thanks  kindly,

12 (edited by Josselin 2013-11-25 18:47:06)

Re: artist page properties

Hi Graham,
What are the good proportions for you? I usually try to upload the largest possible, up to 2000 pixels wide - the site refuses bigger images.

josselin

Re: artist page properties

Hi Josselin,

I think 2000 wide is far too big to appreciate the work.  Fine, perhaps, if one wants to move across the subject in great detail.  But I think a maximum of 1260 x 850/900 is ideal.  One can see the entire work close-up and I think this is adequate.  It also presents a better image for the viewer.  I have downloaded an Aert van der Neer from the Met (and I have cropped the edges to remove some wooden frames - I do this with the Berlin Gemaldegalerie).  What do you think?

http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=123828

Re: artist page properties

Hi Graham,
I think it depends on the viewer's screen. I have a 1400px wide one and it images of 2000pix wide are therefore fine to see. I usually like to put large images for very large works - to highlight details - such as this one: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=101724
It is obviously less important for tiny works.
I raised the concern to Chris who answered he wanted to add an automatic "fit-to-window" feature. However, you can do it manually by right clicking on the image, then "display image".

Josselin

15 (edited by Josselin 2013-12-17 18:08:49)

Re: artist page properties

Chris,

When I enter links in a text, I use this code: <a href="LINK" target=blank>TEXT</a>
But it opens the link in a new tab and if you click on another link of the first page, it will open it in the tab opened previously. I don't know if I explain it correctly, but you can try with this page: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?id=5526

Do you know if there is a better code for including links into a text?

Josselin

16 (edited by Josselin 2014-02-05 02:28:29)

Re: artist page properties

chris_mccormick wrote:

There are a lot of moving parts to this, so I'll edit this post at the head of our conversation as we work on it. For now, here are my thoughts:

Major functions to add on artist pages

Many of these apply elsewhere on the site, too.

  1. Easier text editing: We need a way to enter text that feels natural and easy, not technical. I have purchased a license for Redactor, which should help. I'll be adding it to the various long text "description" fields across the site over time. You can see how Redactor works here: http://imperavi.com/redactor/

  2. History of edits on a page: The "wiki" system has perfected this over many years, and is a bit technical, so I am not sure we'll do it exactly as they do. But I do want to store and display this information. I have a system I am testing with edit history for exhibitions, and will test the display there first. If it works well, I'll add it to more "core" pages.

  3. History of specific text edits: This one will be a bit of work, but I want to do something similar to this (wait for it to finish loading).

  4. Suggested headings: While I don't want to force people to use certain headings, it would be good to have some suggested standard headings for long articles (like person biographies). So the editing box might eventually have pre-configured headings for things like "Early life," "Beginning of career," etc.

  5. References: Eventually I need to build some forms to add/edit/display entries for things like books, theses/dissertations, articles, and web references. Once that's done, I'll add a way to reference parts of the text, and it will show the bibliography at the bottom, like Wikipedia does.

That's a pretty good list for now. But I think all of those things are do-able, they just take time. As we continue to grow, we'll have more contributors, and we'll slowly have more abilities for people to flesh out those biographies. There's the added benefit that once we figure out referencing, or page history, etc for one page, we can apply it everywhere. So doing this for person records will help the rest of the site.

Hello Chris,

How these things are going? I have started to write biographical texts for artists and it's not easy to cope with the old text editor. The code for creating links or putting italic or bold characters is long to write and confuses the edit page.
The font also looks very archaic.

Here is the longest text I wrote (with Graham's corrections): http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?ID=1959
It has several properties I would like to be improved on the site:
- master and pupils links.
- official positions in the academic system, and distinctions (in this case, the Prix de Rome). I opened a thread there: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=484
- a way to highlight important artists in art movements page.
- maybe a "featured artist" section somewhere, since David's paintings are almost all on the website, some of them with additional information. I think this kind of artist could be put on the fore to inspire and guide other members. Or maybe away to tag an artist as "finished" (or nearly-).
- a way to "sign" or to be credited for these texts or to show the contribution of each user.

Don't hesitate to go on the links at the end of the page, as I also wrote biographies for most of these artists.

