CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Help Make the Archival Notes of Abraham Bredius Accessible

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History is asking the help of the public to transcribe the archival notes of art historian Abraham Bredius. As of last week, the crowdsourcing platform through which the RKD aims to enable the accessibility of the Bredius notes is open to the public. Anyone who would like to contribute to this project can register as a volunteer on the platform (in Dutch).

From the late nineteenth century, Abraham Bredius (1955-1946), Rembrandt specialist and director of the Mauritshuis until 1909, spent countless hours in the Dutch archives, which at that time were not publicly accessible yet. He was one of the first to conduct a thorough research into artists who were active between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth century. In doing so, he took a systematic approach and wrote down whatever he considered relevant to expanding the knowledge of their lives and works. Bredius’ painstaking research eventually resulted in tens of thousands of excerpts: summaries of equally numerous archive entries, written on small scraps of paper. The data collected by Bredius still offers a wealth of information which the RKD would like to make digital available to the public. To achieve this, help is needed.

Excerpt from the file of the Imbrechts, an Amsterdam family of painters, RKD collection, Abraham Bredius Archive

The aim of the crowdsourcing project is to provide the excerpts Bredius compiled with metadata. Participants are asked to register the data from the Bredius notes – such as place names, dates, names of persons and occupations – and also to determine the type of notarial act. Anyone who relishes a challenge and enjoys being actively involved in a project of substance can apply as a volunteer by creating an account. How much time you invest and for how long you participate is entirely up to you.

See the RKD website for more details and to get started.