Netherlands Institute for Art History

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As the logos on the window show, the RKD shares the same building (located near Den Haag Centraal) with the Nederlands Letterkundig Museum [nl
] (LM), the Huygens ING, the Netherlands Music Institute (NMI) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. KoninklijkeBibliotheek2.jpg
As the logos on the window show, the RKD shares the same building (located near Den Haag Centraal) with the Nederlands Letterkundig Museum  [ nl ] (LM), the Huygens ING, the Netherlands Music Institute (NMI) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

The Netherlands Institute for Art History or RKD (Dutch: RKD-Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis) is located in The Hague and is home to the largest art history center in the world. The center specializes in documentation, archives, and books on Western art from the late Middle Ages until modern times. All of this is open to the public, and much of it has been digitized and is available on their website. The main goal of the bureau is to collect, categorize, and make art research available, most notably in the field of Dutch Masters.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

Art history the academic study of objects of art in their historical development

Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts; that is genre, design, format, and style. The study includes painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects.


Via the available databases, the visitor can gain insight into archival evidence on the lives of many artists of past centuries. The library owns approximately 450,000 titles, of which ca. 150,000 are auction catalogs. There are ca. 3,000 magazines, of which 600 are currently running subscriptions. Though most of the text is in Dutch, the standard record format includes a link to library entries and images of known works, which include English as well as Dutch titles.

The RKD also manages the Dutch version of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, a thesaurus of terms for management of information on art and architecture. The original version is an initiative of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Thesaurus reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning

In general usage, a thesaurus is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning, in contrast to a dictionary, which provides definitions for words, and generally lists them in alphabetical order. The main purpose of such reference works is for users "to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed," quoting Peter Mark Roget, author of Roget's Thesaurus.

Getty Research Institute organization with archives and databases for art history and provenance research

The Getty Research Institute (GRI), located at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California, is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts".


The collection was started through bequests by Frits Lugt, art historian and owner of a massive collection of drawings and prints, and Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (1863–1930), a collector, art historian and museum curator. Their bequest formed the basis for both the art collection and the library, which is now mostly housed in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library).

Frits Lugt Dutch art historian and art collector 1884 - 1970

Frederik Johannes "Frits" Lugt, was a self-taught collector and connoisseur of Dutch drawings and prints and a selfless and tireless compiler of essential reference tools documenting Northern European prints and drawings, collectors' stamps and sale catalogues. An authority on Rembrandt's drawings, he collected all of the known etchings made by Rembrandt during his career.

Cornelis Hofstede de Groot Dutch art historian

Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, was a Dutch art collector, art historian and museum curator.

Open access website

Though not all of the library's holdings have been digitised, much of its metadata is accessible online. The website itself is available in both a Dutch and an English user interface.

Metadata data about data

Metadata is "data information that provides information about other data". Many distinct types of metadata exist, among these descriptive metadata, structural metadata, administrative metadata, reference metadata and statistical metadata.

Online artist pages

In the artist database RKDartists, each artist is assigned a record number. To reference an artist page directly, use the code listed at the bottom of the record, usually of the form: followed by the artist's record number. For example, the artist record number for Salvador Dalí is 19752, so his RKD artist page can be referenced. [1]

Salvador Dalí Spanish artist

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Dalí de Púbol, known professionally as Salvador Dalí, was a Spanish Surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

Online artworks pages

In the images database RKDimages, each artwork is assigned a record number. To reference an artwork page directly, use the code listed at the bottom of the record, usually of the form: followed by the artwork's record number. For example, the artwork record number for The Night Watch is 3063, so its RKD artwork page can be referenced. [2]

<i>The Night Watch</i> painting by Rembrandt

Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, also known as The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch, but commonly referred to as The Night Watch, is a 1642 painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. It is in the collection of the Amsterdam Museum but is prominently displayed in the Rijksmuseum as the best known painting in its collection. The Night Watch is one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Online thesaurus of art terms

The Art and Architecture Thesaurus also assigns a record for each term, but these can not be referenced online by record number. Rather, they are used in the databases and the databases can be searched for terms. For example, the painting called "The Night Watch" is a militia painting, and all records fitting this keyword (Dutch: algemene trefwoord) can be seen by selecting this from the image screen. [3]

The thesaurus is a set of general terms, but the RKD also contains a database for an alternate form of describing artworks, that today is mostly filled with biblical references. This is the iconclass database. To see all images that depict Miriam's dance, the associated iconclass code 71E1232 can be used as a special search term. [4]

Related Research Articles

Art museum Building or space for the exhibition of art

An art museum or art gallery is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or have restrictions in place. Although primarily concerned with visual art, art galleries are often used as a venue for other cultural exchanges and artistic activities, such as performance arts, music concerts, or poetry readings. Art museums also frequently host themed temporary exhibitions which often include items on loan from other collections.

