Reference tool for the History of Culture


Arkyves is a database, treasure trove and toolbox for those interested in the History of Culture. It is a single access point for thematic searches across a wide variety of cultural heritage collections, contributed by partners like the Dutch Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands Institute for Art History, the Herzog August Bibliothek, and the university libraries of Milan, Utrecht, Glasgow, and Illinois.
Very rich, but standardized subject information is offered as all collections share the use of ICONCLASS, the most widely accepted multilingual classification system for cultural content.

Ordering and re-ordening motifs, themes, stories and iconographic details in kaleidoscopic fashion Arkyves will make you find many things you did not realize you were looking for.

What medieval people thought crocodiles looked like, or animals in general. Do research on the concept of carrying someone on your back, or envy or love.

Look at the topsy-turvy world

Find some pictures of saint Francis, or of the effects of drinking too much, or of people wearing spectacles, reading and writing, or digging. Gather material for a study of childhood or old age, of the poor or the rich, or simply of cats, dogs, or wild animals or foodstuffs ... or a tableau of cats with fishes?

Need some assistance, e.g. during an Arkyves trial?

If you are testing Arkyves it is useful to look at some sample queries, and get some help with the query functionalities. To this end we have created a 'gentle introduction' and are presently constructing a page with sample queries to which we invite your input.

Interested in typography and printing?

Here is our collection of printers devices, ornaments and decorated initials.


Latest additions to Arkyves

Johannes Saubert, ΔΥΟΔΕΚΑΣ emblematum sacrorum ..., Nürnberg, Simon Halbmaier, 1625-1630, [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Q.832 S25Od]

Otho Vaenius, Emblemata sive Symbola, Bruxelles, Hubert Antonius, 1624, [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 096.1 V51e]

Daniel Cramer, Octoginta emblemata moralia nova, Frankfurt, Lucas Jennis, 1630 [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Emblems 0012]

Henry Peacham, Minerva Britanna, or a Garden of Heroical Devises, London, Walter Dight [1612] [Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute 217685]

Roemer Visscher, Sinnepoppen, Amsterdam, Willem Jansz Blaeu [Amsterdam, University Library OK 62 - 9148]