"Digital Research in Art History/Visual Studies – potential and constraints"

24.01.2020 12:00 - 13:00

Martina Pippal, Department of Art History


The advantages of global digitalization are evident also in the context of research in Art History and, more generally, in Visual Studies. Never before pictorial information about, and scholarly texts on, artworks were accessible to such a wide user community, a fact which in itself carries the flavour of democratization. Before, a considerable amount of effort and material investment by a lucky few were necessary to obtain the same status of knowledge.

Along with accelerating provision of relevant information, the technology also facilitates cross-linking specific aspects of art and research on it, for example on the level of iconographical indices.

The rapid enhancement of evolving databases promoted these tools to a key pillar of research, and this implies the risk of distortion of scholarly knowledge towards „digitalizable facts“ at the expense of other crucial messages conveyed by art, e.g. through stylistic aspects, thus creating „blind spots“ and even factual errors in the total view of art history and cultural studies in general.

Martina Pippal

Data Science @ Uni Vienna
HS10, 2nd floor, Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, 1090 Vienna