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Immersive Renaissance: an application of digital spatial approaches to reconstruct urban and architectural contexts of National Gallery artworks.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof F Nevola
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The PhD topic focuses on the art and architecture of Renaissance Florence, and is delivered in parallel to an ongoing collaboration between the National Gallery and Prof. Nevola’s ‘Immersive Renaissance’ project. There will be leeway for the student to develop a research topic in discussion with the supervisors that may for instance focus on religious/secular settings for paintings, but might extend from this to focus on the oeuvre of one artist or workshop, or works related to a specific part of the city. The project will have elements of traditional art historical research (archival and primary research) and this will in part be transposed into the 3D digital modelling process, which the PhD student would learn skills for, but would not be exclusively responsible for.

The PhD will adopt the robust workflow developed for the ‘Immersive Renaissance’ project; this has already produced new research findings and proposes new standards for the delivery of digital art history (including addressing issues of uncertainty modelling, the annotation of models, the use of CiDOC-CRM ontologies, etc.). Two possible case examples are suggested here, either of which could form the basis for a significant contribution to the scholarship, and to the existing knowledge on works in the National Gallery collections:

1. Filippino Lippi altar for the Rucellai chapel at San Pancrazio. There is an opportunity here to digitally reinstate the altar to its original setting; extensive archival records survive.

2. The digital reconstruction of rooms from the Palazzo Medici including paintings in the National Gallery collection: Paolo Uccello, ‘Battle of San Romano’ and Filippo Lippi overdoors. Again, extensive archival records survive.
Applicants may also propose other case examples as part of their research proposal.

This project will be conducted as a collaboration with the National Gallery on account of the Gallery’s unrivalled collection of relevant artworks and the potential of extending the contextualized understanding of these in line with the wider project aims and activities of the ‘Immersive Renaissance’ project. It would also be possible to develop connections with the other institutions in the consortium with the National Gallery – the Bowes Museum and York Museums Trust – as both have Italian holdings in their collections.

The main outcome will be to deliver a PhD thesis that creates new knowledge around one or more artworks from the National Gallery collection (and where possible the Bowes Museum/York Museums Trust). A core aspect of this new knowledge will be applied to and derived from the creation of digital models, and as such the PhD candidate will also acquire skills that will be increasingly valuable to continuing to research in both HE and the gallery sector, as well as in the wider heritage industry. We would also hope to create digital content (assets) that could be redeployed by the gallery, creating an opportunity for the PhD candidate to disseminate their research to a variety of audiences through the invaluable context of the CDP.

You will have a previous degree in art history or urban history, some prior knowledge of Italian sources, and a desire to conduct archival research. Some prior training in digital humanities approaches (e.g. GIS) would be an advantage, although training can be provided through Exeter’s Digital Humanities Lab.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Professor Fabrizio Nevola [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The University of Exeter and the National Gallery, London are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2020 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate of £15,285 per year.

This studentship also offers generous research expenses (including support for travel between the University of Exeter and the National Gallery, specialist training, and access to shared working space at both institutions.



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