Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings

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The WikiProject sum of all paintings is a WikiProject to get an item for every painting in the collection of a museum*.


On Wikipedia we have a lot of experience breaking down large amounts of work into smaller chunks that can be solved. Examples of this are the windmill project on the Dutch Wikipedia and the many lists of historic buildings that were created for Wiki Loves Monuments (Q1353202). For paintings we can use the same strategy: We break it down into smaller parts that can be handled and then we can utilize Wikidata to celebrate the sum of all paintings through linked open data!


We have lots of work to do, please join us!

All or everything is too broad and has no limit. This limit is to be able to handle the processing of the data - let's not overwhelm ourselves (yet). The scope can always be expanded - in the future we will have the sum of all sculptures, drawings, you get the picture! Here is the scope of this project:

  • Paintings in the collection of a museum, library, or archive. This also can include notable paintings in a private collection (i.e. Van Gogh paintings owned by an art collector that have been in public exhibitions or featured in books).


  • Paintings in scope meet notability guidelines in Wikipedia, as they are notable for being in a notable GLAM collection, and generally have secondary reliable source documentation written about them.
  • Use the guidelines of item structure when adding data to each painting entry. Think of it like a collections management database of information.
  • If you come across an item (i.e. a painter, medium, collector) that does not exist create it please on Wikidata. (Click the red link :) )


All institutions have metadata of some sort - this data is super important to making the most out of this project. Our dream is that all GLAMs open their collections metadata under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This allows us to easily upload data to Wikidata using a automated processes and saves us time and peoplepower to focus on other parts of the project. It also means that those GLAMs that have released that data, like the Rijksmuseum already have their data on Wikidata. You can learn more about why you should open your data CC0 here. Right now, only a small group of institutions have done that.

But my data is published under a CC-BY-SA license! We can't use it through auto mass import because it is incompatible with the license of Wikidata. It's a restrictive license for data and goes against our mission of providing free, reusable data.

For data in databases in the USA we have a similar copyright situation as reproductions of 2D artworks: It's (probably) in the public domain. See the Wikimedia Foundation’s preliminary perspective on the legal issue of database rights. So from a legal standpoint we're probably save to copy data from a museum in the US, just like we can copy the reproductions of old paintings. Just like with with copying reproductions, we rather do it together with the GLAM than without their knowledge and consent. See also this overview of cases studies of working together with GLAMs.

We haven't released our metadata, but we do have some of our collections online - Great! Then we can slowly work on manually putting your artwork on Wikidata. Please list it below by country and help us by adding your data manually on Wikidata. It's a long process, but, better than not having your work represented.


Getting the data for all paintings and importing this data and curating the items is a lot of work. To make this manageable we subdivide all paintings in smaller sections by collection (P195). This way people can focus on one collection, get it to a certain standard and than move on to another collection. For this to work every painting needs to have collection (P195).

Here are a few ways you can get started in helping out!

Help bring these lists down to zero[edit]

Help us clear out the backlog of paintings that don't have a collection. The goal is to get this down to zero (even though there might be a few without a collection).

Here are some other lists you can help with:

Notes: On Wikidata, "Private collection" is a valid collection and those paintings in private collections should be labelled as such. These will rarely have an inventory number. Wikimedia commons recognizes "oil on canvas" and "oil on panel" in the artwork "medium" field. On Wikidata, the material property should be filled with two items; "oil paint" and also to "canvas" or to "panel". The "depicts" property can refer to specific buildings if a cityscape, or to people, if a portrait, but it can also be something less specific, such as "forest" or "abstract art". Typical genres are "landscape art" or "portrait".

Add collections that need to be worked on by country[edit]

We also work on things based by country, which is then broken down into institutions within that country. Please add your institutional data here. Just copy and paste from another page if your page is a red link and modify the markup as needed.

