The Scientific Autopsy and Analysis of the Volumes of Historical Prints at the Albertina Museum
With about 900,000 sheets, the holdings of prints at the ALBERTINA Museum represent the major part of its collections, their quality equalled only by few museums. Most of the prints are mounted in historical double folio volumes: these 1,436 albums, their sheets ordered according to specific systematics, reflect the knowledge and aesthetics of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
An adequate and state-of-the-art analysis of what constitutes a unique monument worldwide has remained a desideratum to this day. The present research project which is supported by the Jubiläumsfonds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank envisages the volumes’ most urgent autopsy: they are to be digitally registered and attended to scientifically by the ALBERTINA Museum’s expert curators. The project will considerably advance our insight into the ‘aesthetics of art collecting’, with numerous reattributions to be expected. Making the results available online will lead to an intensive discourse among scholars around the globe.