Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD) – Explore

The Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD, Netherlands Institute for Art History) is an art-historical information center based in The Hague. It administers a collection of documentary, library and archive material on Western art from the late Middle Ages to the present. Documentation about Dutch art forms the nucleus of the collections. The RKD has an active collecting policy covering painting, drawing and sculpture as well as monumental art, media art, and design. Their collections contain some six million images. RKD Explore is the database of their collections, which in August 2014 contained about 155.000 digital images. It provides access to visual and press documentation, the library, and archives. Various sections of the website contain digitized primary sources:

  • RKDimages. ‘A database with descriptions and images of mainly Dutch paintings, drawings, prints and original photos of before the Second World War. Sculpture, modern Dutch and foreign art works are occasionally introduced, usually in connection with projects.’ An increasing number of these works are available as digital image.
  • RKDportraits. ‘Includes descriptions and images of portraits from the portrait collection iconography (formerly Iconographical Office). Objective of this collection is to document as many portraits of Dutch. The earliest portraits date from the 15th century, while you can also find 21st-century examples. In addition to descriptions of paintings, drawings, sculpture and graphic art this database provides also a generous amount of photographic portraits from before 1920.’

In both of these sections, basic and advanced search are possible. In addition, works can be browsed according to a variety of categories, such as period, artist, medium/technique, shape/dimensions, place, collection, and subject. Works are shown with a small watermark, and can be downloaded (in JPEG format) with a large watermark. A version without watermark can be purchased.

Last update

Saturday, 15 November 2014 - 5:40pm
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