‘The Rembrandt Database’, new research resource on Rembrandt paintings

22 September 2012

As of this week the new website ‘The Rembrandt Database’ is live. The Rembrandt Database is an inter-institutional research resource for information and documentation on paintings by Rembrandt – or attributed to him, either now or in the past – in museums around the world. The Rembrandt Database is open to anyone.

The database is still in the development stage. The website currently contains 1,700 digital documents (visual and textual material) relating to 12 paintings in 3 different museums. This number will grow considerably in the coming period.

The Rembrandt Database is a joint initiative of the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History) and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its content is provided by a range of partner institutions around the world. The Rembrandt Database is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York.

Why a Rembrandt Database?
For years Rembrandt’s paintings have been the subject of many exhibitions and publications and a specific focus of technical research, which has produced an extensive and wide-ranging body of information and documentation. This material is preserved in various museums, research institutes, archives and laboratories around the world. The documentation is generally difficult to access, still unavailable in digital form, and not yet organized as a coherent and interrelated body of material.

The Rembrandt Database is a sustainable repository of existing information and documentation that is made available in a technologically advanced way. This service does not aim to replace the study of original objects or consultation among colleagues, but rather to speed up and facilitate research.

Even though the infrastructure of The Rembrandt Database could just as well be used to carry out research on other artists and themes, such a project is particularly valuable in the case of Rembrandt, owing to the wealth of information and documentation available and the enduring scholarly interest in this subject.

The Rembrandt Database aims to become the first port of call for research on Rembrandt’s paintings. For this reason The Rembrandt Database collaborates with a large number of institutions in order to add more paintings and more documentation to the website.

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