Enfilade

Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World

Posted in resources by Editor on April 3, 2018

Results for a search for ‘Hubert Robert’; screen shot from Hannah Williams and Chris Sparks, Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World, www.artistsinparis.org (accessed 2 April 2018). As noted in the FAQs for the site, “there are 10,915 addresses in the database,” with coverage for “a total of 471 artists,” that is, for “every artist admitted to the Academy between 1675 and 1793.” Useful site details are available with the ‘settings’ tab.

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From the ‘About’ page of Artists in Paris:

Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World

Artists in Paris is an open-access digital art history project funded by The Leverhulme Trust and supported by Queen Mary University of London. The Principal Investigator of the project is Dr Hannah Williams. The website was designed and built by Dr Chris Sparks.

Introduction

Paris is a city renowned for its artistic communities. Neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Montparnasse in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are familiar spaces of artistic activity and sociability. But when it comes to earlier generations of artists, we know strikingly little about how they inhabited the city.

Where did the artists of eighteenth-century Paris live? Which artists were neighbours? What sub-communities formed within the city? Which neighbourhoods formed the cultural geography of the eighteenth-century art world? And did that geography change over the course of the century?

This website provides answers to these tantalising questions about the geography and demography of the Paris art world in the eighteenth century. Based on original archival research retrieving the addresses of hundreds of artists’ homes and studios, this website uses digital mapping technologies to locate those spaces on georeferenced historical maps, making them available for visitors to explore.

Significance

Artists in Paris is the first project to map comprehensively where artistic communities developed in the eighteenth-century city and offers rich scope for subsequent investigations into how these communities worked and the impact they had on art practice in the period. Yielding crucial new information and harnessing the exciting possibilities of digital humanities for art-historical research, this website is intended as a valuable resource for anyone studying or researching French art, or for anyone with an interest in the history of Paris.

With its two modes—Year and Artist—the website accommodates searches either by date or by person. For instance, visitors can explore where every artist was living at certain moments in time, or they can select individual artists and explore all the addresses lived at across their careers. Designed to be simultaneously inviting and informative, these interactive data-enriched maps answer many questions about the Paris art world. But they are also intended as an empirical base upon which to pose new kinds of inquiries, inspiring continued explorations into networks of artistic sociability, the role of the city in art production, the geography of the art world, and urban experience more generally.

Credits & Acknowledgements

Artists in Paris has been funded through a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellowship, awarded to Hannah Williams and held at Queen Mary University of London (2015–2018). Additional support for the project has been provided by Queen Mary University of London. Preliminary stages of the research were funded by a grant from the University of Oxford’s John Fell Fund, awarded to Hannah Williams, and undertaken at the University of Oxford (2013–2015).

Thanks are due to the many people who offered advice and suggestions, attended research seminars, workshops, and usability testing sessions, and provided feedback and encouragement throughout the project. Among the many are Laura Auricchio, Robin Carlyle, Craig Clunas, Rebecca Emmett, Noémie Étienne, Keren Hammerschlag, Colin Jones, Meredith Martin, Gay McAuley, Chris Moffatt, David Pullins, Helen Stark, Chloe Ward, Sam Williams, Emma Yates, the community of developers on Stack Overflow, students at Queen Mary University of London and the University of London in Paris, and attendees of presentations at the Institute of Historical Research in London, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, University of Birmingham, University of St Andrews, and the National Gallery of Art in Canberra.

Special thanks are due to Dr Mia Ridge (British Library) for advice and technical support from the project’s inception and throughout its development.

The website logo and colour-design are by Jason Varone.

This website was built using OpenLayers and Bootstrap. It also makes use of other great libraries including Handelbars. The historical maps were georeferenced using Map Warper. The greyscale contemporary map layer is by Stamen Design, licensed under CC BY 3.0. Map data is by OpenStreetMap under ODbL. The digitized historical maps of Paris have been sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

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