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Cultural Objects Name Authority Online
About CONA and IA
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Purpose of CONA

The Cultural Objects Name Authority ® (CONA) compiles titles, attributions, depicted subjects, and other metadata about works of art, architecture, and cultural heritage, both extant and historical, physical and conceptual. Metadata is gathered or linked from museum collections, special collections, archives, libraries, scholarly research, and other sources. CONA is linked to the Getty's structured vocabularies, the Art & Architecture Thesaurus ® (AAT), the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names ® (TGN), and the Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN). Through rich metadata and links, CONA may provide a powerful conduit for research and discovery for digital art history and related disciplines.

Why CONA? The Getty vocabularies provide terminology and other information about the objects, artists, concepts, and places important to various disciplines that specialize in art, architecture and other material culture. CONA is linked to the Getty vocabularies, which in turn are linked to other metadata. "CONA" is a misnomer, in that it contains much more than simply variations on titles and names for a work. CONA contains links to artists and patrons, style, dates, locations, studies and other related works, bibliography, and the subjects depicted in the works. It contains links to images of the works. It provides unique, persistent numeric identifiers for the work and all of its associated information, allowing disambiguation between similar works and authoritative identification of the work in a linked environment. CONA merges information about a work, where the information may come from different and even contradictory sources, including the repository and scholars.

In the new realm of digital art history, CONA brings the three Getty vocabularies together as it focuses on the works themselves, whether built works or movable works, whether extant or historical. Even works that are destroyed, disassembled, or planned but not constructed may be included. For example, if an altarpiece or manuscript has been disassembled and the parts reside at multiple repositories, a CONA record may link all the pertinent information to virtually reconstruct the lost work from the dispersed pieces. Series of works and archival groups may be included. Multiples, such as prints, may be linked and described as separate states for research and discovery.

While the information provided by the repository or owner of the work is considered most authoritative in a CONA record, other scholarly opinions and historical information about the work may be included to reflect and link the full history and scholarly discussion about a given work over time.

Accessing the vocabularies: CONA in the process of being compiled from contributions, not yet available for download. Milestones and news about CONA and the IA will be reported here on the Getty vocabulary site. The AAT, TGN, and ULAN are available in APIs, Linked Open Data, and relational tables and XML. The data is refreshed every two weeks. The Getty vocabulary data is available free of charge and for use under the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) 1.0. For questions, contact the Getty Vocabulary Program at

Comprehensiveness and updates: CONA is a compiled resource that will grow through contributions and linking in the cloud. Institutions interested in contributing to CONA may contact us at

A minimum record in CONA contains a numeric ID, title or name, creator, object/work type, current location, materials, dimensions, subject, and other fields as described below. Information in CONA is compiled by the Getty Vocabulary Program in collaboration with many institutions.

History of CONA

Detailed discussions regarding the Getty Vocabulary Program compiling a resource comprising unique numeric identifiers and brief records for art works, particularly the variations on title, began in 2004. It was determined that various Getty projects collected data for movable works and architecture that could form an initial data set, upon which other contributors could build over time. In the broader user community of visual resources professionals and others, and the information specialists who provided access to their data, determining which information was authoritative about a work was an ongoing problem. Disambiguating information between objects that were similar was also an issue. Thus the CONA project was enthusiastically embraced by the user community. In 2005, mapping of the data model used for all three existing vocabularies (AAT, TGN, ULAN) to potential CONA fields was completed. The effort coincided with the development of CCO (Cataloging Cultural Objects), a more concise offshoot of the CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art). Both CCO and CDWA, which reflect consensus in the user community of best practice in cataloging art and architecture, lay out the required fields and rules for cataloging art objects.

In the rapidly evolving environment of linked open data, it is hoped that CONA will play a pivotal role as a portal to metadata about art works and other cultural heritage objects. The growth and utility of CONA will depend upon contributions from users, enhanced by links to the expanding variety of linked data. As of this writing, CONA is being mapped to CIDOC CRM. Discussions are ongoing with the LOD community and the community of potential users as we determine where CONA will fit in the new and exciting world of digital art history.

The current manager of the Getty vocabularies is Patricia Harpring, Managing Editor. Administratively, the Vocabulary Program resides under the GRI Collection Management and Description Division (David Farneth, Head). Other GRI departments in this division are General Collection Cataloging, Special Collections Cataloging, Digital Services, the Registrar\x92s Office, Institutional Records and Archives, and Conservation and Preservation. The Vocabulary Program works with Art History Documentation (Murtha Baca, Head) to foster foreign language translations of the vocabularies, maintain national and international partnerships, and oversee licensing and marketing.

Scope and Structure of CONA

CONA is a structured metadata resource containing authoritative records for cultural works, including architecture and movable works such as paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, ceramics, furniture, other visual media such as frescoes and architectural sculpture, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums. The focus of CONA is works cataloged in scholarly literature, museum collections, visual resources collections, archives, libraries, conservation projects, and indexing projects with a primary emphasis on art, architecture, or archaeology. Data in CONA may come from the repository or owner of the work, but also from scholarly research or other sources. The resulting compilation or linking of metadata will provide a rich resource for researchers and other users.

The focus of each CONA record is a work of art or architecture. In the database, each work's record (also called a subject in the database, not to be confused with iconographical depicted subjects of art works) is identified by a unique numeric ID. Linked to each work's record are titles/names, current location, dates, other fields, related works, a parent (that is, a position in the hierarchy), sources for the data, and notes. The coverage of CONA is global, from prehistory through the present. Names or titles may be current, historical, and in various languages.

More about scope and structure: There are many fields in CONA, however through titles/names (equivalence relationships), as well as hierarchical and associative relationships, the basic structure of CONA is that of a thesaurus in compliance with ISO and NISO standards. Although it may be displayed as a list, CONA is a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the CONA hierarchy (Subject_ID: 700000000). There may be multiple broader contexts, making CONA polyhierarchical. In addition to the hierarchical relationships (e.g., between a print and the larger volume to which it belongs), CONA has equivalence relationships (between equivalent titles/names) and associative relationships (e.g., between a sketch and the final work). The primary top divisions of CONA are the facets Built Work and Movable Work; other facets include Conceptual Works, Visual Surrogates, and Unidentified Named Works.

