List: Saints missing in Iconclass

I’d like to start a thread collecting the missing concepts for Christian saints that are depicted in a non-narrative context.
Therefore one can use the section “11HH(…)” for female and “11H(…)” for male saints.
If the depicted saint isn’t among the existing concepts, one can put her/his NAME in the notification like this:

While some saints seem to appear rarely, in most cases these saints are depicted many times, so it is most likely that other cataloguers will face the same problem of a missing saint in Iconclass during the work on their collections.

So I guess that a list of these saints in this forum might be helpful to share the need of further concepts to be added in the Iconclass.

I’ll start this list with some saints I’d suggest to be in the 11H / 11HH section. Please feel free to comment and add your persons, too!

The NAME suggestions I chose use the English dictions that I found in Wikidata and the Lexikon Christlicher Ikonographie (LCI).. To underline this I provide the URL of the saint’s Wikidata object. I also give a sample picture of the saint to illustrate my aim.
The suggested descriptions follow the entries in the LCI as well.

// List of Saints missing in Iconclass


Sample: Linked Data API : Corpus Vitrearum Deutschland
Saint Balbina - Wikidata

Suggested notation:

Suggested descriptions:
de – Balbina von Rom, Märtyrerin; mögliche Attribute: Engel, Lilie, Kette, Quirinus (ihr Vater), Zepter
en - Balbina of Rome, martyr; possible attributes: angel, chain, lily, Quirinus (her father), sceptre

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// List of Saints missing in Iconclass



Wikidata: Q240610

Suggested notation: 11HH(EUPHEMIA)

de – Euphemia von Chalzedon, jungfräuliche Märtyrerin; mögliche Attribute: Buch, Lilie, Löwe, Ofen, Palmwedel, Rad, Schriftrolle, Schwert

en - the virgin martyr Euphemia of Chalzedon; possible attributes: book, furnace, lily, lion, palm-branch, scroll, sword, wheel

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Greetings! We’d like to mention our freely accessible subject list for medieval iconography, including many names of saints, historical figures, and other subject matter in medieval art, as a possible cross-reference point to your research. Names of saints will appear in this alphabetical list of the Index of Medieval Art: Subject List

As well the Index’s ‘Subject Classification Network’ can be freely browsed for names of saints by letter by clicking through the headings for Religious Subjects > Christianity > Saints > Saints A–Z.

An example of the open access metadata:

Balbina of Rome
d. 130. Saint (Feast Days: Mar. 31; May 3) martyred with Pope Alexander I. Virgin.

Euphemia of Chalcedon
d. 307. Saint (Feast Days: Apr. 13; July 2; Sept. 16); virgin martyred by fire at Chalcedon under Galerius.

These subject authority files contain references to “Associated Works of Art” (images and some fields restricted to subscriber access). Wikidata and Iconclass codes are being added to these authorities over time in a field called “External References.”

The Index is holding a free deep-dive workshop into Index taxonomy on 8 November, 12pm EDT. More details can be found on our website. Please consider attending! Also, please feel free to send us a research inquiry. We’d be happy to check coverage for some more obscure names in the physical file and discuss how Index resources can help your research.

:grinning: Jessica


Hi everybody,
The number of saints covered by their own notation in Iconclass has never been complete. Nor could it ever be, considering the many local saints that have been venerated throughout history in all the areas of the world where christianity was and is widespread.
The challenge is rather how to make these more or less well-known saints discoverable for retrieval. One should put a controlled preferred name form in the bracket of 11H(…) or 11HH(…). This form would most likely be found using the Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie. That’s what we have done here for the Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur for the past decades.

But for Linked Data applications this is not sufficient. It would additionally be necessary to assign the individual saint a Persistent Identifier (PID) from one of the large, openly licensed authority vocabularies, for example from the Virtual Authority File (VIAF), Integrated Authority File (GND), or Wikidata. Iconclass as a system has no ready-made solution for that, it would only allow to put the PID right into the bracket - but this is user-unfriendly, as not human readable. A solution can be to create a subelement in your local database system to the element that takes up the Iconclass notation. In the subelement, you integrate the authority file’s PID of the individual entity mentioned in the bracket (name of a person (canonized or not), a place, a building, etc.). Iconclass can thus still be applied according to its formal rules (human-readable name in the bracket), but the assigned PID allows the entity represented in the visual ressource (here: the saint) to be addressable for machine evaluation.

If you cannot find a saint in one of the recommended authorities, create a record for her or him in Wikidata, and everybody else can use that aswell.


