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Kingdom of Sicily Image Database Launches!

November 1, 2016

The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database ( collects historic drawings, paintings, engravings and photographs that depict the medieval monuments and cities South Italy erected between c. 1100 and c. 1450 CE.  The images are gathered from museums, libraries, archives, and publications, and for the most part they depict monuments prior to destruction or significant alteration as a result of wars, earthquakes, extensive restoration, and simple neglect.  The dates of the images range from the late sixteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries.  A number of twentieth-century photographs show damage from the devastating WWII bombardments in South Italy, as well as of the process of restoration.

The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database includes location maps and a “slide show” feature to enable travelers and scholars to locate monuments in large cities such as Naples or Palermo.  The slide show enables comparisons of historic images of specific sites.  Images are reproduced at low resolution, and viewers are directed towards the collections of origin for higher quality images and further information.  All users are requested to agree to the terms of use prior to utilizing the website.

The project was initiated with a Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Technical development (database, website, and storage) are provided by Trinity Technology Services at Duke University.  The Hertziana Library assisted with consultation, library resources, an office, and meeting space.  The Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies and the Wired! Lab at Duke University has hosted the project and actively participated in the design and development of the database and website.

The database is a work in progress and is by no means exhaustive or complete.