It’s been several years since the attacks on 9/11, but the events refuse to be confined to history. They continue to shape life and discourse in New York City, the United States, and the world, and the subject touches on disciplines as varied as social studies, journalism, political science, international relations, religious studies, economics, and civics. The Artstor Digital Library offers extraordinary images that provide many angles through which this complex episode can be considered.

A dazed man picks up a paper that was blown out of the towers after the attack of the World Trade Center, and begins to read it. ©Larry Towell / Magnum Photos. Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos

Dozens of images of the attack on the World Trade Center are available in the Magnum Photos collection, which also includes photographs of New York City in the following days and subsequent commemorations such as the Tribute of Light at Ground Zero on the second anniversary of the attacks. The collection also features magnificent views of the World Trade Center from the 1970s to the 1990s.

The event and its ensuing developments brought forth a wide range of reactions; these are represented in the Digital Library with works by contemporary artists, from the elegiac National Tribute Quilt in the American Folk Art Museum to searingly critical pieces by renowned political artist Hans Haacke in Contemporary Art (Larry Qualls Archive).

There are also glimmers of wonder among the many solemn images. A particularly touching piece is a Mexican retablo commissioned in gratitude for the survival of a loved one who was working in the Twin Towers during the attack.