Knowledge base concerning the curators role

Table of Contents


Images of an artwork

An image of an artwork must be prepared for upload as followed:

  • File format: .jpg
  • Color profile: sRGB, colors adjusted
  • File size: 1500px (short edge of the image), file size optimized
  • File naming: artists-name-number-keyword.jpg (leonardo-da-vinci-01-gioconda.jpg)
  • Number: Up to four images
  • First image: Entire artwork, frontal, deskewed
  • Other images: Detail view, close up, reverse side

How do I photograph 2-dimensional works?

Place the work

  • Mount the work on a flat surface (wall) with a gray, black or white background.
  • Make sure that the work hangs vertically, plane and parallel to the wall.

Set up the camera

  • Mount the camera on a tripod.
  • Position the tripod at the correct distance from the work, according to the focal length of the lens and to the dimension of the work.
  • Vario lenses: set the focal length to the value that delivers the best quality according to the camera or lens specification.
  • Set the lens axis vertically and horizontally exactly in the center of the work. The film plane should be as parallel as possible to the work.
  • Check in the viewfinder whether the work is centered, free of distortion and with enough surrounding background.
  • To shoot upright format works, turn the camera to portrait orientation. And not the other way around.
  • You may mount a color wedge, centered and at a small distance to the work.

Set up the lighting

  • Place the lights in the middle between the work and the camera and at an angle of 45 degrees to the work.
  • Equip the lights with screens and turn the lights so that the work is illuminated only indirectly, but evenly.
  • Make sure there are no strong shadows or reflections caused by the lighting.

Camera settings

File format

  • RAW or RAW/JPG combined (specialized software is required for the further processing of photos in RAW format.)
  • Maximum image size.
  • JPG format: the best compression quality.


  • ISO value that provides the best photo quality according to the camera specification. (Generally: the lower the ISO value, the better the quality.)
  • Exposure priority: aperture priority.
  • Aperture value that provides the best photo quality according to the camera or lens specification. (Generally: the aperture f/8 provides the best quality.)
  • White balance in case of a defined light temperature: according to the used lighting equipment.
  • White balance in case of undefined light temperature or mixed lighting: create a custom white balance according to camera manual, or automatic mode
  • Shutter release mode: self-timer

How to label an artwork?

  1. The artist’s name
  2. The title of the work (Language and case sensitive)
  3. The year the work was finished
  4. The height of the work (cm)
  5. The length of the work (cm)
  6. The applied technic(s)
  7. The materials and medium(s) the work is created of
  8. Original work, resp. edition/number
  9. The price of the work ($)
  10. A short description of the work
  11. The settings of the work (incl. dimensions (cm))
  12. Keywords matching the work

An example

  1. Paul Zoller
  3. 2016
  4. 92 cm
  5. 144 cm
  6. Acrylic painting
  7. Glass pigments, acrylic, cotton
  8. Original work
  9. $ 4575.00
  10. A look up to the higher regions. Above the horizon, there is vast space, but it is of a different nature than where the feet are, immaterial, transparent, without a beginning and without an end, no low nor high, levitating between fixed coordinates.
  11. Painting mounted on aluminum-plywood support. Ready for hanging. 92 x 144 cm.
  12. landscape, weather, rays, air, atmosphere, distant, reality

List of labeling terms

To ensure a certain consistency, the terms listed here can be used to label the works:

List of technics

  • Painting
    • Acrylic painting
    • Airbrush
    • Watercolor
    • Encaustic
    • Frottage
    • Stained glass
    • Gouache
    • Grisaille
    • Oil painting
    • Pastel painting
    • Tempera
    • Ink painting
  • Print graphic
    • Woodcut
    • Wood engraving
    • Linocut
    • Aquatint
    • Crayon
    • Photogravure
    • Drypoint
    • Copperplate
    • Mezzotint
    • Embossing
    • Etching
    • Stahlstich
    • Vernis mou
    • Lithography
    • Offset lithography
    • Zincography
    • Screen printing
  • Drawing
    • Charcoal drawing
    • Sanguine
    • Pencil drawing
    • Silver point drawing
    • Ink drawing
    • Brush drawing
  • Photography
    • Digital photography
    • Alternative process
    • Color photography
    • Photogram
    • Holography
    • Pinhole camera
    • Black and white photography
  • New media
    • Digital art
    • Media art
    • Multimedia
    • Net art
    • Video

List of materials

  • Painting materials
    • Oil paint
    • Acrylic
    • Pigment
    • Tempera
    • Wax
  • Graphic materials
    • Bister
    • Sepia
    • Pastel
    • Ruddle
    • Ink
    • Wax Crayon
    • Charcoal
    • Pencil
    • Color pencil
    • Feather
    • Silver pen
  • Support materials
    • Canvas
    • Cotton
    • Metal
    • Wood
      • Paper
        • Watercolor paper
        • Handmade paper
        • Carton
        • Transparent paper
        • Parchment
        • Vellum

List of settings

  • Mounted
  • Framed

How to write an artwork description?

Tell what to expect from the work of art, what isn't obvious in the representing images and provide background information.

Provide practical informations

  • What extra materials were used to create the work
  • What type of surfaces is the work created on, and how does its finish look like
  • Whether the artwork is framed or unframed
  • Recommended hanging/installation procedures
  • Whether hanging/installation hardware is included

Provide background informations

  • What do you feel/think percepting the work?
  • Why was the medium, subject matter, style chosen?
  • About the making of the piece
  • What was the artists intuition or inspiration, is the idea, concept?
  • What do other people say about the work? (Testimonials)

Author: Art is not article,

Date: Work in progress

Emacs 27.1 (Org mode 9.4)