Flemish art archives go digital on Dutch website


The Rubenianum art archive in Antwerp has launched an ambitious project to put its collection online. Established in 1963, the little-known archive was created in a building at the back of the Rubens’ House Museum to bring together documentation on the visual arts of Flanders from the 16th to the 18th century. The centre focuses mainly on gathering material connected to the great Flemish painters like Rubens, Van Dyck, Bruegel and Teniers. The documents – ranging from scholarly articles to auction house catalogues –are currently kept in files and boxes in the Kolveniersstraat building. Dutch digital archive But things are about to change as the Rubenianum embarks on a major digital project in cooperation with the National Office for Art-Historical Documentation (RKD) in The Hague. The Dutch organisation, which has been developing a digital archive for the past 20 years, employs a staff of 77 compared to the seven permanent staff at the Antwerp institution. “We own seven million photos and illustrations in addition to 256,000 records of artists, collectors and art historians,” says RKD director Rudi Ekkart. The Rubenianum plans to launch the project by adding its material to the RKD website. “The RKD has enormous expertise,” says Véronique Van de Kerckhof, curator of the Rubenianum (photo). But the small Flemish organisation eventually hopes to create its own website.

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