This is indeed an important topic. For the digital version of the LCI, for example, we have also collated the German lemmata as much as possible with the version of the names of saints in use at the Princeton Index of Medieval Art.
It would be an excellent idea to organize a workshop to address the issue of naming saints. We might start a list of possible participants?


Thanks for your replies!
The Corpus Vitrearum would be glad join a workshop on naming the saints.
While it might be sufficient for our archive’s present needs getting the missing saints into Iconclass using the previous method of naming, we see that it would be a more enduring soluction to name these huge amount of (new and old) notations in 11H/11HH using IDs. This would guarantee a multilingual identifiability and a the possibilty of discinct choices of notations.

Dear all,

the replies I have seen here certainly warrant a meeting to set up a form of collaboration.

As the Lexikon (LCI) and the Index (IMA) are mentioned, as well as the Bildindex, it might be helpful to know that the source file from which the digital LCI website is generated, already contains some potentially useful features

Here is a snippet of the raw LCI data for saint Scholastica:

ID_IMA 55E2784B-0652-4D1B-9352-9472B848448E

In the online LCI this can be used to find the entry for Scholastica


The LCI lemma “SCHOLASTIKA (ESCOLASTICA)” is linked to Iconclass (IC), to a query in the Bildindex (BILDINDEX_REF) and to the Identifier for Scholastica in the Index of Medieval Art (ID_IMA).

In Iconclass this is the concept definition:
11HH(SCHOLASTICA)|the Benedictine abbess Scholastica, sister of Benedict of Nursia; possible attributes: book, crucifix, dove, lily, staff

But Iconclass also contains keyword references that help you find Scholastica:

The Iconclass raw data files always combine the notation with the individual keywords
11HH(SCHOLASTICA)|Scholastica (St.)

I can imagine that not only the handpicked Iconclass keywords are used to retrieve a notation, but that other types of references are also included to link an Iconclass concept to additional external sources.

For example, the VIAF identifier could be entered as a “keyword”:
which would then link

Typically this involves both editorial and technical decisions. And then, once decisions are taken, actual work has to be done … editors are no saints, so these issues will not be solved miraculously



Dear Hans,
this looks quite promising! To have an VIAF or Wikidata ID as a linked keyword to the Iconclass-Notation, could be a solution that would not force to overwrite all the existing NAMES in 11H(NAME) with human-unfriendly alphanumeric IDs.

I guess there is already a registration of all the saints that appear in the LCI but do not have a persistent identifier / notation in Iconclass, isn’t it?
This would be a very good basis to work out the missing descriptions.
But the question of their NAMES seems to be the most urgent one.


Here is an online spreadsheet to start collating Saints.

Please review the list to determine which Iconclass notations to use in your descriptions. Some users have also started adding textual descriptions based on their cataloguing efforts.

A next step will be to do a reconciliation with other sources, like Wikidata, but for now, let’s start with identifying the “missing” items.


…and I have also added a raw dump of humans with the property “saint” from Wikidata to that spreadsheet. If anyone feels compelled to start working on a reconciliation of the two lists, we would be very grateful.

Ideally we would like to start adding the Iconclass notations to the relevant saint on Wikidata, and vice versa.

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… the spreadsheet now contains the Wikidata Identifiers for all 242 saints included in the core Iconclass system … and a few dozen VIAF links
Inevitably we shall discover that in different databases the same saint has been given different names.
E.g.: 11H(ADALBERT), 11H(ADALBERT OF EGMOND) and 11H(ADALBERT VON EGMOND) were used to identify the same saint.
The consequences of different naming practices only become apparent when data from different databases are aggregated. This does make the case for adding Wikidata Identifiers as an additional retrieval option stronger…

Thanks for giving us write permission for the saints spreadsheet!

We are now processing some new saints’ descriptions from the LCI that we need for our dataset.
Is there some space for the German versions as well?

But more important: do you have a preference of a source for the English terms of saints’ attributes?
At first we’ll check the English Iconclass, this may help with a lot of attributes that are linked to several saints.

It would be easy to add columns for German definitions and keywords, but it may not be very practical to add columns to this first sheet. Perhaps we should duplicate the notations, definitions and keywords to a second tab as we shall have to add translations for the other languages as well. Putting all of that in one tab may be a bit cumbersome.
As for the attributes: that is what I also use as a first point of reference. However, if you have to choose between practical and consistent, be practical. Iconclass came into being in the “analogue age”, so consistency often gave way to a more practical “humanities” logic. It may also help to do a word search in Google and have a look at the number and the nature of the hits you are getting.

Bit of a random comment, but, I happened upon the Bollandists today. Wonder if anyone knows their work in this context, and if it would be interesting to set up a discussion.