In summer 2015, I graduated from the research master Art & Visual Culture at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I began my studies in the field of Man & Identity (interior design, trends and style) at the Design Academy Eindhoven, but soon discovered my passion for art history and interest in digital research methods. Previously I created a relational database incorporating principles of the Semantic Web, explored potential use-cases of the LOD Cloud, and designed interactive information visualisations. This enabled me to spot trends in painted subjects and themes, and question current assumptions regarding post-Pompeian Roman wall painting. My PhD project Visualizing Visions focuses on the immense potential of digital methods. Yet, the use of digital tools for art historical research and publication is still considered a distinct and maybe even obscure sub-discipline: “digital art history”. It is my aim to develop and explore the use of digital tools and models for art historians.
Re-viewing the genre of 17th century constcamer paintings
In seventeenth-century Antwerp a new type of painting emerged: the constcamer genre, also known as ‘Pictures of Collections’. Such paintings depict interiors filled with objects of art and science, and were created almost exclusively in Antwerp and Brussels between 1600 and 1700. It has been suggested that about one hundred constcamer paintings survive, but a total of at least two hundred seems more likely after a first survey. All of them were painted by about sixty different artists who often collaborated.
Building and analyzing a corpus of all surviving examples could provide insight into the meaning of these pictures. Because of the interdisciplinary character of constcamer paintings (to modern viewers at least), the genre is not easily accessible. In order to identify the objects, as well as the immaterial concepts of natural philosophy these objects subtly refer to, I am cataloguing the paintings digitally. Within my PhD project Visualizing Visions I use digital tools to annotate the images, and to draw connections between them. I explore the use of methods such as Linked Open Data and various database systems to find and link knowledge. The goal at a meta level is to study how artworks can be converted into data in a way that allows for in-depth art historical research.
Main supervisor: Dr Martin Uhrmacher (University of Luxembourg)