Gene names and definitions
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The Art Genome Project's Genes and Definitions

An exported list of The Art Genome Project's categories (which we call genes), including names, types, and definitions. List uploaded in CSV format with UTF-8 encoding, and will be updated periodically as needed.

How to use this list

In The Art Genome Project, every gene (category) is applied along with a value from 1-100 that indicates its relevance to the paritcular work, artist, designer or architect.

However, this list may still be used as subject headings, tags, or general categories for organizing collections of artworks, artists, designers, functional objects, and more.

We welcome any and all feedback. Please reach out to us at if you are using this list in your own research, we'd love to hear your perspective, learn from your experience and keep you posted on future updates.

Who can use this list?

While anyone may reference this list of categories and definitions for research or personal use, we've created this public repository particularly with the GLAM community (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) in mind.

We ask that you give credit to Artsy if using this list in a public-facing format, and that you reach out to our team at to let us know about your project and how you'll be using it. You might consider this basic list a "pilot program" for possible future releases, and so your feedback is extremely important to us.

What you need to know about this controlled vocabulary

  1. This is a dynamic controlled vocabulary that strives for constant improvement, and in pursuit of this goal, we re-define, add, rename, merge and eliminate categories often!
  2. Genes describe both information like time period, object type, technique, materials, and the geographic location of the creator, and "subject cataloging" topics like subject matter, concepts, and historic to contemporary styles and movements.
  3. Genes range from very broad to the highly specific, but we use the same vocabulary for art, design, architecture and archaeological objects of all time periods, all geographic regions, and all media.
  4. It includes categories that amalgamate others in order to match the terms that our site visitors use to describe artworks and artists; for example, Contemporary Portrait Painting may be seen as the intersection of "Contemporary," "Portrait," and "Painting," all also categories.
  5. Please note that while we aim to define each and every gene fully, some do not yet have definitions, while others have only basic ones.

Need a data set to play with? Check out Artsy's Public API, where you can experiment with The Art Genome Project data applied to public domain artworks and artists.

Creative Commons License
The Art Genome Project Vocabulary by, Inc. d/b/a Artsy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.