Spanish Artists Dictionary Project

April 12, 2018 - All

Introduction The Spanish Artists Dictionary (SAD) is a reference source created by scholars at the Frick Art Reference Library. Originally a print publication, the dictionary was formatted as a Filemaker database in the early 1990s and made available through the Frick’s online research portal. The database consists of 5,186 records describing Spanish artists; these records include information about artist name, alternate names, dates (birth, death, and/or activity), field of artistic endeavor, bibliographic references, and Frick Photoarchive holdings. The data from SAD’s three Filemaker tables has been made available for this project as CSV files. Visualizations Artists and Exhibition Dates: For our first set of visualizations, we wanted to work with artist dates. Ideally, the artist dates provided in SAD are birth and death dates. However, since such information is not always available, some start and end dates consist of a confirmed date of activity. For example, if the researchers who compiled SAD found an exhibition catalog mentioning the artist, in the absence of other information that exhibition date is used as the start or end date for the artist. Dates that are not birth or death dates are qualified with an abbreviation. For exhibition dates, the qualifier is “exh.” To make these visualizations, we wrote a script that parsed through the original CSV data and looked through the “activity date qualifier” column (labeled OQN). It got rid of a square bracket character using a regular expression as a way to normalize the data.

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