Serendipity trails: Reading and writing

If we search with a simple (Boolean) combination of the English words 'reading OR writing OR book' Arkyves produces well over 60,000 hits, which is a clear invitation to be more precise when exploring its contents. The main reason, perhaps too easily overlooked, is that keyword searches use the complete full text of the Arkvyes database, including thousands of sample of typography, but also the titles of the 165 'Books of Hours'.

If we want to limit ourselves to actual iconography, we had better combine the Iconclass concepts that are a more precise 'translation' of the keyword search.

Because the presence of the book as an object or the activities of reading or writing may be implicit in biblical or mythological stories it may still come in very handy to be able to combine free text searches and the structured data of the classification. Consider, for example, the ease with which you may retrieve over 7,000 images of saints reading or simply holding a book.

Images with subject matter taken from classical history, somehow involving a book are pretty rare, certainly if we exclude the redundant samples from the Glasgow Alciatus collection and the Dutch printers' devices, from our results.

Scholars, reading in their study, evangelist with scrolls or codices, the Virgin Mary, her reading interrupted by the archangel Gabriel are only a few more examples of the iconographical importance of the written word.

Oude vrouw in overpeinzing

schilder: Metsu, Gabriƫl

De brief

Schmidt, Willem Hendrik

Schoolinterieur met een moeder die met haar kind de klas binnenkomt

Horemans, Jan Josef (I)

Lezende oude vrouw

Kruseman, Cornelis

Boerengezelschap in een schuur met lezend paar

Ostade, Isaac van

Marskramer biedt zijn goederen aan

Lubieniecki, Christoffel

Boerengezelschap met een vrouw die een brief voorleest

Molenaer, Bartholomeus

"Paterfamilias" Reading "the Times"
()

Le rire, journal humoristique paraissant le samedi

Christmas Presents [2]
()

Waarzegster

Gheyn, Jacques de (III)

Oude man die zijn vrouw voorleest

vermeld op object prentmaker: Molijn, Petrus Marius

De godsdienstige voorlezing

Schmidt, Willem Hendrik

Een lezende oude vrouw, waarschijnlijk de profetes Hannah

Rembrandt

The priest-like father reads the sacred page
()

L'assiette au beurre

A scholar in his study holds his finger to his lips

De boetvaardige Maria Magdalena in de woestenij

Beschey, Balthasar

An empty object

The Annunciation: Gabriel announces Christ's birth to Mary

The Annunciation: Gabriel announces Christ's birth to Mary

The Evangelist St. Luke reading, with his symbol the ox

Plato in his library: three books representing Plato's treefold division of the whole of philosophy: moral, natural, and logical (2nd of 2)

A large raincloud covers the sun; secondary scenes: a cupid points to a treasure in a dark niche, another one points at a diamond that lights up a dark niche; two small boys wearing feathers hold up an oyster shell that hides a pearl