Vatican Museum
Walters Art Museum


It's possible to keep notes on individual museums, see the full list of museums

Describe paintings on Wikidata[edit]

Paintings should be properly described. On this page you'll find a full list of properties. We'll highlight some important ones here. The two statements every painting here should have:

And to make it a good start painting item add the following statements:

property Data type description required missing values
creator (P170) Item maker of a creative work or other object (where no more specific property exists) yes check
inception (P571) Time date or point in time when the organization/object was founded/created yes check
instance of (P31) Item this item is a specific example and a member of that class yes check
material used (P186) Item material the subject is made of yes check
location (P276) Item location the item, physical object or event is within. In case of an administrative entity use P131. In case of a distinct terrain feature use P706. yes check

Questions, issues? Just ask on the talk page (click "Discussion") or send out a tweet with the hashtag #glamwiki.

Add painters (aka creators)[edit]

All the painters

To link paintings to their creators, we need to have items about these painters. You can help create missing painters. Good sources for finding painters to create are:

You can also use Mix'n'Match to match existing items to these authority control databases.

These sources usually contain enough information to build a new item:


We have different ways you can help out depending on your skill set and what you feel like doing. Simplified in three steps:

  1. Get the data
  2. Upload the data
  3. Curate the data

How chapters can help[edit]

  • Chapter volunteers or personnel can help by reaching out to museums to get them to release their metadata for paintings into the public domain (CC0). You might already have existing contacts with museums and this might be the next project to do with them. Because we focus on metadata and not images of artworks we can work together with museums of contemporary art (mostly off-limits for other projects because of copyright restrictions). Over time we'll have case studies here of other museums who contributed to Wikidata and how that worked out. You'll be able to use that as an extra push to get a museum on board.
  • Host events bringing together volunteers to edit painting content on Wikidata.

How GLAM staff can help[edit]

  • Talk to your staff about opening up your metadata under a CC0 license. Then get in touch with us on the talk page or via Twitter hashtag #glamwiki and tell us that you've opened it. We'll work with you to make sure it's properly declared and accessible and then start the processing of uploading your data to Wikidata! Learn more here.
  • Have events to support adding painting data to Wikidata manually and painting content onto Wikipedia!

Bot operator[edit]

To import datasets to Wikidata we need bot operators. The current import bots are all based on Pywikibot so some knowledge of that or of Python is a pro. It's also quite important you understand the dataset, not everything is in English!

Ready to import[edit]

We found several nice CC0 licensed collections that can be imported now by a bot.


  • Add content to Wikidata! Edit away :)


GLAM-WIKI 2013 attendees cropped.png

Please add your name to this list! Simply add a # at the bottom of the list followed by your signature (just type 4 ~ like this: ~~~~) and voila! :)

  1. Multichill (talk) 11:28, 8 August 2014 (UTC), focus on the Netherlands
  2. Husky (talk) 11:38, 8 August 2014 (UTC) - Cool, i'd like to focus on building tools to visualise progress.
  3. Spinster (talk) 07:00, 9 August 2014 (UTC) Happy to help with manual finetuning that can't be done by bots, and anything else on the 'soft/wet' side of this project. I'm dreaming of complete artists' oeuvres on Wikidata!
  4. Rich Farmbrough (talk) Time to learn2Wikidata
  5. Jheald (talk) 12:33, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  6. Kippelboy (talk) 07:01, 21 August 2014 (UTC) (Focus on Catalan paintings (subdivision of Spain)
  7. Mushroom (talk) 12:27, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
  8. Jane023 (talk) 09:11, 3 October 2014 (UTC) work on Dutch 17th-century paintings and landscapes of Haarlem; Most recently, the sum of all "attributed" paintings by Frans Hals, which is nearly done
  9. Missvain (talk) 18:51, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  10. (talk) 13:27, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  11. Zolo (talk) 14:57, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  12. Beat Estermann (talk) 10:33, 3 December 2014 (UTC) (Focus on Swiss heritage institutions)
  13. Vladimir Alexiev (talk) 15:07, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

How this data is being used[edit]

Having all this data about paintings available opens up all sorts of creative reuse. Some examples

To-do list[edit]

The todo list of things still to add to this page, feel free to expand!

  • tools to visualize this progress - I'm working on this Husky (talk) 11:38, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  • art finder, I'm in a city, where should I go
  • release letter
  • Europeana already CC0
  • Support / references / endorsements (Rijksmuseum?) and more
  • tedious by hand -> bots (some source)
  • CC0 case study