Built Works:  For CONA, built works include structures or parts of structures that are the result of conscious construction, are of practical use, are relatively stable and permanent, and are of a size and scale appropriate for, but not limited to, habitable buildings. Models and miniature buildings are not built works (they are movable works). Most built works in CONA are manifestations of the built environment that are typically classified as fine art, meaning it is generally considered to have esthetic value, was designed by an architect (whether or not his or her name is known), and constructed with skilled labor. However, other structures that do not fall under this definition may also be included.

Movable Works: For CONA, movable works include the visual arts and other cultural works that are of the type collected by art museums and special collections, or by an ethnographic, anthropological, or other museum, or owned by a private collector. Examples include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, ceramics, textiles, furniture, and other visual media such as frescoes and architectural sculpture, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums. Are monumental works “movable works”? For stained glass windows, architectural sculptures, frescoes, freestanding monumental sculptures, furniture, and such other large works, the works should be cataloged as movable works, because their characteristics (types of artists, materials, designs, etc.) have more in common with movable works than with architecture; such works should be linked to the built work with which they are associated, if any.

With the exception of performance art, built works and movable works in CONA represent unique physical works or groups of physical works. However, CONA may include works that were never built or that no longer exist, for example designs for a building that was not constructed or a work that has been destroyed.

Conceptual Works: This facet contains records for series as a concept, conceptual records for multiples, records for a conceptual group as for an architectural competition, and other similar records. Physical works, such as prints that belong to a series, may be linked to the conceptual record for the series or other conceptual works.

Visual Surrogates: This facet contains records for images and three-dimensional works intended to be surrogates for the works depicted, for example study photographs.

Unidentified Named Works: This facet contains records for works described in archival inventories or other sources, but their identity is not established.

What Is Excluded from CONA? In general, CONA does not focus on objects in natural history or scientific collections, although these works indeed fit into the framework of CONA and may be included and indeed are sometimes collected in art museums. CONA does not include names of musical or dramatic art, titles of documentary or feature films, and titles of literature. CONA does not include records for corporate bodies, although the building that houses the corporate body would be included, even if it has the same name as the corporate body. For example the buildings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, are included in CONA; however, the corporate body that inhabits those buildings, also called the National Gallery of Art, is outside the scope of CONA (but within scope for ULAN).

Information in the CONA Record (Fields)

  • Language: Most fields in CONA records are written in English. However, the structure of CONA supports multilinguality insofar as titles/names and descriptive notes may be written and flagged in multiple languages. All information is written in the Roman alphabet (pending our conversion to Unicode in the future).

  • Diacritics: The CONA titles/names and other fields contain dozens of different diacritics, expressed as codes (e.g., $00) and alternatively translated into Unicode in the various licensed data files. CONA diacritical codes are mapped to Unicode. The mapping is distributed with the licensed data files. In Web displays, it may be impossible to display all diacritics. If a box or illegible sign displays instead of a character in a name or term, this means that your system cannot display the Unicode character represented. You may view the full name or term with correct diacritics by using Vista, Mac OS 10.5, or often by pasting the word into an MS Word document.

  • Fields: The CONA fields (i.e., discrete pieces of data) are described below. Data dictionaries for the licensed files will be made available when CONA is available for licensing in the future.

    The minimum fields and editorial rules of CONA are in compliance with CDWA and CCO. The minimum fields are the following: Catalog Level, Object/Work Type, Title or Name, Creator, Creation Date, Measurements, Materials and Techniques, Depicted Subject, and Current Location.

    Works are identified with a unique and persistent numeric ID. In addition, given that CONA is an authority, it is important that records contain enough other minimum information to allow users of CONA to clearly identify each work uniquely, in order to prevent users from unintentionally linking to the wrong work. The discussion of fields below includes both required and optional fields.

  • Subject ID
    Unique numeric identification for the CONA record. Note that "subject" in this context is not the same as the depicted subject (e.g., iconography) of the work. The term "subject" has been used to refer to the record as a whole in the AAT, TGN, and ULAN, and thus is used for consistency in CONA.

    Each work in the CONA database is uniquely identified by a numeric ID that serves to link the titles/names and all other pertinent information to the work record. The ID is generally permanent. Occasionally an ID may change due to the record being merged with another record; in such cases, the new IDs are included in the licensed files, and a mapping between defunct and new IDs is provided to licensees.

    Subject ID: 700000007

  • Record Type
    Type designation that characterizes the CONA record (facet, guide term, built work, movable work).

    Facet: Refers to the top of a facet, which is the major division of CONA (e.g., Built Work and Movable Work).

    Guide term: Also known as the node label; refers to records that serve as place savers to create a level in the hierarchy under which CONA records can be collocated. It is rarely used in CONA.

    Built Work: Refers to records in CONA that represent architecture, as defined above.

    Movable Work: Refers to records in CONA that represent items that are or could be held in repositories, as defined above.

  • Label
    Brief text identification of the work, concatenated from various fields in the work record. Whereas the Subject ID identifies the concept in the database, the Label serves as an easily legible heading to identify the work for end-users. It is a brief description and credit line that identifies the work and distinguishes it from similar works.


    Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890); Cypresses; 1889; oil on canvas; 93.4 x 74 cm (36 3/4 x 29 1/8 inches); Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, New York, USA); Rogers Fund, 1949; 49.30.

  • Catalog level
    An indication of the level of cataloging represented by the record, based on the physical form or intellectual content of the material (e.g., item, group, subgroup, volume, collection).

  • Classification
    Placement of a work of art or architecture within a classification scheme that groups other, similar works together on the basis of similar characteristics. (e.g., Pre-Columbian art, ceramics).

