Within the IPSA archive more than 3000 images are collected, coming from fifty-six manuscripts held in several libraries around the world. IPSA makes it possible to have a unique consultation experience, since it gathers in a single virtual place thousands of illuminations physically scattered across the planet.
This possibility is essential for a thorough and innovative analysis that can bring new outcomes to the field of manuscripts and illuminations. Usually researchers in this field have to trust their photographic memories since the availability of reproductions is quite infrequent. The IPSA archive makes it possible to compare pages and images belonging to manuscripts that are kept in places very distant from one another.
According to art historians the comparison between images is a necessary research tool. Comparative analysis allows the scholar to identify analogies and differences between images, and from the comparison new knowledge can come to light. For example, the comparison between works by the same artist can be used to notice evolutions and changes of style, whereas the comparison between works from the same time period can help to identify the typical features of a particular cultural trend.
Using IPSA, a professional researcher can explore the collection, thereby finding new relations between images and revealing new paths.