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Florentine Renaissance Drawings: A Linked Catalog for the Semantic Web

The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance StudiesSyracuse University FlorencePratt InstituteNew York University

The Drawings of the Florentine Painters by Bernard Berenson has been an essential source for art historians since it first appeared in 1903 and remains so today. Though many catalogs of drawings exist for individual collections and artists, Berenson’s study is the only resource that includes examples from across the Western world by nearly seventy Florentine painters, from Taddeo Gaddi in the fourteenth century through Bronzino in the sixteenth. The Florentine Renaissance Drawings project makes Berenson’s invaluable catalog information available in a machine­readable format. As with most projects that transform textual art documentation into digital editions, the authors faced challenges in maintaining a balance between making data scalable and preserving the nuances of the original text. This study demonstrates how Linked Open Data (LOD) technology allows one to maintain the complexity of source data while allowing for standardization of terms and concepts.