Iconclass | Portuguese Translation

    Starting date: 2012
    Ending date: 2014

    Iconclass is a classification system for cultural contents used in museums and institutions all over the world. In terms of visual communication, however, its scope extends well beyond the domain of traditional cultural heritage.  

    The translation into Portuguese was carried out between 2012 and 2014 by a working group from Az (formerly RTEACJMSS), in collaboration with the editors Hans Brandhorst and Etienne Posthumus. Today, part of the translation can be accessed on Az Infinitum – Azulejo Indexation and Referencing Systemand a complete version (which is currently being perfected) can be found in the Iconclass’ testing site. The translation incorporates new functionalities, including representative images for each concept. 

    Iconclass is a hierarchical system divided into 10 main categories. Each concept is composed of an alphanumeric notation, which is the same in every language, and the corresponding textual description. 

    0 · Abstract, Non-representational Art
    1 · Religion and Magic
    2 · Nature
    3 · Human Being, Man in General
    4 · Society, Civilization, Culture
    5 · Abstract Ideas and Concepts
    6 · History
    7 · Bible
    8 · Literature
    9 · Classical Mythology and Ancient History

    For more details on how to conduct research, access bibliography or presentations about the system and find out which institutions and websites use Iconclass, among other options, see the section on documentation that is being put together in the Iconclass website by Hans Brandhorst. 

    Iconclass was developed by Henri van de Wall (1910-1972), an Art History Professor at the University of Leiden. His ideas about  a systematic approach to the subjects, themes and motifs of Western art, which later led to the Iconclass, took shape in the early 1940s. The whole system was concluded after Van de Wall’s death, in 1972, and involved a significant number of researchers. It was published between 1973 and 1985 (17 volumes) by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), of which Van de Wall was a member. 

    The publication was followed by the development of various computerized editions of Iconclass by the University of Utrecht from 1990 and 2001.

    In October 2011, the administration of Iconclass was transferred to KNAW, which became actively involved in projects to translate the system. The multilingual Iconclass Libertas Browser was made freely accessible online in November 2004. 

    In September 2006, the administration of Iconclass was transferred to RKD (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie/Netherlands Institute for Art History), in the Hague. In cooperation with RKD, Etienne Posthumus and Hans Brandhorst developed the new Iconclass 2100 Browser, launched on 10 November 2009.

    More recently, since November 2021, the Iconclass was integrated into the Henri van de Waal Foundation

    Rosário Salema de Carvalho (PI) *
    Alexandre Pais (co-PI) **
    Ana Almeida *
    Inês Aguiar **, *
    Isabel Pires *
    Lúcia Marinho *
    Patrícia Nóbrega *

    * Az (then RTEACJMSS)
    ** National Azulejo Museum