ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


21 - 22 June 2018
National Museum of Denmark, Cinema theatre, Ny Vestergade 10, Copenhagen

‘The ARTECHNE Database: An Online Tool for Art Technological Source Research’, poster presentation at CATS Conference, 21-22 June, Copenhagen

Jenny Boulboullé will present the co-authored Poster ‘The ARTECHNE Database: An Online Tool for Art Technological Source Research. Case study: Materials in the Mayerne Manuscript’ (Jenny Boulboullé, Marieke Hendriksen, Martijn van der Klis, Alex Hebing, Jurjen Munk, Roland Blokland) at the  Trading Paintings and Painters’ Materials 1550-1800 CATS Conference in Copenhagen, 21-22 June 2018.

This poster aims to inform the community of conservators and technical art historians about the ARTECHNE Database, a valuable open access online tool for art technological source research. The development of the database is coordinated by dr. Marieke Hendriksen. It is built in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Lab at Utrecht University, and part of the ERC-funded ARTECHNE research project, led by Sven Dupré at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. The content and search functions of the database are continuously expanded and refined by the members of the ARTECHNE team and our collaborators.

The database contains fully searchable digitized sources on artisanal techniques, such as recipes, books of secrets, and artist handbooks, from the period 1500-1900, in Latin, Dutch, German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. It incorporates datasets that would otherwise be orphaned, adheres to the Five Star Open Data standard, and is linked to the Getty Vocabularies. Because all sources are geotagged, it is possible to visualize geographical and historical spreading of the sources that come up in any given search in the geographical map and timeline. The poster provides 1) a short general introduction to the ARTECHNE database, 2) information on how to search for materials in its corpus of more than 6000 records, and 3) it presents a case study of a well-known art technological source text, the Mayerne Manuscript MS 2052., that has recently been digitized by the British Library.

The poster showcases how our work on this important manuscript, that was recently digitized by the British Library, facilitates research on the original folios next to the transcribed pages. The ARTECHNE database will allow access to a transcript based on Ernst Berger’s 1901 edition from which all editorial additions have been removed so that it only contains the text visible on the folio. The textual content of this ‘raw transcript’ can be investigated with digital tools, e.g. visualizations such as word clouds (that allow for visualizations of the most frequent words, with an option to normalise frequencies and deal with abundantly present function words like ‘the’ and ‘and’) and collocations (which shows terms that co-occur).

The case study will show how the ARTECHNE database facilitates research on artists’ materials mentioned in the Mayerne Manuscript by linking  these to a glossary of historical material names in the database. Moreover, the database allows for searches of materials that take into account historical varieties in spelling. Besides making it possible to conduct research on all 170 folios of MS 2052 and on selected sections, the database also allows for comparison between this source text and other art technological texts or recipe corpora. The case study will present information on the expected possibilities and potentialities of comparative research between two and more sources as well as some preliminary results of our research on the Mayerne Manuscript.

Download the poster here