Serendipity trails: From the grape to the glass

A recent special issue of Visual Resources dedicated to the visual history of alcohol use and abuse, triggered the question what a resource like Arkyves could have contributed to the research presented here.
Although the keyword alcohol will retrieve quite a rich harvest of images, it will fail to find a large part of the imagery related to the production and consumption of alcoholic drinks. The reason is simple: if the word 'alcohol' is absent from the metadata, the record will not be found, even though the concept alcohol is clearly present. Most obviously: the word alcohol will not magically find you any pictures of drunkards, or of wine production.

Alcohol is also relevant to quite a few scenes and stories, the description of which does not explicitly say so. At this point it will be useful to familiarize yourself with the search options Iconclass offers. First have a look at the combination of drinking and glass of wine, but not as mere words, but as concepts (preferably open the link in a second tab or window). Then click on the second concept 41C7111 glass of wine and pay attention to what happens to the Iconclass tree at the left side of the window: you will see it open up at this concept and you'll notice a small, activated tickbox in front of it. Now click on the concept two steps higher: 41C71 alcoholic drinks. When you do this, you will notice a short list of cross references appearing, preceded by the phrase "Also See:":
- 31B52 drunkenness
- 41C52 carousal, drinking-bout, orgy
- 71B352 the drunkenness of Noah
- 71C1252 Lot's daughters make their father drunk
- 73C8643 the prodigal son in the midst of prostitutes feasting and dissipating his patrimony, usually in a brothel or inn
- 92L17911 the drunken Bacchus
By ticking the box in front of a concept you can add it to your list of filters before you start finetuning your question. Let us suppose you add the biblical stories to the equation. At first they are all added as a Boolean 'OR'. Now have a look at how easily you can fiddle with the query conditions: you can switch the original two filters to 'neutral', i.e. keep them in your list, but make them inactive for the time being. Then re-apply the filter and you'll end up with this survey of biblical scenes that involve alcohol abuse but were found without searching directly with the word alcohol.
Other texts will also provide you with examples of more or less sophisticated searches. Try them out for yourself and add, for example, Type or Collection filters, or keywords to experiment with the various options you have.

Many other collections contain interesting images of alcohol (ab)use, from various cultures. For example, a Japanese one, illustrating 'three types of drunkenness' , can be found on the website of the British Museum

Bacchus playing a flute and a drum

The mocking of Noah: Ham derides the nakedness of his drunken father

A man is lying in bed with a hangover; in the background a woman is writing in a book

Il mulo, periodico settimanale anticanagliesco

Gebeurtenissen uit het leven van Lot ()

prentmaker: Collaert, Adriaen

Girls trying to fill a barrel with holes in it. Man "wearing" a barrel with a gushing tap in the side, drinking.

A drunk at a table, vomiting on the floor

A group of men eating and drinking excessively

Lovers kissing while seated at a laid table; Ceres holds up a bowl of fruits and Bacchus drinks a glass of wine

Venus and Cupid warming themselves at a fire; in the background: Bacchus and Ceres

The mocking of Noah: Ham derides the nakedness of his drunken father

Allegrezza: a young woman with a flask and a cup


Le rire, journal humoristique paraissant le samedi

De Speel- en Wijnduivel

vermeld op object prentmaker: Anthonisz., Cornelis

De Oost-indiëvaarder, 1695 ()

toegeschreven aan prentmaker: Dusart, Cornelis

Drinkende man op de schoot van een vrouw

prentmaker: anoniem

Een aanrijding bij de Halpoort te Brussel (Alcoholsmokkel)

schilder: Coene, Constantinus Fidelio

Lot en zijn dochters

naar eigen ontwerp van: Leyden, Lucas van

The mocking of Noah: Ham derides the nakedness of his drunken father

L'assiette au beurre

Satana beffa, settimanale di tutti i colori. A.1, n.1 (13 aprile 1919-)

L'assiette au beurre

Backgammon spelend paar ()

vermeld op object prentmaker: Matham, Jacob

Death helping a glutton to drink excessively

De Herenclub

Zeiler, Kik

Zelfportret als drinker

Grimou, Alexis

Lot en zijn dochters (Genesis 19:30-38)

Floris, Frans (I)

Christus en de Emmaüsgangers (Lucas 24:13-35)

Jordaens, Jacob (I)

Lot en zijn dochters

tekenaar: Borch, Gerard ter (I)

Simplicissimus, illustrierte Wochenschrift

L'assiette au beurre

L'assiette au beurre

Ibant qui poterant, qui non potuere, cadebant (titel op object)

tekenaar: Troost, Sara

Het Gevoel ()

mogelijk prentmaker: Quast, Pieter Jansz.

Boerenfeest of de Twaalf maanden (serietitel)

naar eigen ontwerp van: Beham, Hans Sebald

L'assiette au beurre

Oktober. Keltern

Beham, (Hans) Sebald [Inventor]

Der Reichtum bringt Alkohol und Sexualität in die Klöster.

Hondius, Hendrik [Verleger]

Legend of the drunken monk, attacked by the devil in the shape of a bear and two lions

Allegorie op de Herfst

Mij, Hieronymus van der

Simplicissimus, illustrierte Wochenschrift

De kwakzalver

schilder: Steen, Jan Havicksz.

Simplicissimus, illustrierte Wochenschrift

't Varcken moet in 't Schot

prentmaker: anoniem

Dwaasheid van drankzucht ()

vermeld op object prentmaker: Coornhert, Dirck Volckertsz

Distillatie ()

toegeschreven aan atelier van prentmaker: Galle, Philips

L'assiette au beurre

A waitress demonstrating different bottles of brandy

De verloren zoon bij de hoeren (Lucas 15:13-14)

Metsu, Gabriël