Digital Languages for Art History

Audience Engagement, Virtual and Augmented Reality

Authored by: Stefania De Vincentis , Luca Nicolò Vascon

The Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities and Art History

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138585584
eBook ISBN: 9780429505188
Adobe ISBN:


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Johanna Drucker has described the difficulties encountered by art history in adapting and adhering to digital techniques for the study of cultural heritage. 1 The main problem, she argues, is “intersemiotic,” insofar as digital humanities must transpose sources into language, be they hand-written codices, inventories, archival sources, 3D models, or photogrammetric analyses. In addition to the question of how to rethink art history in light of technologies that can help us decipher and reconstruct artistic data on the basis of their material elements, the other issue to be addressed concerns the effective management of the digital information and communication technology (ICT) resources employed in the treatment and interpretation of an artwork. In this case, the study of digital art history (DAH) raises problems of a methodological nature. Drucker proposes a distinction between “digitized” and “digital” art history, where the former corresponds to “repository building” derived from the use of online resources and the latter comprises “analytic techniques enabled by computational technology.” 2 In other words, she distinguishes between existing methods and resources on the one hand and, on the other, developments that influence the evolution and fundamental approaches of art history as a whole. 3

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