What is RKDexcerpts?
RKDexcerpts is a database that gives access to a unique collection of archive material known as the ‘Hofstede de Groot index cards’. Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (1863-1930) was an important art historian whose bequest led to the foundation of the RKD. The index cards carry descriptions of primarily seventeenth-century Dutch works of art, which were copied by Hofstede de Groot’s assistants from catalogues of auctions, exhibitions or collections. Hofstede de Groot added his own observations to works he had seen first-hand. After he died, the indexing work was continued by the RKD. Because it is such a vital resource for provenance research and the reconstruction of artists’ oeuvres, the entire card system has been digitised. The cards also hold important data for the reconstruction of historic collections, for iconographic research and can provide information about the lives of artists.
The contents of RKDexcerpts
The database comprises c. 1,200,000 scanned index cards from the Hofstede de Groot Archive, relating to Dutch art from the seventeenth century but also to Flemish and Dutch art from the sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The data is recorded in various languages including French, German and English, depending on the source from which it was extracted. The cards also contain hand-written annotations by Cornelis Hofstede de Groot and members of RKD staff.
Searching in RKDexcerpts
You can search for artists’ names or for words in the text. To search by artist enter a surname in the box designated ‘artist’. The result will appear in the window to the left showing you the artist(s) matching your search. You can narrow your search to a specific subject category by clicking on the plus sign in front of the artist’s name. There are up to four sub-categories; the number offered will depend on the artist’s oeuvre. On the right-hand side you will see a list of index cards. You can scroll through these in a separate window. On the left-hand side, the metadata for each card is displayed along with a unique reference number. You can use this number to refer to cards in a publication or for quick retrieval of a particular record in a new search. Filling in the ‘language’ field may also facilitate your search. When searching by text you can enter a keyword (for example the name of a collector) in the ‘text’ field and combine this with symbols that allow you to search for variant spellings (fuzzy string searching) to increase the range of your search. The result will once again appear in a window, with to the left a list of artists for whom index cards exist that are relevant to your search. To the right you can see a list of the index cards. Simply click on an artist’s name in order to view all cards relating to that artist.
Your response to RKDexcerpts
We would be very glad to receive corrections to the data, and welcome any relevant new information (preferably naming your source). Your new information will be incorporated into the database as quickly as possible.
Questions, comments and additional information can be sent to:
Reinier van ‘t Zelfde MA