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One of the strongest bets that new information technologies allow us is the availability of all the digitized bibliographic heritage and free access to the network. It is a fundamental challenge of enormous consequences in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities, as they often have as a basic working reference the information and documentation generated throughout the centuries through books, pamphlets, and periodicals. It is a project that corresponds to the highest institutions responsible for culture and heritage.

The volume of material to be treated and the time that this operation will involve, advise that, apart from the required coordination among institutions and projects in course, it makes sense to create specialized portals that cover a given area of knowledge and shorten the time to put into service specific bibliographic and documentary series.

This is our intention when presenting the third installment of a project in order to establish a digital library of Hispanic Art History, where we want to collect on a single portal all printed materials such as books, magazines or brochures, related to the production, study and dissemination of art and monumental heritage during the modern era until  the date when these materials, pass safely to the public domain.

Basically we want to gather the Hispanic bibliography, including also texts in foreign languages dealing specifically with Hispanic art to date.

We would ignore non-print materials and other handwritten documentary sources given the reservation of ownership of the institutions that guard them. The project aims to start in the modern era, but since much of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries printed materials in relation to the arts, have already been object of critical editions and  modern facsimile editions, we believe that it is better for the investigation to begin the digitization from the 19th century publications, much less known and sometimes difficult to locate.
The types of materials to be digitized can be summarily classified into six categories:

  1. Treatises on art theory and technical treatises on art and architectural practice, primarily written by professionals with a didactic and doctrinal aim. They are quite plentiful throughout the 19th century, but we believe they are reachable.
  2. Art exhibition catalogs made by public institutions: the 1867 and 1877 major retrospectives in Barcelona, the 1888 Universal Exhibition, regular municipal exhibitions in Barcelona since 1891, the National Exhibition of Fine Arts (Madrid) since 1860.
  3. Printed catalogs from private collections, museum catalogs and catalogs of public sales made in Spain or with particular dedication to Hispanic art. This is a section with relatively little material.
  4. Publications of institutions or associations directly related to the arts, such as the Academies of Fine Arts, the Provincial Commissions of Monuments, the Barcelona Archaeological Artistic Association, hiking associations or professional corporations, such as the architects. There is not much material available for these early dates. 
  5. Monographs and studies on artists and monuments. A more open field. Monographs on artists are very rare in this period but there are many studies and monographs on religious buildings, from churches to monasteries and cathedrals. Here the material presented always fuses aspects of local history and pious traditions with the analysis and description of the monument itself. It may also be necessary to refine the selection to begin with the studies more clearly linked to the still nascent history of art.
  6. Art magazines published throughout the 19th century, giving priority to the most historical and scholarly journals over the general magazines with artistic information.

This project aims to make available to general historians and art historians a type of relatively unknown material and widely dispersed in their current locations, which should be useful to do a thorough review of the origins of our historiography. Too much attention has been given to the generation of scholars who start publishing in the early 20th century and the study of previous authors has been neglected. Once advanced the collection of 19th century materials it will be time to retrieve the oldest sources.
Bonaventura Bassegoda Hugas



Coordination and realization : Biblioteca d'Humanitats - crèdits - contacte

Ministerio de Cultura