  • Object/Work Type
    The kind of object or work described (e.g., refectory table, altarpiece, portfolio, drawing, drinking vessel, basilica, dome).

  • Titles/Names
    Titles, identifying phrases, or names given to a work of art, architecture, or material culture. For complex works, series, or collections, the title may refer to a discrete unit within the larger entity (a print from a series, a photograph in a collection, a panel from a fresco cycle, a building within a temple complex) or it may identify only the larger entity (series, collection, cycle) itself (e.g., Venus and Cupid, Noli me tangere, Portrait of Thomas Jefferson, Ceramic fruit bowl, Untitled, Empire State Building, Album of 65 Studies). Each work may have multiple titles.


    Hagia Sophia
    Church of the Holy Wisdom
    Santa Sofia
    Agia Sofia
    Sancta Sophia

  • Term ID: Numeric ID that identifies the title/name in the database (e.g., in the example above, Hagia Sophia could have the following Term_ID: 1000000008). Term IDs are unique; homographs have different IDs. The Term_ID may be hidden from end-users.

  • Display order of the titles/names
    Titles/names are arranged in a particular order by the editors. The preferred title or name is positioned first in a list of titles/names for the work. Implementers should sort the titles/names by the Display_order number, which is included in the data files, but typically hidden from end-users.

  • Flags for the titles/names
    In displays for the end-user, titles/names are displayed with various flags.

    Preferred Title/Name
    The flag preferred following a title/name indicates that the title/name is the so-called preferred title/name for the record. Non-preferred titles are flagged variant/alternate.

    Each record has one and only one default preferred title/name, flagged in order to provide a default term for displays (see also Language of the Titles/Names below).

    LC Flag
    Also called the AACR Flag. Currently this flag is usually set to N/A in CONA. Where it is used, it flags the title/name that corresponds to Library of Congress Subject Heading, for works that are listed in Library of Congress authorities (e.g., Eiffel Tower).

    NA = Not Applicable
    Y = Yes

    Term Type flag
    Indicates the type of term (title), based on specialized terminology used in thesauri. It is currently set to N/A in CONA.

    Historical flag
    Indicates if the title/name is current or historical.

    C = Current
    H = Historical
    B = Both current and historical
    U = Unknown
    NA = Not Applicable

    Vernacular flag
    Indicates if the title/name is in the vernacular (local) language, or some other language. Currently in CONA, most titles/names are flagged U for Undetermined. See also Language of the Titles/Names below.

    V = Vernacular
    O = Other
    U = Undetermined

    Other flags
    Flag identifying a primary characteristic of the title/name regarding the kind of title/name or its purpose. (This field maps to Title Type in CDWA.)

    brand name
    manuscript designation

    Display Title/Name
    Currently, this flag is generally set to N/A (Not Applicable) in CONA. When used, it distinguishes titles/names intended for indexing in alphabetical lists from those in natural order intended for displays.

    Part of Speech
    Indicates the category into which the title/name would be placed relative to its normal function in a grammatical context (e.g., noun, past participle). This flag is currently set to Undetermined in CONA.

  • Dates for the Titles/Names
    The date on which a particular title or name was assigned to the work, or a range of dates during which a title/name was known to be valid. The date fields comprise a Display Date, which is a note referring to a date of usage of the term, and Start Date and End Date, which are years that delimit the span of time referred to in the Display Date. Start and End Dates index the Display Date for retrieval, but are hidden from end-users.


    Display Date: 1887
    Start: 1887 End: 1887

    Display Date: late 17th century
    Start: 1675 End: 1699

    Display Date: until 1986
    Start: 1950 End: 1986

    Start and End Dates are years in the proleptic Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar produced by extending the Gregorian calendar to dates preceding its official introduction. Dates BCE are expressed as negative numbers. If the date extends to the current time, the End Date is 9999.

  • Language of the Titles/Names
    The languages for the title or name may also be included. A given title/name may have multiple language designations because it may have the same spelling in multiple languages. Languages are derived from a controlled list, which includes the name of the language and a numeric code (e.g., British English / 70053). The code is hidden from end-users.

    Preferred flag for a given language
    A "P" following the language in the examples indicates that this is the preferred title or name in that language.

    Language status
    Indicates if the title/name is a loan word or phrase from another language, meaning the term in one language is used with little or no change in a second language (e.g., Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is a French title that is often used in English).

  • Title/Name Qualifier
    A word or phrase used to distinguish between homographs, which are titles/names that have the same spellings but refer to different works. Qualifiers are currently rarely used in CONA. Distinctions between works with homographic titles is instead made through the use of the Label, described above.

  • Creator
    Set of fields identifying the named or anonymous individuals or corporate bodies responsible for the design, production, manufacture, or alteration of the work. Creators are indexed using Related Person/Corporate Body, which includes a link to ULAN, a Role, and optional Extent and Qualifier.

    Creator Display
    Display field for the named or anonymous creator or creators. If there is no known creator, this is a reference to the presumed culture or nationality of the unknown creator (e.g., Christopher Wren, attributed to Kicking Bear, follower of the Limbourg Brothers, Tintoretto with additions by unknown 16th-century Venetian). Ambiguity and nuance should be expressed in this free-text display field.

    Related Person/Corporate Body
    A link to ULAN, indexing the display Creator field.

    The role or activity performed by a creator or maker in the conception, design, or production of a work (e.g., artist; painter; designer; draftsman; engraver; muralist; potter; modeller; sculptor; goldsmith; publisher; architectural firm).

    The part of a work contributed by a particular creator (e.g., predella; execution; with additions by; figures).

    Attribution Qualifier
    An expression of the certainty with which a work can be attributed to a known artist or group, used when the attribution is uncertain, is in dispute, when there is more than one creator, when there is a former attribution, or when the attribution otherwise requires explanation (e.g., attributed to, formerly attributed to, probably by, possibly by, workshop of, studio of, office of, atelier of, assistant to, associate of, manufactory of, follower of, circle of, school of, style of, after, copyist of, manner of). Definitions of these terms are in the editorial manual.


