Drawings and Prints of the Leiden University Library Available Online

The Leiden University Library has made over 20,000 digitized drawings and prints available via its Digital Collections. This means that the core of Leiden University’s collection of European ‘art on paper’, which ranks fourth in the Netherlands in terms of size and importance, is now available in digital form for education, research and the interested public.

The collection includes highlights of Dutch art, such as the landscapes of Roelant Roghman and Anthonie Waterloo, genre scenes by Adriaen and Isaack van Ostade, and caricatures by Cornelis Dusart. The digitized drawings and prints are freely accessible to everyone. Contemporary drawings and prints are not yet available online because of copyright provisions but they can be consulted at the library.

The online collection of drawings includes some exceptional examples of Dutch drawing, such as Jan Gossart’s Spinario, which was voted into last year’s CODART Canon, and Rembrandt’s sketch for his Adam and Eve etching. However, the collection primarily offers a broad overview of drawings from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the present day: from Hendrick Goltzius to Leo Gestel and from Jan van Goyen to Piet van der Hem; their work is now digitally accessible, sometimes in the form of a single drawing and sometimes in large sets.

The same is largely true for the collection of prints, which includes works from the oeuvres of Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, and Richard Roland Holst, as well as topographical prints of Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam and other Dutch cities. There are also many portraits in the collection, for instance of William of Orange, Christiaan Huygens and Erasmus. In contrast to the collection of drawings, the print collection also includes large groups of prints from other European countries, with abundant representation of prints from France (Poussin), Germany (Dürer) and Italy (Raimondi).