Josselin

Re: artist page properties

Hello Josselin,
    Not much progress on these thus far. This morning I did take some time to get in a VERY basic counting feature for edits and put it on the front page. If a member edits a person, artwork, or museum, it creates a "counter" record, and those are now totalled by month and displayed on the front page like the upload counts. Getting more detail ("What fields were changed?") is quite a big task, but at least the counts will be there.

The other items are each a mini-project on their own. It's very good for you to periodically remind me of these lists so I don't forget them, but I'm not sure when I will get to masters/pupils, awards (like Prix de Rome) and academic positions (like President of the Royal Academy).

On this list, probably the best one to work on next is to replace the main text editing windows for artworks, people, and a couple of other items. To replace the plain text entry field, I have purchased Redactor: http://imperavi.com/redactor/

If I can get that working smoothly in the main text entry fields, it will be more user friendly, and also safer against some types of hacking. I'll post in the forums as I progress with that.

Thanks,
Chris

18 (edited by Josselin 2014-02-06 15:04:33)

Re: artist page properties

I think we should be able to enter the accurate dates of an artist (the precise day). It would be more professional. Wikipedia or artist dictionaries can provide them easily.

Re: artist page properties

Chris,
I'm not sure of how I should write bibliographical entries. Should I put long academic references, like this one:
"Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696-1770: Catalog of an Exhibition Held at the Museo Del Settecento Veneziano, Ca' Rezzonico, Venice, from Sept. 5-Dec. 9, 1996 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Keith Christiansen, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996."
or instead just insert short links to Google books?

The problem is that long academic style entries take a lot of space in the page. You can have an example here:
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?id=5430
I think you should create a tab entitled "Bibliography and useful links". It would be clearer.

I'm also wondering if it is worth to link to copyrighted books, as we need to pay to see the content.

Josselin

Re: artist page properties

Josselin,
    I think the long entries are fine for now. Getting to the vision I have for references will first require some work to have a section of the site which lists books and journals. I want the same kind of "cross-linking" for books as we have for other things.

For example:
I'm on a page for Monet, and there's a reference to a book about French history of the period. I click the link for The Athenaeum "detail page" about that book. The detail page then shows other references to the book within The Athenaeum, bibliographic entries in a variety of common formats (MLA, Harvard, Chicago style, etc), and links to things like Worldcat (to get it from a library) or Google Books/Amazon (to buy it, which would also give our site a small commission). We could go as far with this as we like - scans of book covers, reviews by Athenaeum members, allowing Athenaeum members to "claim" books which they wrote, etc.

All of that is a pretty major task, on par with adding photography as a section/theme of the site.

In the meantime, I would say to add bibliographic and reference information in a  way that pleases you, but try to keep it somewhat standard (for example, always using the word "Bibliography"), so that when we switch over to the new system, I can find and "clean up" existing references with programming rather than manually.

21 (edited by Josselin 2014-09-25 18:35:22)

Re: artist page properties

Josselin wrote:
chris_mccormick wrote:

Hello Josselin and Graham,
      Just so you know, I am back from my work trip and ready to dig into things again.

A note on British people and their respective countries: Britain is a rare case where we have "countries within a country" which obviously makes it a challenge to categorise people. I live in the UK, and I know that attitudes here vary. For example, most Welsh people I know do not mind being called "British" instead of "Welsh"; however calling a Scottish person "British" may result in a fight! :-)

To be absolutely correct in a formal sense (i.e., what nationality would the U.N. use for a person?), this is what we need to do:
Before the Act of Union in May 1707 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Union_1707), there was no "Great Britain," and consequently nobody was "British". People with birth dates before that should be referred to by their respective countries only. So someone born in Scotland in 1703 is Scottish but not British.  Someone born in 1710 in Scotland is technically "British" though they wouldn't use that term themselves.

Now, the Act of Union only united England, Scotland, and Wales.  Northern Ireland doesn't get added in until the Acts of Union 1800, which take effect January 1 of 1801. So, someone born in northern Ireland in 1798 is Irish only, but someone born in northern Ireland in 1805 is British, though again they wouldn't call themselves "British".