    Creator Display:Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)
    Role: painter Related Pers./Corp.: Gogh, Vincent van

    Creator Display: Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760-1849); published by Nishimura Eijudo (Japanese, 19th century)
    Role: printmaker Related Pers./Corp.: Hokusai, Katsushika
    Role: publisher Related Pers./Corp.: Nishimura Eijudo

    Creator Display: unknown Northern Paiute
    Role: weaver Related Pers./Corp.: unknown Northern Paiute

    Creator Display: Sèvres porcelain manufactory (French, established 1740); design: attributed to Jean-Claude Duplessis, le père (French, ca. 1695-1774); painting: attributed to Charles-Nicolas Dodin (French, 1734-1803)
    Role: manufactory Related Pers./Corp.: Sèvres porcelain manufactory
    Role: designer Qualifier: attributed to Related Pers./Corp.: Duplessis, Jean-Claude
    Role: painter Qualifier: attributed to Related Pers./Corp.: Dodin, Charles-Nicolas

    Creator Display: unknown Chinese, with French mounts
    Extent: bowl Role: ceramicist Related Pers./Corp.: unkown Chinese
    Extent: mounts Role: silversmith Related Pers./Corp.: unkown French

  • Creation Date fields
    A set of fields recording the date or range of dates associated with the creation, design, production, presentation, performance, construction, or alteration of the work or its components.

    Creation (Display) Date
    A concise description of the date or range of dates associated with the creation, design, production, presentation, performance, construction, or alteration of the work or its components, presented in a syntax suitable for display to the end-user and including any necessary indications of uncertainty, ambiguity, and nuance (e.g., 1667, ca. 1210, 17th century, before 952 BCE, reign of Rameses II).

    Start Date and End Date
    The earliest and latest possible dates when the work of art or architecture was created. For works that were created over a span of time, start date is the year when the work was designed or when execution was begun, and end date is the year when it was finished. For uncertain or approximate dates, these are the earliest possible years when the work could have been begun or designed.

    Date Qualifier
    A clarification of the meaning of the date, including an indication that different creative activities took place on different dates (e.g., design; execution; alteration; addition; performance; restoration; destruction; discovery; bulk; inclusive; coverage; publication). Qualifier, Start Date, and End Date repeat as a set.


    Creation Date: ca. 1898
    Start: 1893 End: 1903

    Creation Date: designed 1685/1686; executed 1691
    Start: 1685 End: 1686 Qualifier: design
    Start: 1691 End: 1691 Qualifier: execution

    Creation Date: Middle Minoan Palace period, ca. 1600 BCE
    Start: -1630 End: -1570

  • Measurements
    Set of fields containing information about the dimensions, size, or scale of the work. It may include the shape, weight, or other characteristics of the work. It may also include the number of the parts of a complex work, series, or collection (e.g., 23.9 x 35.8 x 8.3 cm, 76 x 41 x 39 feet, 56.8 cm (diameter), sheets range from 20.3 to 49 cm height). The set of fields includes a display field and fields intended to index the display values: Value, Unit, Type, Extent, Qualifier, Scale, Shape, and Format.


    Dimensions: 29.85 x 15.88 x 17.15 cm (11 3/4 x 6 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches)
    Value: 29.85 Unit: cm Type: height
    Value: 15.88 Unit: cm Type: width
    Value: 17.15 Unit: cm Type: depth

    Dimensions: comprises 10 panels; overall: 280 x 215 cm (110 1/4 x 84 5/8 inches)
    Extent: components Value: 10 Type: count
    Value: 280 Unit: cm Type: height
    Value: 215 Unit: cm Type: width

    Dimensions: 59.44 x 91.44 cm (23 3/8 x 36 inches); scale: 3/4 inch = 1 foot
    Value: 59.44 Unit: cm Type: height
    Value: 91.44 Unit: cm Type: width
    Scale: numeric Value: .75 Unit: inch Type: base
    Scale: numeric Value: 1 Unit: foot Type: target

  • Materials and Techniques
    Set of fields containing an indication of the substances or materials used in the creation of a work, as well as any implements, production or manufacturing techniques, processes, or methods incorporated in its fabrication. (e.g., oil on canvas, egg-tempera paint with tooled gold-leaf halos on panel, Carrara marble on granite base). The set of fields includes a display field and fields intended to index the display values: Role (medium, support, technique, implement), Material Flag (material, technique/implement), and Extent.


    Materials/Techniques (Display)
    : oil paint on linen canvas
    Flag: material Role: medium Name: oil paint
    Flag: material Role: support Name: linen canvas
    Flag: technique/implement Role: technique Name: painting

    Materials/Techniques (Display): ink and tempera on vellum (illuminations), leather and silver (binding)
    Extent: folios/illuminations Flag: material Role: medium Name: ink
    Extent: folios/illuminations Flag: material Role: medium Name: tempera
    Extent: folios/illuminations Flag: material Role: support Name: vellum
    Extent: folios/illuminations Flag: technique/implement Role: technique Name: calligraphy
    Extent: folios/illuminations Flag: technique/implement Role: technique Name: painting
    Extent: binding Flag: material Role: support Name: leather
    Extent: binding Flag: material Role: support Name: silver

  • Watermarks
    A description of marks inherent in or applied to the material before it was fashioned into the work, including watermarks and stationers' stamps or marks (e.g., foolscap, EAL in orb).

  • Inscriptions
    The transcription or description of the content of the inscription, mark, or text, which may include the material or medium in which the inscription or text was executed; its support if it is on a separate piece affixed to the object; the method by which the inscription or text was produced; and a brief description of the content or appearance of the inscription or text.


    signed in lower left: GBPiazzetta; inscribed and dated verso, in a later hand: S. Maria dei Servi / 1735


    rotunda Gothic script, beginning of the last canto of Dante's Inferno, in Italian with the first line of the new section in Latin

  • Typeface
    The name or a descriptive phrase that identifies the typeface or script used in an inscription (e.g., Carolingian minuscule, Helvetica 9 point bold).

