Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings

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WikidataCon Award 2019
Add a painting! See also this video by Shonagon

The WikiProject sum of all paintings is a WikiProject to have a Wikidata item for every notable painting.*


On Wikipedia we have a lot of experience breaking down large amounts of work into smaller chunks that can be completed. 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! The scope of this project is notable paintings. A painting is considered notable if one of these options is true:

  • The painting is in a notable collection of a museum, library, archive (e.g. a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • The painting is made by a notable artist (e.g. Van Gogh painting in a private collection)


  • Paintings in scope meet notability guidelines in Wikipedia, as they are notable for being in a notable GLAM (Q1030034) collection, are painted by notable painters, and/or generally have secondary reliable source documentation written about them.
  • GLAM is an acronym and means galleries, libraries, archives and museums, but in a broader sense includes also public buildings like castles, town halls, administrative buildings or religious buildings like churches, cloisters, temples etc. that can hold paintings or wallpaintings and other pieces of art.
  • 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, please create a new item on Wikidata!

Current overview[edit]

To keep an overview of quite a few paintings we created many lists.

Creator overview[edit]

Lists created for a creator (a painter) are placed in Category:WikiProject sum of all paintings creators. We created several top creators lists. A selection:

See the Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Creator for more information.

Collection overview[edit]

Lists created for a collection (usually a museum) are placed in a category per country. We created several top collections lists. A selection:

See the Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Collection for more information.

Genre overview[edit]

Lists created for a genre are placed in Category:WikiProject sum of all paintings genres.

See the Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Genre for more information.

Main subject overview[edit]

Lists created for a main subject are placed in Category:WikiProject sum of all paintings main subjects.

See the Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Main subject for more information.


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 then 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]

Wikidata already has quite a few paintings. You can help by adding missing information to these paintings.

Here are some other lists you can help with:

Notes: On Wikidata, private collection (Q768717) is a valid collection (P195) and those paintings in private collections should be labelled as such. These will occasionaly have no inventory numbers. You can give it inventory number (P217) with "no value" snak if you are absolutely sure the collection does not use any inventory numbers. Wikimedia commons recognizes "oil on canvas" and "oil on panel" in the artwork "medium" field. On Wikidata, the made from material (P186) should be filled with two items; oil paint (Q296955) and also to canvas (Q12321255) or to "panel". The depicts (P180) 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 (Q191163) or portrait (Q134307).

Items without claims[edit]

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

you can browse some collections here Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Collection

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. See Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Location for the list per country where notes are kept per individual collection.

For more information about collections, see: Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Collection.

Item structure to describe paintings on Wikidata[edit]

Paintings should be properly described. See Wikidata:WikiProject Visual arts/Item structure to find a full list of properties. We'll highlight some important ones for paintings 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
creator (P170) Item maker of this creative work or other object (where no more specific property exists) yes
inception (P571) Point in time time when an entity begins to exist; for date of official opening use P1619 yes
inventory number (P217) String identifier for a physical object or a set of physical objects in a collection yes
made from material (P186) Item material the subject or the object is made of or derived from (do not confuse with P10672 which is used for processes) yes
location (P276) Item location of the object, structure or event. In the case of an administrative entity as containing item use P131. For statistical entities use P8138. In the case of a geographic entity use P706. Use P7153 for locations associated with the object yes

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

Add painters (aka creators)[edit]

you can browse some creators here Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Creator
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:

Add catalogs[edit]

How to work on catalogs is described at Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Catalog.

Improve all metadata for the oeuvre of one painter[edit]

After importing thousands of paintings, we notice that our data here is not always as clean as it can be. Sometimes creation dates of paintings are missing, attributions are not entirely correct, etc.

One way to help cleaning this up, is by focusing on one single painter's work, checking and improving the correctness and completeness of all their paintings that we already have here on Wikidata.

Here's a list of the 100 painters with the most Wikipedia sitelinks and at least 10 paintings on Wikidata. Pick one and indicate you're working on their oeuvre!


We want to link every painter with its creator (painter) and improve the quality of the creator items. We create galleries per creator to keep track of them and have an overview of missing creators. The top creators page gives an overview of most important creators based on several different criteria.

To find what items need improvements we have several reports:


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 automated processes and saves us time and people power to focus on other parts of the project. It also means that those GLAMs who have released that data, like the Rijksmuseum (Q190804), 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 safe to copy data from a museum in the US, just like we can copy the reproductions of old paintings. Just like with copying reproductions, we'd 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.


The (more than 70) participants of this project are listed at Wikidata:WikiProject sum of all paintings/Participants

[+] Add yourself to the list

The participants listed below can be notified using the following template in discussions:

{{Ping project|sum of all paintings}}

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!