Issue 509: Modifying art objects

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 
Closing Date: 

Posted by Martin on 13/9/2020

I received the following interesting message from Maliheh.

Indeed, the CRM gives an answer, but not a complete one:
I recommended to Maliheh the example of P12 Production in the CRM definition about the versioning of Rembrandt's etching plates. We propose there a combination of E12, E65, and E81 Transformation, rather than Modification for this problem.

So, we describe the whole plate as a series of objects undergoing transformations between them. I am convinced that this is correct, but...this is a subtle question about identity, which has not exhaustively be answered in science and the CRM, as appears. Basically, we have phases of an object, which constitute objects in their own right, a sort of temporal parts.

It is similar to versioning of documents, but the material nature necessarily requires the destruction of the precursor. Nevertheless, we need an answer how the identity of the whole relates to these "parts". It is similar to the discussion in FRBRoo / LRMoo about the parts of a Work, which may be simultaneous or sequential or overlapping temporally.

So, even though in principle this is a sort of parthood, it may be confusing to use "consists of" for temporal parts of material objects.

More generally, I do support that the same amount of matter may participate in multiple objects, depending on the identity criteria provided by the respective class. E.g., living person and mummy can be seen as one or two things, i.e. as three things altogether. A person may be defined from conception to bodily decay, or from birth to clinical death. In all these cases, we need a relationship between the larger and the smaller unit. There may be other cases of overlap, not only temporal sequence, but let us discuss the art object first.



Malihe's email


Dear Martin

My research is in the field of painting. The image of one of the paintings has been modified. To show this modification, according to the graph attached to this email, we have a modification event and we have two images(E38). I think there must be a property between the two images. I searched a lot in the CIDOC but I did not find the desired relationship. Please guide me.



Current Proposal: 

Posted by Martin on 21/10/2020

These are also typical transformations:

I see a lot of E81/E12 patterns, e.g., in modern art. Question, if it deserves a subclass.

Other transformations are by environmental/physical impact, I think highly relevant in archaeology.

and another kind by biological processes, splitting and merging of living organisms.


In the 57th CIDOC CRM & 50th FRBR/LRMoo SIG Meeting, the SIG resolved to close the issue on the grounds of not having received empirical evidence / datasets that support drafting additional classes to express the modification of art to yield new classes for more than 3 years. 

Issue closed

Marseille, October 2023