Matthew Lincoln Digital Dialogue at MITH | October 27, 2015

Experimental Models and Art Historical Computing: Networks in the Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish Printmaking

  1. On October 27, 2015, MITH was very proud to host UMD's own Matthew Lincoln. A PhD candidate in the Art History department, Matt has some incredibly impressive credentials to speak of:
  2. For this talk, Lincoln's goal was to give a thorough overview of the research methodologies he employed for his ongoing dissertation project, which uses computational methods and data visualizations to analyze networks of Dutch and Flemish Print Production between 1500-1700. Lincoln started off by emphasizing how this idea of computable models has long been applied within the historiography of Art History, by looking a brief genealogy of Art History Computing.
  3. He made sure to point out that his definition of computing stems from the definition posited by Willard McCarty:
  4. Does computing rest on abstraction? Lincoln starts off his genealogy by discussing Roger de Piles, who in 1708 ranked famous painters on a scale by composition, drawing, color, and expression in his pamphlet 'Cours de peinture par principes.'
  5. Next he moved on to the Mnemosyne Atlas, a project of art historian Aby Warburg, comprised of 63 panels with images and manuscripts tracing major themes and visual forms throughout history:
  6. Next up: Jules Prown, who was known for defining the field of material culture studies, but who also used computing to aid a 1966 analysis of John Singleton Copley:
  7. Although revolutionary at the time in the 60's, similar work would continue with John Michael Montias' 1987 economical study 'Cost and Value in 17th-Century Dutch Art.'
  8. Very recently, a team at Cultureplex Lab at the University of Western Ontario used facial recognition and image analysis in the service of analyzing portraits from a given period, weighed against faces found in all artworks from the same period. The goals of this work were to examine ideals of beauty at different stages of history.
  9. Lincoln buttoned this genealogy with a summarizing hypothesis that the discipline of Art History has had an openly declared interest in abstracted models of how visual images have functioned throughout history. Lincoln would like to see more of this continue, and in particular his work wants to apply it to the history of printmaking.
  10. Because prints exist in a far greater magnitude than painting or sculpture, and because many prints are reproductions comprising sometimes upwards of 90% of a given museum's archival holdings, it has been difficult for scholars of printmaking to quantify data about prints. Traditionally these have taken the form of standard catalogs such as the Hollstein catalogs of Dutch and Flemish prints:
  11. Lincoln now moved on to the heart of his research: networks. He argued that networks are a perfect frame to analyze printmaking history, due to the inherent collaborative nature of the printmaking process. Luckily, often prints contain 'credits' for various aspects of their creation and distribution directly ON the print itself.
  12. Lincoln Presentation Slides_Page_17
    Lincoln Presentation Slides_Page_17
Read next page