Henri van de Waal Foundation

Supporting the study of image content, visual communication, and digital art history

images can...


Tell a story

Banquet of Mark Antony and Cleopatra: she dissolves a pearl in a cup of wine, which she then drinks



Convey a political message

Justinus of Nassau surrenders the keys of the city of Breda to Ambrogio Spinola, June 5, 1625


Capture a moment in history

Three Cheyenne men - Standing Elk, Running Hog, Little Wolf - greeting a Euro-American man - Col. Oelrichs - and his interpreter


Be a testimony of faith

The apostle Thomas touches the wound in the risen Christ's side


in all religions

Reclining Buddha to enter Nirvana


Depict nature

Butterfly, moth and bumblebee


anywhere in the world

清 朱耷 (八大山人) 蓮塘戲禽圖 卷 - Birds in a Lotus Pond


Teach a moral lesson

Jealousy falls into her own pit


Record social change


... and much more

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C.

The Henri van de Waal Foundation is dedicated to the study of image content, irrespective of its cultural or social origin. It promotes the use of classification tools like Iconclass and CIT to organize observations, and has a keen eye for the practical aspects of iconography and metadata creation. It aims to stimulate the data-driven research of the subject matter of images.

The application of AI technology to accelerate the subject access to images is an exciting research target. But for its results to be truly useful, a balanced dialogue between disciplines is required. To that end the foundation invites Humanities researchers and information specialists to join forces, and offers them an open access publishing platform where datasets and software can meet in novel ways.

"Organization per se is the intellectual effort that manufatures information out of such raw material as observation. The more the organization, the higher the level of information."

"So here we have these information-age machines storing and processing information ever so cleverly, only in the end to have to shovel the bits into or out of a Stone Age human... We are stuck with us. And the trouble is, we do not seem to be very good at information handling, regardless of how hard the machines try to help."
R.W. Lucky, Silicon dreams. Information, Man, and Machine. New York, 1989, pp 20 and 39


Henri van de Waal, photograph by Cor van Wanrooy

“... in many instances the evolution of human knowledge has been determined by the development of our tools - and the best tools are forged by those who have become conscious of their failing..."
Henri van de Waal, Some Principles of a General Iconographical Classification, in: Actes du Cinquième Congrès International d’Esthétique (Amsterdam, 1964), p. 733.



Members of the board:
André van de Waal (Leiden)
Hans Brandhorst (Voorschoten)
Dr Karin de Wild (Leiden university)
Prof. Dr Lutz Heusinger (Marburg)
Dr Hongxing Zhang (London, Victoria & Albert Museum)
Dr Paul Taylor (London, Warburg Institute)
Dr Pamela Patton (Princeton, Index of Medieval Art)

Contact information:
postal address: Wijngaardenlaan 42,
2252XP Voorschoten,
The Netherlands
e-mail: info_at_henrivandewaalfoundation.org

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