Gernsheim Photographic Corpus of Drawings

Overview

Federico Barocci | Head and arm of an infant | British Museum. Dept. of Prints and Drawings, 1901-4-17-32 | Image and original data provided by the Gernsheim Photographic Corpus of Drawings established in 1937 The Gernsheim Photographic Corpus of Drawings and ARTstor are collaborating to create an online version of the renowned photographic archive of old master drawings in the Digital Library. For more than half a century, the Corpus has been documenting old master drawings in scores of archives, libraries, and museums around the world. An ongoing effort of Dr. Walter and Dr. Jutta Gernsheim, the Corpus embodies an unsurpassed commitment to serving the scholarly needs of the international community of art historians. The Corpus presently embodies approximately 189,000 extraordinary black-and-white photographs of European drawings from the 15th to the early 20th century. As a subscription service, the Corpus is only available in its entirety at a small number of scholarly photo archives in Europe, Britain, and the United States. Incomplete copies of the Corpus may be found in a few other locations, but this remarkable resource has never been readily accessible to the majority of scholars, teachers and curators who would benefit from consulting its riches.

Through its ongoing partnership with the Corpus, ARTstor has digitized and is progressively releasing a comprehensive online version of this invaluable art historical resource. As the project proceeds, ARTstor is engaging the participation of the many museums whose drawings collections are represented in the Corpus, and anticipates making digital versions of the images available to ARTstor users in phases.

The Corpus presently embodies approximately 189,000 extraordinary black-and-white photographs of European drawings from the 15th to the early 20th century.


ARTstor is now inviting further museums to participate in this important project. Antony Griffiths, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, voiced the museum's strong support for ARTstor's effort to both preserve the Corpus and help it enter a new era as a key resource for the art historian — something that has been high on the agenda of the larger community of drawings curators. "The British Museum has been associated with the Gernsheim Photographic Corpus since its beginning, and has seen it grow into the greatest archive of photos of Old Master drawings in the world. We are now delighted that it will be made more widely available through ARTstor."

In reaching this agreement, James Shulman, President of ARTstor, expressed ARTstor's enthusiasm in collaborating to use digital technologies to make this unique resource more broadly available for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes. “The Gernsheim Corpus is truly a unique labor of love,” says Shulman. “We at ARTstor are privileged and excited to be playing a role in making this unrivaled reference resource more widely available to the community of scholars and curators in a new medium.”

Gernsheim project participants (as of 2012):

ARTstor anticipates inviting a team of collaborators, including both collaborating museums and such key photo archives as the Biblioteca Hertziana (Rome) to join in a coordinated effort to normalize, enhance and convert to electronic form the cataloging data associated with the Corpus. ARTstor also welcomes the collaboration of the ARTstor also welcomes the collaboration of the Cleveland Museum of Art in this project. The museum's copy of the Gernsheim Corpus is both comprehensive and well-preserved, and using this copy as a scanning source will allow ARTstor to take full advantage of the enormous care with which the photographic prints have been developed by the Gernsheims.

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Collection information

Total size of collection* 189,000
Percentage of completion 15%
Search terms gernsheim corpus
Collection URL http://library.artstor.org/library/collection/gernsheim

* Image totals should be regarded as an approximation until a given collection is 100% complete. Users should also bear in mind that the number of images available to them may vary from country to country, reflecting ARTstor’s approach to addressing an international copyright landscape that itself varies from country to country.

Last updated: July 8, 2011

Image Credits

Federico Barocci | Head and arm of an infant | British Museum. Dept. of Prints and Drawings, 1901-4-17-32 | Image and original data provided by the Gernsheim Photographic Corpus of Drawings established in 1937

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