  • Marks
    An identification of an inscribed mark type or name (e.g., Sèvres double Louis, Grindley Tunstall).

  • State
    An indication of the relationship of the work to other stages of the same work (e.g., 3rd state, 4th of 5 states, printer's proof).

  • Edition
    A description of the specific edition to which a work belongs, whether expressed as a fractional number or as a name or expression of the context related to prior or later issuances (e.g., 46/500 ; 2nd edition).

  • Current Location and Other Locations
    Set of fields recording the name and geographic location of the repository that is currently responsible for the work, or, for monumental works and architecture, the geographic location of the work. If the work is lost, destroyed, has an unknown location, or in an anonymous private collection, this is indicated. (e.g., Graphische Sammlung Albertina (Vienna, Austria); Columbus (Indiana, USA)).

    Other locations of the work are also recorded here.

    Geographic locations are controlled by TGN. Repositories and other corporate body locations are controlled by ULAN. In addition to the place name or corporate body name, additional fields are the following: Current flag, Location Type (Creation; Discovery; Architectural Context; Lost; Destroyed; Not Applicable), Repository Numbers, Credit Line, and Address Note.


    Flag: Current Type: N/A
    Corp. Body Location: National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, USA)
    Credit Line: Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc.
    Repository Numbers: 1986.43.10

    Flag: Current Type: N/A
    Geog. Location: Columbus (Indiana, USA)
    Address Note: 536 Fifth Street

    Flag: Current Type: destroyed
    Flag: Other Type: Creation
    Corp. Body Location: Gedächtniskirche (Berlin, Germany)

    Flag: Current Type: N/A
    Corp. Body Location: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)
    Flag: Other Type: Discovery
    Geog. Location: Athens (Greece)

  • Creation Number
    Any numbers or codes assigned to a work of art in the context of its creation (e.g., DAR ; no. 1227Y).

  • Copyright
    A formal statement of the copyright of a work, and/or any restrictions placed on it (e.g., Copyright © 1981 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust).

  • Provenance
    The prose description of the provenance or history of the owners or others in possession of a work of art or architecture, or a group.


    before 1835, Sant'Agostino (San Gimignano, Italy);
    before 1846, Cardinal Fesch [1763-1839] collection (Rome, Italy). then to Campana collection;
    1863-present, Musée du Louvre (Paris, France).

  • Style
    The term or terms identifying a style, historical period, school, or art movement whose characteristics are represented by the work (e.g., Post-Impressionist).

  • Culture
    The name of the culture, people, or nationality from which the work originated (e.g., Celtic, Chinese). This field is used particularly with works by unknown creators (although an appellation referring to the unknown creator is required in the Creator field).

  • Events
    Set of fields for terminology that refers to pertinent events in the history of the work, particularly used for exhibitions in which the work was displayed. An event must always be accompanied by a place and/or a date.

    Event Type
    Identification of the type of event (e.g., exhibition, coronation, dedication).

    Place for the Event
    Location where the event occurred. Place names are taken from TGN (e.g., England (United Kingdom)).

    Dates for the Event
    Dates comprise a Display Date, which is a note referring to a date or other information referring to a date or other information about the work relative to the event and Start Date and End Date to delimit the span of time.

  • Depicted Subject
    Fields recording the subject matter of a work of art (sometimes referred to as its content), which is the narrative, iconographic, or non-objective meaning conveyed by an abstract or a figurative composition. It is what is depicted in and by a work of art. It also covers the function of an object or architecture that otherwise has no narrative content. It maps to "Subject Matter" in CDWA.

    Indexing Type
    Type of indexing represented by this subject term; a classification of the level of subject description indicated by the indexing terms, for use if necessary to distinguish between what a work is "of" and what it is "about," using the terms description, identification, and interpretation.

    Description: Terms flagged description refer to generic elements depicted in or by the work. These are terms reflecting only what you would see in the subject if you did not know the specific people, event, story, or place depicted (e.g., human female, nude, column, train).

    Identification: Terms flagged identification refer to the specific subject, including named historical, mythological, religious, fictional, or literary subjects (e.g., Leiden (Holland), Bodhisattva, Endymion, Three Graces, Madonna and Child).

    Interpretation: Terms flagged interpretation refer to the meaning or themes represented by the subjects and includes a conceptual analysis of what the work is about (e.g., salvation, original sin, sacrifice).

    Subject Extent
    Part of the object on which this particular subject is depicted, using an extensible controlled list (e.g., recto, verso, side A, side B, main panel, predella , general, overall).

    Indication if the subject depicted is preferred or a variant for this work (i.e., preferred, variant/alternate).

    Display Order for depicted subjects
    Sort order for the subjects depicted. Implementors should sort subjects according to these numbers within the two sets, General Subject and Specific Subject.

    General Depicted Subject
    Indexing terms that characterize in general terms what the work depicts or what is depicted in it. This subject analysis is the minimum required. It is recommended to also list specific subjects, if possible. The controlled terms for general subject are the following:

    advertising and commercial
    ceremonial object
    didactic and propaganda
    funerary art
    history and legend
    human figure
    interior architecture
    literary theme
    mixed motif
    nonrepresentational art
    object (utilitarian)
    religion and mythology
    still life

    Specific Depicted Subject
    Indexing terms that characterize what the work depicts or what is depicted in it, including generic terms and proper names. These terms are more specific than the general subjects discussed above. They are drawn from several controlled sources, as described below.

    Person or Corporate Body: Links to ULAN provide indexing for people and corporate bodies depicted in the work, including the proper names of sitters and historical characters.

    Geographic Places: Links to TGN provide indexing for geographic locations depicted in the work, such as the proper names of cities or mountains.

