Digital Research Center at Hofstra MENU

Finding Digital Solutions to Problems in Scholarship and Learning

The Digital Van Mander

The Digital Van Mander will offer the first authoritative English translation of Karel van Mander’s Grondt der Edel Vry Schilderconst (Foundation of the Noble Free Art of Painting). This translation will be in the form of an interactive website.

Van Mander’s “Foundation,” a poem of about sixty pages, is the introduction to a much longer work, Het Schilder-boek (The Painter’s Book), first published in 1604. This important book was Van Mander’s response to the famous Italian model, Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, published in

  1. Van Mander’s singular work, aimed at painters, poets and art connoisseurs, combines instruction, an iconographic manual, a Dutch translation of Vasari’s book, Van Mander’s own lives of great Netherlandish painters, and his translation and explanation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The book is not only a statement of current thinking about the skills and social status of artists, but a manifesto for the creation of a native Dutch artistic and cultural identity, composed in the wake of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish.

There is no definitive English translation of the “Foundation,” despite its fundamental importance to Dutch art theory and values, and its influence in early modern humanist culture in Europe.

The proposed digital English translation will make this work accessible to readers for the first time in four hundred years. In addition to the translation, the website will include a parallel text of the original Dutch, plus a facsimile of the 1604 edition. The translation will be viewable on its own or alongside the Dutch text, along with notes, links to other primary and secondary sources, and images. Users will be able to read (and download) the translation, and follow the original digitized text, the original edition, and hyperlinks to images, notes, and other relevant material. There will also be an opportunity for users to contribute to discourse about the text and translation.

Project Director:

Martha Hollander