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Digitised drawings and prints now available in Digital Collections

Leiden University Library (UBL) has made more than 20,000 digitised drawings and prints available via Digital Collections. This means that the core of Leiden University’s collection of European ‘art on paper’, which ranks fourth in the Netherlands in terms of size and importance, is now available in digital form for education, research and the interested public. It mostly consists of highlights of Dutch art, such as the landscapes of Roelant Roghman and Anthonie Waterloo, genre paintings by Adriaen and Isaack van Ostade, and caricatures by Cornelis Dusart. The digitised drawings and prints are freely accessible to everyone. Only the contemporary drawings and prints are not yet available online, because of copyright provisions, but they can, of course, be viewed in the Special Collections reading room.

The collection of drawings in Digital Collections includes some exceptional examples of Dutch drawing, such as Jan Gossart’s Spinario or Boy with Thorn and Rembrandt’s sketch for his Adam and Eve etching. However, the collection primarily offers a broad overview of drawings from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the present day: from Hendrick Goltzius to Leo Gestel and from Jan van Goyen to Piet van der Hem; their work is now digitally accessible, sometimes in the form of a single drawing and sometimes in large sets.

Gillis Smak Gregoor, Young Bull, ca. 1800, drawing in colours.

The same is largely true for the collection of prints, which includes works from the oeuvres of Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt and Richard Roland Holst, for example, and images of the topography of Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam and other cities. There are also many portraits in the collection, for instance of William of Orange, Christiaan Huygens and Erasmus. The collection of prints differs  from the collection of drawings, however, in that it also includes large groups of prints from other European countries, with abundant representation of prints from France (Poussin), Germany (Dürer) and Italy (Raimondi).

Cornelis van Kittensteyn, The five sense: Gustus or Taste, ca. 1625, engraving.

About Digital Collections
Digital Collections provides access to the digitised and digital born materials of Leiden University Libraries (UBL). Digital Collections has extensive functionality, such as full-text search, zoom function on the images and the possibility of downloading low-res images yourself. Searches can be filtered by type of material and can be refined. A link is also provided to the library catalogue and you can search in different collections simultaneously. Separate collection pages have also been created so that collections are easy to access individually. Durable links have been created for the digitised materials, making them suitable for references in websites and academic publications. All the digitised material is published under a CC-BY licence: the material can be used by everyone. UBL is continuously making new material available via Digital Collections.

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