    Generic Terms: Links to AAT provide for indexing subjects depicted that are not described by proper names (e.g., loving cups, tents).

    Works: Links to other works in CONA; to be used when one work depicts another, for example, if a drawing depicts a built work that is also documented in CONA.

    Iconography Authority: Links to the Iconography Authority (IA), which contains names/terms and other information for iconography and other subject terminology not contained in the other linked vocabularies. The IA includes proper names for events, religion/mythology, fictional characters, named animals, themes from literature, fictional places, and built works not recorded in CONA. The IA is further discussed below.

    Outside Iconography
    Note fields and link to a source, for subjects taken from some outside source not included in AAT, TGN, ULAN, or the CONA Iconography Authority. Fields include the Term, Code used in the outside source, and a link to the published Source and Page number of the iconography (e.g., Iconoclass or the Library of Congress Authorities).

  • Hierarchical Positions / Parent ID
    The hierarchy in CONA refers to the method of structuring and displaying the works within their broader contexts. All works are placed under a facet, Built Work or Movable Work. In addition, wholes and parts of works may be structured in a hierarchy. In the example below, a print, View of Naples, is displayed in a hiearchy as part of a volume.


    Top of CONA Hierarchy
    ....Movable Works
    ........Theatrum civitatum nec non admirandorum Neapolis et Siciliae regnorum
    ............View of Naples

  • Multiple parents
    CONA is polyhierarchical. Each Subject_ID may be linked to multiple Parent_IDs. If there are multiple parents, one is marked as preferred. In displays, the preferred parent is listed first or otherwise designated. An example of when this could be used in CONA would be to link a work to its current parent and to a historical parent, of which it was formerly a part.

  • Sort order in the hierarchy
    Siblings in the hierarchies are usually arranged alphabetically. However, they are sometimes arranged by another logical order, for example, in chronological order.

  • Historical flag for the Parent
    Indicates if the link between the child and its parent is current or historical. Most relationships in CONA are flagged Current; however, Historical relationships may exist, as when a print is linked to a volume of which it was formerly a part.

    C = Current
    H = Historical
    B = Both current and historical
    U = Undetermined
    NA = Not Applicable


  • Dates for the parent
    Dates may indicate the span of time during which a whole/part relationship existed, as when parts of a former work are now disassembled. Dates comprise a Display Date, which is a note referring to a date or other information about the link between a child and its parent, and Start Date and End Date, which are years that delimit the span of time referred to in the Display Date.

  • Hierarchy Relationship Type
    Indicates the type of relationship between a hierarchical child and its parent, expressed in the jargon of controlled vocabulary standards. Relationships in CONA are generally whole/part, as between a print and the volume that contains the print. Another example of a whole/part relationship is in TGN, Tuscany is a part of Italy. An example of genus/species relationship is calcite is a type of mineral (AAT). An example of the instance relationship is Rembrandt van Rijn is an example of a Person (ULAN).

    G=Genus/Species (generic) or BTG
    P=Whole/Part (partitive) or BTP
    I=Instance or BTI


  • Related Works
    Associative relationships to other works in CONA; they include various types of ties or connections between works, excluding whole/part (hierarchical) relationships, but including links such as those between sketches and finished works. Each reference comprises a relationship type and a link to the Subject_ID of the related work (note that "subject" in this context refers to the record, not the Depicted Subject). For end-users, the related work should be displayed with its Label.

    Relationship Type
    A term or phrase characterizing the relationship between the work at hand and the linked work. Relationship types are reciprocal (that is, linked to both records), drawn from a controlled list that comprises the controlled phrase and a numeric code, as illustrated below. The codes are hidden from end-users.


    Focus Entity

    Related Code


    related to



    distinguished from



    preparatory for



    based on


    Historical flag for the Related Work
    Indicates if the link between the related works is current or historical. Most relationships in CONA are flagged Current.

    C = Current
    H = Historical
    B = Both current and historical
    U = Undetermined
    NA = Not Applicable

    Dates for the Related Work
    Dates comprise a Display Date, which is a note referring to a date or other information about the link between the related concepts, and Start Date and End Date, which are years that delimit the span of time referred to in the Display Date. Start and End Dates index the Display Date for retrieval, but are hidden from end-users. Dates are reciprocal, meaning that they are linked to both records in the relationship.

    Start and End Dates are years in the proleptic Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar produced by extending the Gregorian calendar to dates preceding its official introduction. Dates BCE are expressed as negative numbers. If the date extends to the current time, the End Date is 9999.


    [for a terrestrial globe]
    Relationship Type: pendant of
    Related Object/Work Label: Celestial Globe; globe; Nicolas Bailleul le jeune (French, active 1740-1750); 1730; J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, California, United States); 86.DH.705.2

    [for an architectural work]
    Relationship Type: depicted in
    Related Object/Work Label: Pantheon; engraving; design by Giovanni Antonio Dosio (Italian, 1533-after 1609), printmaker Giovanni Battista de'Cavalieri (Italian, ca. 1525-1601); published 1569; in Urbis Romae aedificiorum illustrium quae supersunt reliquiae, Florence (Italy)

    [for a carpet]
    Relationship Type: mate of
    Related Object/Work Label: Ardabil Carpet; Maqsud of Kashan (Persian, active mid-16th century); 1540; Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England); 272-1893

  • Descriptive Note
    A narrative text or prose description and discussion of the work or group of works, including a discussion of issues related to it. Important information in this note should be indexed in other appropriate fields.


    [for Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi, ca. 1400, Pinacoteca, Siena, Italy]
    The Adoration of the Magi in Siena was produced by Bartolo's workshop but probably executed primarily by Bartolo di Fredi himself. Although it is unknown where the altarpiece originally stood, the quality of the materials, large size, and the influence that the work had on other artists are all evidence of an expensive commission and prominent location, possibly in the cathedral of Siena. It illustrates the artist's late stylistic concerns and was extremely influential in Siena and elsewhere.

