The ARTECHNE research database contains fully searchable digitized sources on artisanal techniques, such as recipes, books of secrets, and artist handbooks, from the period 1500-1900, in Latin, Dutch, German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. An overview of the entire corpus and of specific sources can be found here. The database works best in Firefox.

The database is being developed as part of the ARTECHNE research project. What is ‘technique’ in the visual and decorative arts? And how is ‘technique’ transmitted? Those are the central questions of ARTECHNE. This five-year project (2015-2020) is supported by the European Research Council, and led by Sven Dupré at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. The database is primarily a tool for the ARTECHNE researchers to digitally store, compare, and analyze their textual sources and reconstruction experiments. As these sources are also potentially useful for other researchers, we have made the database public. Feel free to browse and use the database, but please credit us if you want to refer to our sources or use analytic results from the database. 

Right now, search results can be viewed as lists, word clouds, and collocation analyses. Because all sources are geotagged, it is also possible to visualize geographical and historical spreading of the sources that come up in any given search in the geographical map and timeline. A final option is to compare texts for text reuse. At the top of each results page, these visualizations are explained in more detail.

For questions and suggestions, please send us an email

The ERC ARTECHNE project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 648718) and is a cooperation of Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam.