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Research data . Dataset . 2022

Inventories of 17th-century Dutch painters and art dealers: the Künstler-Inventare database

Li, Weixuan;
Open Access
Published: 22 Dec 2022
Publisher: Zenodo

Abraham Bredius’ seminal work Künstler-Inventare contains over 150 inventories of artists’ possessions in the Dutch Republic. However, this rich source has never been fully transformed into datasets, partially because Bredius was selective in his transcriptions of artists’ inventories with a focus on paintings. To fill this gap and to overcome Bredius’ biases, the Virtual Interior project assembled and transcribed 46 inventories of artists’ and art dealers’ homes in 17th-century Amsterdam. The selection of the inventories was based on three criteria: 1) The artists’ and art dealers’ inventories in my sample were drawn up during an artist’s lifetime or shortly after his death; 2) the inventories listed goods arranged by room; 3) the original documents of the inventories can still be traced in the Amsterdam City Archives. Forty-six inventories were selected and transcribed from the original sources or copied from existing publications. The majority of my samples can be found in the notarial archives (Archive nr. 5075) and the rest in the Archive of the Chamber of Insolvency (Desolate Boedel kamer, Archive nr. 5072), both preserved in the Amsterdam City Archives. Starting with the published inventories, Bart Reuvekamp from our project team traced them back to the original sources in the archive, transcribed centuries-old handwritten pages, and compiled the listed objects in digital form. In this way, our database is able to encompass all belongings present in painters’ workshops, filling in the blanks that Bredius and other authors neglected or chose to leave out – the missing information that once hindered our comprehension of how artists organized their studios. The dataset is organized as follows: 1_Intro_and_data_explanation.xlsx introduces the dataset and explains the columns in the following files 2_Inventory_list.csv hosts the details of the inventories in this dataset 3_Inventory_items.csv contains the full transcriptions and categorical data of the objects in the inventories 4_Inventory_relationships.csv captures all the people mentioned in the inventories in the pre- or postscript and/or as debtors or creditors 5_Inventory_category_reference.csv provides a reference table for the ‘object_type’ and ‘object_category’ columns in 3_Inventory_items.csv 6_Inventory_subjectmatter_reference.csv offers a reference table for the ‘painting_subject’ and ‘painting_genre’ columns in 3_Inventory_items.csv NB: This Künstler-Inventare database is a provisional version. The correction and final data process has not been fully finished in Version 1. The transcriptions might contain errors and need to be treated with caution.

This project is financed by NWO Smart Culture - Big Data / Digital Humanities grant


Painters' studios, Inventory, 17th-century, Amsterdam, Art History

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Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage