On the Digital Study and Edition of a Unique Text-Image Constellation – Based on the example of Johann Joachim Winckelmann

Since his childhood, Johann Joachim Winckelmann had kept excerpt booklets in which he meticulously copied passages from books he had read – a common, age-old scholarly practice. In this way he produced a handwritten library which by the end of his life comprised some 7,500 pages. A large part of this literary estate was published in a 21-volume series, which has been kept at the National Library of France (BnF) in Paris since 1801. Winckelmann’s excerpts touch on a diverse range of disciplines and topics. These include, as one might expect, the art, literature and history of antiquity and modern times, as well as natural history, medicine and travelogues. He also excerpted entire dictionaries. In addition to long passages in German, he copied French, Italian and English texts, as well as some in Latin and Greek. Interspersed among his many notes are illustrations which he also ‘excerpted’ during his study of books and illustrated volumes.