BALaT: Belgium's art history in a single click


Click here to access BALaT

BALaT allows you to search 4 different data bases simultaneously:

- KIK-IRPA's online photo library: 728 757 photo negatives covering all aspects of Belgium's art heritage (visual arts, artistic crafts, architecture, archaeology and landscapes). Some of these photographs date from the end of the 19th century. This collection is constantly expanding thanks to new photographic campaigns and to the photographs of the works of art treated at the institute;

- KIK-IRPA's Library: 80000 books and articles related to cultural heritage (art history, conservation-restoration and scientific analyses). Every document (journal articles included) is indexed with a specialized thesaurus;

- The Dictionnaire des peintres belges du XIVesiècle à nos jours depuis les premiers maîtres des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux et de la principauté de Liège jusqu'aux artistes contemporains(La Renaissance du Livre, Brussels, 1995): the lives and work of no less than 6300 painters, from Van Eyck to Wilchar and passing by Rubens and Rops; from well-known to rather obscure representatives of Belgian painting;

- A repertory of persons and institutions: list of 200000 artists, craftsmen, researchers, authors of publications, conservator-restorers, photographers, collectors, historical or fictional figures represented in the works of art, museums, churches, learned societies, etc.

Looking for information on Rubens? By using BALaT, you will find both photographs of works of art by Rubens and portraits of Rubens painted by other artists, books about Rubens, the corresponding entry in the Dictionnaire des peintres belges, museums that own an art work by Rubens and so on.


BALaT's new features:

  • - All the photos of the photo library that are already in the online data base are henceforth downloadable free of charge (resolution: 300 DPI A4). Photos that haven’t yet been put online because they are copyrighted or better quality scans are only available upon order (pricing here). The photos that haven’t yet been put online can also be consulted at KIK-IRPA;
  • - To the search function by fields is added a general search function. Aimed at non-specialists, it is more intuitive and simplified.
  • - The results can be adjusted easily; scrolling lists indicate the possibilities available for every field to narrow the search;
  • - The results are automatically displayed on a geographic map.


A major participatory tool in the making...

Other data bases than those of KIK-IRPA - such as a repertory of artists, inventories of art works - will be linked to this search engine in the near future. In the long term, BALaT can be linked to data bases from  colleague researchers. Hence BALaT can become a major participatory tool for all art historians and  an important information hub on Belgian cultural heritage.


Why BALaT?

Belgian Art Links and Tools: this name has been chosen in memory of Alphonse Balat, one of the major Belgian architects of the 19th century, author notably of the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, one of the jewels of Belgium's artistic heritage.


The information in BALaT is based on sources or opinions that differ in quality and cover diverse fields of interest. Since vast quantities of data are treated, not all the information has been validated by the KIK-IRPA. It will be adapted as much as possible as knowledge evolves. Every suggestion that could help the KIK-IRPA to improve the form and content of BALaT will be considered attentively. Don't hesitate to send your remarks and suggestions to balat @