CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Optimizing the “Memoria in beeld” database

Truus van Bueren

The online website and database Representations of medieval memoria. Memorial paintings and sculptures from the Netherlands comprises over 500 works of art. While the function of a majority of these has already been established, that of many others still remains unclear. Memorials are paintings or sculptures with a religious image, incorporating the prayer portraits, coats of arms, and patron saints of the persons commemorated, and a text with their name and date of death. Though the database is in Dutch, it also contains an extensive article in English on the results of the research on these memorials. The present location of the memorials ranges from museum collections in Amsterdam, Chicago, Kansas City, Poznan, and Warsaw to churches in France and Sweden. The database offers a broad overview of this type of Northern Netherlandish art.

The website’s search options enable scholars to conduct comparative research. They can establish whether the memorial sculptures and paintings (including stained glass windows from churches) in their museum collections are either traditional or unusual. In so doing they are encouraged to extensively research matters of context (its function in the memorial culture, the commissioner, and so forth). Museum curators are kindly requested to get in touch with us if we have not yet included works of art from their own or other collections. We welcome new information, corrections, better color scans, new publications, etc. In addition, please feel free to consult us about memorials.

Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsaanen, Adoration of the shepherds, 1512. Museo e Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte Napoli. Features in Memoria in Beeld

In the Market of Ideas session we can discuss works of art in your collection, but we would also like to explore possibilities for keeping the database up to date. What can be done to improve the content of the database and maintain high standards in the years to come?

For additional information, visit the website Please see the MeMO website,, which contains an article on the MeMO project and links to several other of the project’s websites, including the Newsletter Medieval Memoria Online,

About van Truus van Bueren

Art historian Dr. Truus van Bueren is an associate professor at Utrecht University. She researches medieval memorial culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. This has resulted in publications, papers, and the Life after death exhibition in 1999/2000. Five doctoral students participate in her memoria project. Van Bueren also leads the Medieval Memoria Online project, funded by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).