Luca Signorelli, Four standing figures (1504-5). Oil on wood. 71 x 88.4 cm. Private collection, England (copyright: the owner).


We hope that the ways to use this website are self-explanatory, but here are a few suggestions.

At the database level each document is displayed with a Short Title, Date and location information (Location, Sub-Location, Volume Reference, Folio/Page Reference), as well as an annotation of the Type of document involved. Information is also given about the Transcription (who made it and when; whether or not it has been checked by anybody else) and previously Publication of the document (whether previously published or referred to, if so when, where and by whom). Sometimes additional Notes have been added, and there are housekeeping details of when a document was added or modified.

The document occupies most of the screen and is layered via four tabs. The top tab is Transcription, the second and third tabs are for photographs where these are available. The difference between the two formats of photographs are that AJAX will run on most web browsers without any further intervention (and offers reasonable functionality for navigating within the image, and for enlarging or reducing the image as required). DjVu runs on most web browsers (and offers increased functionality for navigating within the image, for enlarging or reducing the image as required, as well as for highlighting individual sections), but requires that one downloads a plug-in so that it will work. The fourth tab is for Translation. This is a potentially useful addition, and has been included in a couple of cases (see Luca Signorelli gives pictures and other possessions to his daughter in Cortona, Inscription on altarpiece painted for S. Francesco, Montone), but translation is a highly subjective and controversial skill.

If you know what you are looking for, for example if you want to find examples of particular terminologies, then you can use the Search facility. Type in the term and you will find the examples that are in the database as it currently stands. It is important to search in both Latin and Italian, and to consider variant endings and spellings in order to find every reference. Searching with basic word-stems is sometimes advisable. e.g. want all references to ‘gold’, search with the following: ‘oro’, ‘auro’; also with ‘aur’ (this will find the following: ‘auro’, ‘auri’, ‘aurum’, ‘aurium’, ‘aureis’, ‘aureos’ [all wanted] as well as ‘aurifficis’, ‘aurifici’ and ‘Laurentium’ [not wanted: in a subsequent phase the search engine will be refined to be able to try and exclude names]).

If you prefer to follow some of the research routes that we have built into the database, go to the Keywords, and find a name, term or phrase that interests you (they are listed in alpha order).

e.g. want to find references to Pietro Perugino or to altarpieces, go to that item in the Keywords section.

If you want to read documents in their entirety, or browse within a monographic (single artist) context, go to Archive. You will then find a list of documents by year. Select a year to enter at whatever point you would like (e.g. 1476). Once you are into the database you can navigate through the documents in forward or reverse chronological order.