INVENTORY-CATALOGUE OF THE DRAWINGS - Robert Randolf Coleman, Ambrosiana Archive, University of Notre Dame   |   versione italiana
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Guide for Searching the Inventory-Catalogue of Ambrosiana Drawings

The headings below are linked to instructions and tips on how to use the database search form to retrieve relevant records from the inventory-catalogue of Ambrosiana drawings:

General Remarks on the Drawings

The inventory-catalogue is a work-in-progress designed to make the drawings of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana accessible to scholars everywhere. Traditional monographic forms of publishing such objects from collections large and small can only offer a limited amount of visual material. This new electronic means of providing a large number of images on-line from an important art collection will complement the standard book-form catalogue.

This inventory-catalogue has drawn upon the expertise of many scholars, critics, and connoisseurs. A number of these scholars have published hundreds of the Ambrosiana's drawings (see "Bibliography of Ambrosiana Drawings Exhibitions"), and their pioneering efforts have made valuable contributions to the current project. The catalogue has also benefited from information found in unpublished, and consequently little-known Ambrosiana inventories by Gilda Rosa (1967) and Antonia Falchetti (1968), and also the lists prepared by Pietro Nurchi (1976).

Nevertheless, thousands of the Ambrosiana's works on paper are still unknown to most of the scholarly community. This new inventory-catalogue offers an extraordinary opportunity to consider the views of those few art historians and critics who have had special access to the collection, some of whom commented in the margins of folios or on the mounts of drawings. In addition, the inventory-catalogue, as an interactive reference tool, will become enhanced by the critical commentary of scholars from a wide range of humanistic disciplines.

The drawings inventoried here are only those contained in the F Inferior grouping. Countless other drawings housed in the Ambrosiana are not included, such as, Raphael's School of Athens cartoon, Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus, Martino Bassi's architectural drawings (S 150 sup.), Poussin's illustrations for Cassiano Dal Pozzo's abridged copy of Leonardo's Trattato della pittura (H 288 inf.), and the architectural drawings of Galeazzo Alessi contained in S 148-150 sup. and F 156 sup.

With regard artist attributions, it should be noted that comparatively few can be attributed to a given artist with absolute certainty. For the rest, attributions are made according to the best available evidence as noted in the attribution field. If sufficient information regarding a drawing's author is discovered, an attribution may be revised. Serious scholarly suggestions are most welcome, and may be sent to Professor Coleman at

Fields Included in the Inventory-Catalogue Entries

Artist: The artist field contains the full name of the artist to whom the drawing has been attributed. In some cases, the attribution has been made with full certainty, in other cases, less. The reasons for the attribution and the degree of certainty are discussed in the "Attribution" field.

Search tips: In many cases, it is desirable to enter only the artist's family or last name into the search so that drawings attributed to the artist's school or family members might also be retrieved. A subsequent search can then be made narrow the search results to the records which contain only the full form of the artist's name as it appears in the database or, alternatively, retrieving only those associated with this school. [return to search form]

Title: The traditional or descriptive title assigned to a drawing. [return to search form]

Date: Date of execution if the drawing is inscribed with a date (otherwise not displayed). [return to search form]

Size: Dimensions (height preceding width) measured in centimeters. [return to search form]

Medium: Materials and any inscriptions on recto or verso or on the mount; collector's mark (including Lugt reference); and watermarks. Greek text should be searched with the transliteration scheme ISO 843:1997. [return to search form]

Description: Detailed iconographic description, including words possibly not found in the title or among key words (see explanation below). [return to search form]

Provenance: Provenance. [return to search form]

Attribution: Reason for attribution, based on tradition, the sheet's association with a specific finished work of art, and/or style. [return to search form]

Subject Keys: Subject or key words, including dating by quarter century, e.g., 1500-1 (first quarter of sixteenth century); and school, e.g., Lombard, Central Italian, Roman, Emilian, etc. (Non-Italian schools are listed as English, French, Spanish, etc.). [return to search form]

Subject or keywords are also terms not generally found in the title of the drawing, e.g., Allegory, Musical Instruments - Stringed, Mythology, Saints, Genre, Religious Orders - Franciscans, Landscapes, etc.

Click for complete list of subject keys.

Bibliography: An abbreviated bibliography concerning those drawings which have been published. Complete citations may be found under Bibliography. [return to search form]

BA Shelfmark: Ambrosiana inventory number, e.g., F 263 inf. n 32. [return to search form]

ND Cat No.: Catalogue number assigned to each drawing by Professor Coleman at the University of Notre Dame. Numbers are generally assigned according to the sequence in which the database records were first created. [return to search form]

Formulating Search Terms

[instructions will be added soon]

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Entering Accented Characters

The search engine offers three options for searching for terms that include accented characters:

  1. simply type the required accented character from the keyboard;
  2. use a capital letter to match all accented and non-accented forms of a letter;
  3. enter the two character representations listed below.
capital letter = any form of the letter
(e. g., E matches é ê è ë and e (no accent) and É Ê È Ë and E (no accent).
grave = (\) back slash
(e.g., a\ matches à).
acute = (/) forward slash
(e.g., e/ matches é).
circumflex = (^) caret
(e.g., e^ matches ê).
cedilla = (,) comma
(e.g., c, matches ç).
ümlaut/dieresis = (") double quote
(e.g., u" matches ü).
tilde = (~) tilde
(e.g., n~ matches ñ).

Tip: If you do not want to have to think about accents, turn on "Caps Lock" and type in all uppercase.

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Using Boolean Logical Operators

You may use the standard Boolean logical operators OR, AND, and/or NOT (exactly as here, in capital letters with a space on either side) when entering two or more search terms in a given field. Note that unless you use these Boolean operators to specify that you want the search terms to be combined logically, the search engine will assume that you want to search for a single phrase, which it will try to match exactly. The search engine does not currently support the use of parentheses to indicate operator precedence; rather operations are executed in the following order: OR, NOT, AND.

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Using Wildcards, Truncation, and other Pattern-Matching Features

[instructions will be added soon]

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Viewing Search Results

[instructions will be added soon]

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E-mailing Search Results

[instructions will be added soon]

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© 2006 Robert Randolf Coleman. Web publication by ItalNet
in collaboration with the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.