So, that's the history, but what does it mean for our site? I think we need to be historically correct, so eventually we need to use those two dates to write the correct labels:

Northern Ireland (before 1801):    The label is "Irish"
Northern Ireland (after 1800):      The label is "British (Northern Ireland)"

Scotland (before May 1770):         The label is "Scottish"
Scotland (after May 1770):           The label is "British (Scotland)"

Wales (before 1536):   The label is "Welsh"
Wales (after 1536):     The label is "British (Wales)"

Those are the labels that should eventually be standardised across the site - they will be correct, while provided the best useful information. This means to get the labels right we'll have to have birth dates in place for people, and also have their birth country tagged (i.e., not just "UK").

For searches, we'll be more lenient, so people don't get upset if their search doesn't work. Consider someone searching for all "British" art between 1750 and 1790. Before 1770, there is technically no "Britain" at all, but the average person doesn't know that; what they mean is probably "all art by people born within the current UK borders". So we'll translate that search to include Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, and maybe provide a historical note with the search results.

There are some other countries with similar challenges (I think that the term "Dutch" i similarly weird with some of the islands in the Atlantic), but this is the biggest case.

For now, think of the above as my "template," and don't worry too much about it until I start implementing this. For now, you can use whichever term you like - British or Scottish for example. When we get the tools in place, we'll do a review and make sure everything fits in the new system.

Hello Chris,

I agree with you on this, but it creates a lot of new problems.

Indeed, countries like the Holy Empire, Prussia, the USSR or all the small Italian States disappeared long time ago, but artists of the time were linked with these countries rather than the current ones.
I am somewhat embarrassed to link Brueghel with Belgium, since the country only appeared 250 years later. We'd better label him either with the Spanish Netherlands or the Duchy of Brabant.

Moreover, some artists cannot really be linked with a country. For example, Anton Raphael Mengs was born in Bohemia - now the Czech Republic - but he was German. At this time, Bohemia was a property of Austria, and at the same time a part - as an electoral member - of the Holy Roman Empire. So Mengs can either be linked with Austria or Germany or the Czech Republic! I decided to label him as "German", but this can be disputed.

It would be very much more accurate to follow what you have proposed - as it is more historically accurate - but you need to change all of the nationality system.

I am historian, so I do not have any problem to link artists with their respective country of the time, but can everybody do the same for all the small former States of Germany and Italy? Entering new artists would become complex in the future.
Maybe we can make a feature like this:
"Pieter Brueghel the elder, born near Bree, at the time in the Spanish Netherlands, now in the Netherlands".

Josselin


In addition, maybe we should allow multiple citizenship for some artists.
For instance, Rothko was born in Lithuania in 1903, at this time part of the Russian Empire, but lived all his life in the USA. I labelled him as Lithuanian, but he is said American in museum catalogues.
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?id=5583

Many other artists who emigrated to the USA are in this situation. How should we deal with them? Are they "American" or not?

22 (edited by Josselin 2014-10-28 13:54:35)

Re: artist page properties

I think the way the artist's name and nickname are displayed must be modified.

There are three situations:

1. When the artist is better known under his nickname than his real name. It is especially relevant for Italian artists of the Renaissance.
Examples:
Leonardo da Vinci (real name: Leonardo di ser Piero), Caravaggio (real name: Michelangelo Merisi), Tintoretto (real name: Jacopo Comin).
Nobody uses the real name of these artists, but I think they must be mentioned to look professional. The problem is that we currently have to "cheat" and put the nickname in the real name fields, and the result doesn't look really good.
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?ID=1632
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?ID=1935

Perhaps there should be an option in the artist form which would say "set the nickname as the principal name" or sth like that. Only the nickname would be displayed in the list.

2. When the artist is equally known under his real name and his nickname.
Examples: Paolo Veronese (also listed under his real name Paolo Caliari in museums), Claude Lorrain (real name: Claude Gellée: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?id=4425)
In this case, both names should appear in the artist list (maybe with a similar option as above).

3. When the artist is more famous under his real name.
Example: Luca Giordano (nickname: Fa Presto).

Nothing to do with them, the current system should not be changed.

Re: artist page properties

We also need to have "activity" dates for artists whose birth and/or death dates are unknown. Perhaps a second thickbox next to the "circa" feature.

24 (edited by Josselin 2014-10-27 17:02:35)

Re: artist page properties

We should be able to "unlink" a portrait connected to a person when there is a mistake.
For example, this artwork is not a self portrait, but it is still displayed as such on the artist page: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?id=75104