High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

CODART Launches a Canon of Early Modern Art from the Low Countries and You Can Decide What Has to Be Included

CODART Launches a Canon of Early Modern Art from the Low Countries and You Can Decide What Has to Be Included

Almost 700 curators of Dutch and Flemish art, united in the international network CODART, have made a list of the hundred most important works of early modern Dutch and Flemish art. Together these form a so-called canon, a list of superb works of the highest aesthetic value that everyone should know. But you can choose too which artworks deserve a place in the CODART Canon. You can cast your vote now.

CODART seeks to place 100 works of art in the limelight. Dutch and Flemish art from ca. 1350 to 1750 from a range of disciplines: paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and applied arts. So Rembrandt, for example, can be represented with a maximum of two paintings and two drawings.

The artists have to be born in the region that now encompasses the Netherlands and Flanders or worked within this territory for a long period of time.

Initial selection

The initial selection was made by the program committee. This is made up of eight CODART members, all of whom are curators of Dutch and Flemish art. They chose the initial list of 100 works of art, along with a number that just failed to make the “grade.” This selection is emphatically intended solely as a provisional, exploratory gambit. Afterwards, all CODART members were be able to vote until 5 November.

In drawing up its preliminary list, the committee tried to represent the full breadth of art by Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, which consists of so much more than only the most famous names. The criteria applied to each of these works was that they should not be omitted from a survey, that they are of high aesthetic value, and/or they are of crucial importance to art history in some way. In the choice of the works, the committee also tried to include works in less well known institutions. That does not alter the fact that a large proportion of the selection consists of works found in the most famous and largest museums in the world.

Vote now

Now it’s up to the public to vote. Which artworks do you think deserve a place in the CODART Canon? Do you strongly disagree with the curators’ choices? Take the opportunity to submit your own canon. The entries will influence the final selection. Do you consider that an important work has been omitted altogether? Let CODART know and provide arguments in support of your position. There is a chance that your work may be added to the Canon.

How to vote? As soon as you have opened the selection page, you can scroll through the list. You can record your choices for each work by pressing the red button Select. The 100 works that are currently included in the Canon are tagged with a red label bearing the letter “C”. You may find short motivations given by CODART members and members of the program committee by clicking the ‘i’ in the upper left corner of a number of the works.

At the top of the page you find two tabs: one with the list of all the artworks and a second with your own selection. This makes it easy to switch back and forth between the two lists. At the top on the right is a number indicating how many works you have selected. Everyone can select a maximum of 100 objects. Perhaps you only want to select 10, or 50. That is entirely up to you – there is no obligation to carry on right up to 100.

Once you have pressed the button Submit your selection, your choices will be automatically incorporated into the current overview of 100 masterpieces. If you wish, you can alter your selection at any moment via the link in the confirmation e-mail you receive after submitting your list.

Are you searching for something specific? There is a search bar on the selection page. You can use the filter to search by artist(s) or by each of five different types of objects. Alternatively, you can choose to display only the works that are currently included in the list of 100 artworks, or only the ones that are not.

Do you feel that an artwork has been wrongly left out? You can let us know by pressing Add an object. All proposals will be evaluated and some might be added to the list. CODART encourages you to leave your comments. You can do so if you strongly disagree with something, or if you want to provide additional arguments for including a particular work. We are eager to hear your views. The debate on the artworks is an essential part of creating this Canon.

All visitors to the website of Codart can follow the formation of the Canon. On the page Current Canon, the gallery will be constantly updated every time someone has cast their vote.

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