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80,000 Watercolor Portraits (and Counting) Paint a Pre-Photography Picture of the Planet #MakerEducation

80,000 watercolor paintings of the natural world from the pre-photography era have recently been digitized in an effort to both preserve the images and share them with the public, from Smithsonian.com.

Thousands of such paintings made before 1900 remain in existence today, but many are “fragile, inaccessible” or at risk of being lost. The database’s mission is to digitally preserve these images and help them find new meaning today, whether it’s “combating climate change” or “helping rebuild heritage sites destroyed in war.”

As the portal’s “Search Tips” page notes, users can navigate the Watercolour World map to narrow down images by location, or input keywords such as “Flora & Fauna,” “Travel & Transport,” “rivers” and “religious buildings.” Additional filters include artist name, collection (the British Museum has contributed 15,065 watercolors so far, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art has offered up 2,897) and date range.

Read more.


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