Iconclass is a specialized library classification designed for art and iconography. It was originally conceived by Henri van de Waal, and was further developed by a group of scholars after his death.

<i>The Persistence of Memory</i> Painting by Salvador Dali, Surrealism

The Persistence of Memory is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí, and one of the most recognizable works of Surrealism. First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referenced in popular culture, and sometimes referred to by more descriptive titles, such as "Melting Clocks", "The Soft Watches" or "The Melting Watches".

Iconography Branch of art history

Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct from artistic style. The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών ("image") and γράφειν.

Salvador Dalí Museum Art museum in Florida, U.S.

The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, dedicated to the works of Salvador Dalí. It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe. It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is a product of the J. Paul Getty Trust included in the Getty Vocabulary Program. The TGN includes names and associated information about places. Places in TGN include administrative political entities and physical features. Current and historical places are included. Other information related to history, population, culture, art and architecture is included.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki art museum in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. It frequently hosts travelling international exhibitions.

Max Jakob Friedländer German curator and art historian

Max Jakob Friedländer was a German museum curator and art historian. He was a specialist in Early Netherlandish painting and the Northern Renaissance, who volunteered at the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin in 1891 under Friedrich Lippmann. On Lippmann's recommendation, Wilhelm von Bode took him on as his assistant in 1896 for the paintings division. He was appointed deputy director under Bode in 1904 and became director himself from 1924 to 1932, working on his history From Van Eyck to Bruegel and the 14-volume survey Early Netherlandish Painting. In 1933 he was dismissed as a "non-Aryan" and in 1939 had to moved to Amsterdam as a result of being a Jew. He attained the rank and title of geheimrat under the German Empire.He also donated several works to the collection and worked in the art trade as an advisor, to Hermann Göring among others.

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is a controlled vocabulary used for describing items of art, architecture, and material culture. The AAT contains generic terms, such as "cathedral," but no proper names, such as "Cathedral of Notre Dame." The AAT is used by, among others, museums, art libraries, archives, catalogers, and researchers in art and art history. The AAT is a thesaurus in compliance with ISO and NISO standards including ISO 2788, ISO 25964 and ANSI/NISO Z39.19.

Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten painter from the Northern Netherlands

Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten was a Dutch painter of marine art and landscapes, particularly of events of the First Anglo-Dutch War and Dutch-Swedish War.

Geert van Beijeren Bergen en Henegouwen and Adriaan van Ravesteijn were gallerists and art collectors in the Netherlands. Van Beijeren and Van Ravesteijn were the founders of the leading Dutch art gallery Art & Project (1968–2001) and publishers of the art magazine of the same name (1968–1989). During its thirty-year existence, the gallery as well as the magazine made substantial contributions to the Dutch art climate.

Charles Emmanuel Biset painter

Charles Emmanuel Biset or Karel Emmanuel Biset was a Flemish painter who had a peripatetic career working in various cities and countries including his hometown Mechelen, Paris, Annonay, Brussels, Antwerp and Breda. He worked in many genres including genre scenes of interiors with merry companies and gallery paintings, history painting, still life and portraiture.

Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg painter

Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg or Willem Schubart van Ehrenberg (also: Wilhem Schubert von Ehrenberg or Wilhem Schubert van Ehrenberg was a Flemish painter mainly active in Antwerp who specialized in architectural paintings including of real and imaginary church interiors, Renaissance palaces and picture galleries.

Visual arts art forms that create works that are primarily visual in nature

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines such as performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts also involve aspects of visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.

<i>The Lute Player</i> (Hals) painting by Frans Hals

The Lute Player refers to a painting from 1623 or 1624 now in the Louvre by the Haarlem painter Frans Hals, showing a smiling actor wearing a jester's costume and playing a lute.

Catharina Backer painter from the Northern Netherlands

Catharina Backer was an art collector and an 18th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands.

<i>The Art Gallery of Jan Gildemeester Jansz</i> painting by Adriaan de Lelie

The Art Gallery of Jan Gildemeester Jansz is a painting created by the Dutch painter Adriaan de Lelie in 1794-95. It is part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 63.7 cm wide and 85.7 cm high, executed in oil paint on panel. It depicts the art collector Jan Gildemeester Jansz in the midst of his large collection of paintings, showing them to friends.

Cornelis Hoogendijk was a Dutch art collector.


  1. "Salvador Dalí". Netherlands Institute for Art History. Retrieved 26 February 2015.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  2. "Civic guardsmen of Amsterdam under command of Banninck Cocq". Netherlands Institute for Art History. Retrieved 10 December 2015.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  3. All available records for "militia painting" in RKDimages
  4. All available records for iconclass code "71E1232" in RKDimages

Coordinates: 52°04′54″N4°19′39″E / 52.0816°N 4.3275°E / 52.0816; 4.3275