Cranston Awarded Digital Art History Grant from Kress Foundation

Professor Jodi Cranston, a Research Fellow of the Institute and a Professor in the Department of History of Art & Architecture, was awarded a Digital Art History Grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.  This prestigious grant will support the development of the “Mapping Titian” web portal and platform, which will serve as an archive and as an interpretative research and teaching tool by documenting and mapping one of the most fundamental concerns of the discipline of Art History: the interrelationship between an artwork and its changing historical context.

Focusing on the paintings executed by the Venetian Renaissance artist, Titian (ca. 1488-1576), the portal will include a searchable provenance index of his attributed pictures (totaling over 500 paintings) and will use geographic and non-geographic maps to interpret a historical network of artists, collectors, art dealers, travelers, and patrons through the geographic movement of these objects.  Users — scholars and students alike — will be able to customize their experience by specifying the parameters of their search interests and by having the opportunity to create their own maps, as well as export user-selected bibliographies, related documents, and provenance entries. The “Mapping Titian” portal will effectively be a tool from which new research, discoveries, and experiences can be inspired, guided, and shared.

A secondary and important goal of the project will be the development of a mapping platform that could be leveraged by future users, including art institutions that could visualize the provenance of any artwork or group of artworks.  Most museum websites currently share only minimal, if any, information regarding the provenance of an object. With the platform in place, museums could incorporate mapping functions to teach users about the “life” of a specific artwork. Additionally, museums could contribute to the platform by crowd-sourcing information about individual artworks.  A provenance map would also be a powerful demonstration of the ways in which artworks become casualties and shapers of history, such as Napoleon’s seizure and relocation of objects in the 19th century and the Nazi theft of objects and allied efforts to save and return artworks in World War II.