How to identify a painting without a title?
September 10, 2006 10:55 PM   Subscribe

Do you know of any database or website where I can try to identify a famous artwork based on its description? This is both general and specific; I have at this second a particular image I want to identify, and I also have a directory full of other unlabelled images that I will no doubt need to look up as well.

I'm working on an e-commerce website that will sell unfinished needlepoint tapestries. The canvases were all purchased from an Asian company that has since gone out of business, so there's no catalog with names or descriptions. Most of them are nondescript flowers and such, but every now and then I come across one that I just *know* is a famous painting. Guessing and Googling has been moderately successful, but I still get the occasional stumper. Case in point:

Who IS she?

I've tried the usual suspects (Marie Antoinette, Empress Sissi, Madame Pompadour) without any luck. Anybody know who she is?

Of course, this isn't a very efficient way to identify any others that come up... and so what I'm really wondering is, are there any sites that "tag" paintings so you can search on subject matter? Seems like it would be a useful thing to have!
posted by web-goddess to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Russian Empress Catherine? Something about the blue sash...

The Warburg Institute London has hundreds of thousands of photos of pre-1800 art classified iconographically, don't know if they're online.
posted by londongeezer at 4:54 AM on September 11, 2006

Are you sure it's even a painting? It looks like a tapestry to me, but that could just be artifacts of digitizing.
posted by mendel at 6:36 AM on September 11, 2006

mendel: it's a tapestry of a painting.
posted by fake at 7:05 AM on September 11, 2006

Right. Well, I feel dumb. Carry on, then!
posted by mendel at 10:49 AM on September 11, 2006

That particular one looks a lot like Nattier to me (style of dress, pose, the flower in the cleavage), though I couldn't find a specific painting that matched.
posted by jheiz at 11:49 AM on September 11, 2006

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