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RKD and Iconclass

Already in 1950s the RKD-The Netherlands Institute for Art History began its collaboration with Henri van de Waal on the development of Iconclass, with the publication of mounted and annotated photographs of Dutch works of art, known as DIAL (Decimal Index of the Art of the Low Countries). From 1950 until 1982, 28 sets of 500 cards were produced, making for a total of 14,000 items. Naturally, DIAL, which is available at various art-historical institutes around the world, can be consulted in the RKD reading room. These DIAL cards, however, cannot be accessed digitally, but some are included in the RKDimages database which is accessible via Iconclass notations.

In addition, the RKD’s Iconography department maintains a large collection of image documentations in paintings, drawings, and prints by Dutch and foreign artists, which can be accessed using Iconclass. Only recently, this documentation was expanded significantly with the transfer of similar collections assembled at the University of Leiden and the VU University Amsterdam.

Thanks to Iconclass notations, a large number of artworks have been made accessible in RKDimages, which can be consulted via the RKD website. The RKD’s book collection is also arranged by Iconclass. You can use the the Iconclass notation as the key word.

RKD acquired the Iconclass software in 2006. The management and the further development of the Iconclass system fits in with the RKD’s role as a terminology-managing institution.

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