The Leiden Collection, founded by Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan, is one of the largest and most significant private collections of seventeenth-century Dutch art in the world. It focuses on the art of Rembrandt and his School, and is named after Rembrandt’s native city of Leiden. The collection currently numbers more than 250 paintings and drawings, 177 of which are included in the present scholarly online catalogue. In addition, the website provides access to information about the Collection’s traveling exhibition, as well as news and media about the Collection and its exhibition program.
url: theleidencollection.com | completed: May 2018
Deep Zoom with OpenSeadragon
Working with Ian Gilman (original creator of OpenSeadragon), we collaborated to create a deep zoom viewing experience for all artwork compatible with IIIF standards. When X-ray or Infrared images are available, the “curtain effect” mode allows users to reveal and compare the alternate views of the artwork layered on top of each other, all with the swipe of a finger or mouse. A “side by side” mode focuses on the same area of deep focus from alternate views at the same time.
Custom Artwork Library
In order to illuminate the information and stories of nearly 200 works in The Leiden Collection, we built a custom artwork content type. Not only does each artwork page contain the full catalogue details with inline rich links, but it also contains comparative figures, references, technical summary, exhibition history, Iconclass terms, and endnotes. While the artwork itself is displayed with the deep zoom feature, it is also available for download with directions on how to cite in scholarly research. Custom fields for related information like artist, medium, and topics all allow for intuitive related links throughout the site.
Viewing the Collection
An initial exploration of The Leiden Collection is presented through a scrolling visual catalogue. Users can toggle from a grid view to gallery to see the artwork appear on a digital museum wall, comparing the scale and size of each artwork to each other and their surroundings. In addition to options for simply sorting the presentation order of artwork, site visitors can narrow results using a set of filters for faceted searching. Filter options include the subject matter depicted and whether the art is on view at a current exhibition.
Since each exhibition of The Leiden Collection is different and focuses on a range of art and topics, we built these templates to maximum customization. Each exhibition page gives an introduction and overview of the show, including exhibition photography, catalogue, and a curated gallery of the artwork in the exhibition. Further featured information about specific works or facts about the artists can also be inserted into the gallery view for deeper exploration and hierarchy. These pages allow the website to feature upcoming and current exhibitions, while also serving as a complete archive of past exhibitions.
Rich Inline Links
One of the site’s main goals was to create a way for users to access related scholarly work without having to leave the current article. So we designed a way to view multiple types of interconnected content using rich inline links. When an article references a specific work of art, video, essay or an artist, hovering over rich inline links can display related images, further details, and previews of related links without clicking away to a new page. In addition to related content, explanations of terms included in the site’s glossary can also be displayed with a tooltip on hover. Endnotes and comparative figures may also be displayed via these inline links. To simplify the use of these elements, the site automatically converts inline links into rich inline links wherever applicable.
It is essential to maintain a full scholarly record of the artworks, artist biographies, and essays that comprise the online catalogue. We created an archiving system that would allow users to access any version of one of these pieces of content, maintaining a record of any substantive changes to scholarly research. With this online repository, users can compare historical versions of the same article to see how the understanding of the artwork or artist can evolve over time through new research.
News and Media Page
A News and Media section highlights press coverage about The Leiden Collection and its traveling exhibition. Users can cross filter by exhibitions and category type. Individual posts link to the original source and media while including downloadable PDFs when available.
Swipe to view the original “before” site.
“Working with Cuberis continues to be an excellent experience. We first engaged the Cuberis team to enhance our exhibition website in adherence to a tight deadline. The entire project was smooth, from our initial interactions through the site’s deployment. We then embarked on a site re-design and unification project, bringing together the Collection’s two separate websites under one umbrella. The team’s passion for and dedication to the project is evident in the final product, which is a site that is eye-catching and simultaneously user-friendly. In addition, the back-end of the site has been thoroughly thought through and allows for us to easily make updates. Perhaps of utmost importance is the open dialogue we have had with the Cuberis team, the members of which are communicative and accessible. We are continually impressed with the team’s passion and proficiency.”
Alexa J. McCarthy, Curatorial and Collections Associate
The Leiden Collection