    [for a group of works]
    152 design drawings and models for the East Building project that I. M. Pei & Partners gave to the archives of the National Gallery of Art in 1986.

  • Language for the Note
    The language of the Descriptive Note. Most notes in CONA are written in English, however translations in other languages may be included.

  • Contributors
    The institutions or projects that contributed information to the CONA record. In order to give due credit to the contributing institution, it is required that implementers display a reference to the contributor to end-users.

    References to contributors are drawn from a controlled list comprising a numeric ID, a brief name, and a full name. The end-user must have access to the brief name and the full name. The Brief Name is the initials, abbreviations, or acronyms for the contributing projects or institutions. Contributors may be linked to the record in three ways: with the titles, with the record as a whole (called subject in this context; this is not the depicted subject), and with the note (descriptive note).

  • Sources
    The CONA record generally includes the bibliographic sources for the titles/names and the descriptive note. In order to give due credit to published sources, it is required that implementers display a reference to the published source to end-users.

    References to sources are drawn from a controlled list comprising a numeric ID, a brief citation, and a full citation. The end-user must have access to the brief citation and the full citation. Sources may be linked to the record in three ways: with the terms, with the record as a whole, and with the descriptive note.

    Page Number
    A reference to a volume, page, date of accessing a Web site, or heading reference in a hardcopy or online source.

  • Iconography Authority (IA)
    The Iconography Authority (IA) is used to control terminology in the Depicted Subject area of a CONA record (discussed above). IA contains controlled terminology not within scope for AAT, ULAN, or TGN, such as named events (U.S. Civil War), mythological characters not in ULAN (e.g., Venus (Greek and Roman mythology)), iconographical themes (e.g., Adoration of the Magi), etc. This authority is hierarchical in structure. It includes the following fields: Iconography ID; Iconography Parent; Iconography Type (e.g., event, character/person, fictional place, etc.); Descriptive Note; Display Date, Start and End Dates for the iconographical theme; Terms/Names; Display Order, Preference, and Type for terms/names; Language and Language Preference flag for term/name; Source for term/name, Page, and Preference flag; Sources for the record; Associative Relationships and Relationship Type; links to AAT, TGN, and ULAN, and Relationship Types for these links/relationships.

  • Revision History
    The editorial history of each CONA record is captured in the Revision History, which identifies when records and titles/names have been added, edited, merged, etc. When CONA is released, the Revision History will be included with the licensed files, but hidden from end-users. This information allows implementers to update CONA in their system with each new release.

Sample CONA Record

Record Type: movable work
Catalog Level:
Object/Work Type: painting
European art

Title/Name: Irises
Preference: preferred
Type: repository
Language: English

Title/Name: Les Iris
Preference: variant/alternate
Language: French

Title/Name: Piante di iris
Preference: variant/alternate
Language: Italian

Title/Name: Die Irisse
Preference: variant/alternate
Language: German

Title/Name: Irysy
Preference: variant/alternate
Language: Polish

Title/Name: Irissen
Preference: variant/alternate
Language: Dutch

Creator Display: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890, active in France)
Related Person/Corp.Body Link: Gogh, Vincent van
Role: painter

Creation Date: 1889
Start Date: 1889 End Date: 1889

Flag: current Type: N/A
Location: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, California, United States)
Repository Numbers: 90.PA.20

Flag: Other Type: creation
Location: Saint Rémy de Provence (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, France)

Post Impressionist

Material and Technique:
oil on canvas, applied with brush and palette knife
Flag: material Name: oil paint Role: medium
Flag: material Name: canvas Role: support
Flag: technique/implement: Name: impasto Role: technique
Flag: technique/implement: Name: palette knife Role: implement
Flag: technique/implement: Name: brush Role: implement

Dimensions Display: 71 x 93 cm (28 x 36 5/8 inches)
Value: 71 Unit: cm Type: height
Value: 93 Unit: cm Type: width

Inscription: signed lower right: Vincent


General Subject:

Specific Subject:
AAT link: flowers Indexing type: description
AAT link: Iris germanica (species) Indexing type: identification
AAT link: regeneration Indexing type: interpretation

Descriptive Note:
This work was painted when the artist was recuperating from a severe attack of mental illness; it depicts the garden at the asylum at Saint Rémy. The cropped composition, divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing the borders of the picture, was probably influenced by the decorative patterning of Japanese woodblock prints. There are no known drawings for this painting; Van Gogh himself considered it a study. His brother Theo recognized its quality and submitted it to the Salon des Indépendants in September 1889, writing to Vincent of the exhibition: "[It] strikes the eye from afar. It is a beautiful study full of air and life."

Source: J. Paul Getty Museum. Handbook of the Collections. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008. Page: 129

Event Type: exhibition
Salon des Indépendents of 1889
Display Date: September 1889 Start: 1889 End: 1889


- 1892: Julien Tanguy (Père) [Paris, France], sold to Octave Mirbeau, 1892;
- 1892 - 1905: Octave Mirbeau [Paris, France], sold to Auguste Pellerin, 1905;
1905 - : Auguste Pellerin [Paris, France]; Galerie Bernheim Jeune [Paris, France]
1925 - 1929: Jacques Doucet [Paris, France; Neuilly sur Seine, France], by inheritance to his wife, Mme. Jacques Doucet;
1929 - 1938/1939: Mme. Jacques Doucet [Neuilly-sur-Seine, France], sold to Jacques Seligmann et Fils, 1938/1939;
1938/1939 - 1945/1946: Jacques Seligmann et Fils [Paris, France; New York, New York], sold to M. Knoedler & Co., possibly 1945/1946;
1945/1946 - 1947: M. Knoedler & Co. [London, England; New York, New York; Paris, France], sold to Joan Whitney Payson, 1947;
1947 - 1975: Joan Whitney Payson , by inheritance to her son, John Whitney Payson, 1975;
1975 - 1987: John Whitney Payson (sold, Whitney Payson sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 11, 1987, lot 25, to Alan Bond.);
1987 - 1990: Alan Bond [Perth, Australia], returned to Sotheby's (New York), 1990;
1990: Sotheby's (New York) , sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum by private treaty sale, 1990.



