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Ginger Hammer, Matthew J. Westerby, and Michelle Facini studying works from the Rosenwald Collection in the National Gallery’s Print Study Room, July 2021

Fragments and Frameworks

Illuminated Manuscripts and Illustrated Books in Digital Humanities

James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora

  • Friday, October 1, 2021
  • 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Talks
  • Virtual
  • Registration Required

The study of art history has long dealt with fragments and processes of fragmentation. Illuminated manuscripts and illustrated books in particular may have their fragments and folia fugitiva—pieces of material—separated from a whole collection or corpus. Many thousands of drawings and miniatures are dispersed around the world, including those donated to the National Gallery of Art by Lessing J. Rosenwald.

The adoption of open-access online collections has enabled new avenues for study. Open digital frameworks promise to bring new data and new attention to these objects and to ask critical questions about their provenance and conservation.

This conference will discuss fragments and frameworks, actual and conceptual, in art history, and address emerging questions in digital humanities. What kinds of afterlives are incurred by processes of fragmentation and cutting? How does the concept of the frame or framework inform the study of illuminated manuscripts and illustrated books? How does the concept of (digital) remediation inform our approach to these works?

Organized by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (the Center).

Morning Session: 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

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Steven Nelson
The Center, National Gallery of Art

Matthew J. Westerby, moderator
The Center, National Gallery of Art

Catherine Yvard
Victoria and Albert Museum
Framing the Gaze: Some Thoughts on Illuminated Manuscripts and Cuttings

Cristina Dondi
Lincoln College, University of Oxford, and Secretary of CERL
Books as Fragments of Libraries—Illustrations as Fragments of Books: A Digital Illustrated Census of Dante’s Comedia (1481)

John Delaney and Michelle Facini
National Gallery of Art
Collaborative Technical Study and a Machine Learning Future for Illuminated Manuscripts

Bryan Keene
Riverside City College
Encompassing the Globe: Digital Scholarship and Virtual Reconstructions of Illuminated Manuscripts

Afternoon Session: 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

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Peter M. Lukehart, moderator
The Center, National Gallery of Art
Welcome and introduction

Lisa Fagin Davis
Medieval Academy of America
Medieval Fragments and Modern Fragmentology

LauraLee Brott
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Materiality of Medieval Maps in the Age of Digital Discovery

Heather Bamford
George Washington University
Out of Practice, Uncertain Cultures

Matthew J. Westerby
The Center, National Gallery of Art
Frameworks for Fragments: The Digital Lives of Miniatures