The Art Historical Image in the Digital Age

The Art Historical Image in the Digital Age lead image

The Art Historical Image in the Digital Age, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI), June 26–July 7, 2023

The Art Historical Image in the Digital Age is a two-week summer seminar that will explore ways that digital materials have transformed research practices in the field in both conceptual and practical ways. What constitutes image data? What are the principles, conventions, and structures by which archives, museums, libraries, conservation labs, and scholars classify, organize, and use this data as it moves from single reproductions to digital repositories to our own personal research workspaces and eventually to publications? What are some of the continuities and discontinuities between analogue and digital formats? What are some of the new relationships between image-based and object-based research facilitated by digital materials and computational methods? What kinds of opportunities might this interrogation present to think strategically about the development of a more global, inclusive art history? Participants in this seminar will engage with these questions by considering the art historical image and its complex material and digital ecosystems.

The seminar will be hosted by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI), home to one of the most important art historical photo archives in Europe. The seminar will familiarize participants with key concepts related to photography and imaging in art historical research, image data and its integral role in the digital humanities, and equip them with the basic skills necessary to organize and manage digital images for their research. Organized visits to the photo archives of the KHI, Villa I Tatti, and other institutions (including a group excursion to Rome) will introduce participants first-hand to current methods and practices of image data management used by institutions and repositories. These visits will familiarize participants with analogue institutional holdings, and provide opportunities for discussion with photo archivists and the technical teams working on digitization and image data. The seminar will also include discussion of readings and current digital projects across a variety of periods and fields as a way to connect participants' own work to the expanding constellation of historiographical and methodological issues around digital art history.

The course is ideal for graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars seeking an introduction to digital practices and methods to enrich and advance their scholarship and/or for integration into their teaching and curricula in a discussion-based context. Participants should be working on projects in European art from antiquity to the early nineteenth century and/or global traditions represented in European image and photographic archives. Participants will be selected on the basis of their ability to formulate compelling research questions around the conjunction of art history and digital imaging technologies. 

The seminar will be led by Emily Pugh, Principal Research Specialist for Digital Art History, Getty Research Institute, and David Ogawa, Associate Professor of Art History, Union College.

This seminar has been funded by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. This funding enables us to offer participants lodging in Florence for the duration of the seminar, transportation for site visits, and transportation and lodging for the excursion to Rome. Participants will be responsible for their own airfare/transportation to Florence, meals, and daily expenses; there will be no cost to participate.

Applications are due January 2, 2023.