Purpose of IA

The Getty Iconography Authority (IA) includes proper names and other information for named events, themes and narratives from religion/mythology, legendary and fictional characters, themes from literature, works of literature and performing arts, and legendary and fictional places. Examples include events (e.g., American Civil War (United States History)), mythological characters (e.g., Venus (Roman deity)), legendary places (e.g., Xibalba (Mayan underworld)), iconographic narratives and themes (e.g., Adoration of the Magi (New Testament narrative)), and literary themes (e.g., The Inferno (poem, Dante, 1308/1321)).

The IA includes subjects not described by AAT (generic terms), TGN (geographic names), ULAN (names of people and corporate body), or CONA works.

The IA is linked to the Getty vocabularies. The IA is linked to other iconography sources, including Library of Congress authorities and Iconclass.

The IA has a thesaural structure. It includes equivalence, associative, and hierarchical relationships.


History of IA

The Getty Iconography Authority (IA) is based on the Subject Authority of the Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA).

To place the IA in context: CONA may be seen as an implementation of CDWA; the AAT, TGN, and ULAN correspond to the "authorities" described in CDWA. However, there was no Getty vocabulary for the fourth CDWA authority, which is an authority in which to record named iconographical subjects depicted in works; nor was there any other source of linkable iconographical information that is global in scope and meeting the criteria of the CDWA Subject Authority thesaurus. Thus, in the creation of CONA, the Iconography Authority was implemented as a module within CONA, to record iconographical topics needed to index CONA records, and to link to Iconclass and other outside sources of iconography. In time, with contributions from the user community, the IA may become a separate resource, useful and used outside the context of CONA.


Scope and Structure of IA

The IA is a thesaurus, containing equivalence, hierarchical, and associative relationships. In addition, the IA is linked to the AAT, TGN, ULAN, and CONA works.

As of this writing, the hierarchy of the IA contains the following main divisions:

  • Literature
    The Literature facet includes literary works that do not fit more conveniently in Legend, Religion, Mythology facet or as history. As of this writing, the Literature facet is divided into the following divisions.
    • Literary characters
    • Literary fictional places
    • Literary themes or narratives
    • Named written or performed works

  • Named Events
    In the Named Events facet are included events having a proper name, including historical events, named natural disasters, and exhibitions. For generic terms referring to events, use the AAT rather than the IA.
    • Prehistoric events
    • Ancient history
    • North and South American history
    • African histor:
    • Asian history
    • European history
    • Global historical events
    • Named natural events
    • Named exhibitions

  • Legend, Religion, Mythology
    The Legend, Religion, Mythology facet includes themes, narratives, characters, and places associated with the iconography of legend, religion, and mythology. Historical events are included in the Named Events facet.
    • Prehistoric iconography
    • Christian iconography
    • Egyptian iconography
    • Greek and Roman iconography
    • Hindu iconography
    • Buddhist iconography
    • Islamic iconography
    • Norse iconography
    • Pacific Islander iconography
    • Persian iconography
    • Pre-Columbian iconography
    • Taoist iconography
    • Tribal African iconography

  • Miscellaneous Topics
    Topics that do not apply to one area or culture, but can be applied broadly. Subdivisions include the following:
    • Miscellaneous Allegory and Symbolism
    • Miscellaneous Characters
    • Miscellaneous Legendary Places
    • Miscellaneous Themes and Narratives

Information in the IA Record (Fields)

Sample IA Record

Iconography ID: 1000851
Iconography Parent: 1000959 (Buddhist characters)
Iconography Type: Character/Person

Descriptive Note: As a subject in art and literature, the primary protagonist in narratives surrounding the life, deeds, and teachings of Buddhism.

Display Date: from 6th century BCE
    Start Date: -520 End Date: 9999

Label: Buddha (Buddhist characters, Buddhist iconography, Legend, Religion, Mythology)

(sequence, preferred/variant flag, name, language and preference, term type)

1 P Buddha (primary character of Buddhism) (English-P, descriptor)

Agnew, Reed, Ball, Cave Temples of Dunhuang (2016)
Agnew, Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road (2010)
Pal, Indian Sculpture (1986-1988)
Ling, Dictionary of Buddhism (1972)
Buswell and Lopez, Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2013)

2 V Gautama (English, UF)

Encyclopedia Britannica Online (2002-)

3 V Gotama (English, UF)

Encyclopedia Britannica Online (2002-)

4 V Siddhartha (English, UF)

Ling, Dictionary of Buddhism (1972)

5 V Siddhatta (English, UF)

Ling, Dictionary of Buddhism (1972)

6 V Shakyamuni (English, UF)

Ling, Dictionary of Buddhism (1972)

7 V(Chinese-P, Descriptor)

Dunhuang Research Academy, Mogao Grottoes (2000-)

Associative Relationships (IA to IA)

Type: 5310 predecessor of    Name: Maitreya (Buddhist bodhisattva)
Type: 5510 relative of    Name: Ananda (Buddhist character)
Type: 5003 associated with    Name: Kasyapa (Buddhist character)
Type: 5503 is protagonist for    Name: Sakyamuni's Life of Austerities
Type: 5503 is protagonist for    Name: Buddha in Jetavana preaching

AAT Relationships (IA to AAT)

Type: culture/religion is    Name: Buddhism (religions, ...Associated Concepts Facet)

TGN Relationships (IA to TGN)

Type: flourished/active in    Name: India (Asia, World)

ULAN Relationships (IA to ULAN)

Type: identified as    Name: Buddha (Asian ascetic, founder of Buddhism, ca. 560-ca. 480 BCE)

Record Sources/Links:

Source: Iconclass 2100 Browser (2009-)

Source: Library of Congress Authorities online (2002-)
   Page/Link: sj 96004936



Updated 10 May 2017


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