Meet the merry members of ‘De Olijftak’, an Antwerp rhetorical chamber grouping art aficionados, art entrepreneurs, painters and playwrights.

Rowdy Brussels colleagues are joining the party.

It is going to be a brutal night. It is going to be an inspiring night.

They will chirp and chatter. They will discuss their projects. They will share ideas and information.

This is how creativity blossoms. This is how art was made.

And so we believe that art is all about creative communities and social networks

Mapping the Antwerp Brussels Oudenarde tapestry complex via social network analysis 1600-1700

A project funded by KULeuven and the Flemish Science Foundation

MapTap is inspired by a handful of recent studies revealing that tapestry designers and entrepreneurs invested highly in the development of their social networks. These networks were a means to minimize the manifold risks and uncertainties characteristic to their capital-intensive business

The project investigates how designers and producers developed and managed networks, and how these collaborative networks both shaped and responded to artistic developments

MapTap thus develops a new and inclusive network-centered view on Flemish tapestry

Koenraad Brosens
Koenraad BrosensProject lead
Intrigued by the interplay between artistic, entrepreneurial and social strategies devised by early modern European tapestry designers and producers
Fred Truyen
Fred TruyenIT lead
Develops the digital tools and transforms archival data into comprehensive datasets
Klara Alen
Klara AlenPhD Student
Studies the seventeenth-century Antwerp tapestry scene
Astrid Slegten
Astrid SlegtenPhD Student
Studies the seventeenth-century Brussels tapestry scene
Meet the team

Archival data is at the heart of MapTap

To unfold MapTap we mined attributional and relational data from from various archival collections

The data is stored and organized in Cornelia, a custom-made database


Cornelia can be used as a reference tool. Its true potential, however, lies in its capability to feed software that allows to analyze and visualize the ever-changing networks tying everybody and everything together.


Cornelia is daily growing. We encourage and support other art historians and historians sharing our philosophy to feed and use Cornelia.

flemish and european actors
archival sources
multidimensional links
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Cornelia contains archival data shedding light on the life and career of men, women and children involved in creative communities and industries.

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Works of Art

Cornelia contains archival data shedding light on the genesis, consumption and provenance of works of art.

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Cornelia contains archival data shedding light on the geographical clustering and dispersal of art entrepreneurs and works of art.

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Cornelia contains archival data shedding light on artistic, economic and socio-cultural bodies and groups.

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Social Network Analysis

Cornelia’s design allows us to link all or a selection of actors/ works of art/ places/ groups, and to upload these datasets into social network software.

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Transparancy and Usability

Cornelia’s design allows us to visualize and analyze large chunks and small pieces of data. At all times we can zoom in on the labels identifying nodes and edges. This mean we can use the data to explore and to explain.

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Dataviz and mediaviz

Cornelia’s design allows us to visualize actors and works of art simultaneously.

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Time Dimension

Cornelia’s design allows us to respect the dynamic nature of social structure.

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More than tapestry

Cornelia can accommodate archival data on all early modern creative communities and industries in Europe. Cornelia is an elegant tool aiming to bridge the traditional divide between art history and network research.

Thanks to Cornelia, we can start addressing a basic yet very complex question.

What is the interplay between ever-changing social networks and artistic developments?

And so we believe that art is all about creative communities and social networks