Painting by Numbers: Data-Driven Histories of Nineteenth-Century Art, 1st Edition

  • Diana Seave Greenwald
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0691214948
  • ISBN-13: 9780691214948
  • DDC: 709.03
  • 256 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2021 | Published/Released March 2021
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2021

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This book offers a pathbreaking history of art that uses digital research and economic tools to reveal enduring inequities in the formation of the art historical canon. It presents a groundbreaking blend of art historical and social scientific methods to chart, for the first time, the sheer scale of nineteenth-century artistic production. With new quantitative evidence for more than five hundred thousand works of art, the author provides fresh insights into the nineteenth century, and the extent to which art historians have focused on a limited—and potentially biased—sample of artwork from that time. She addresses long-standing questions about the effects of industrialization, gender, and empire on the art world, and she models more expansive approaches for studying art history in the age of the digital humanities. Examining art in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, she features datasets created from indices and exhibition catalogs that—to date—have been used primarily as finding aids. From this body of information, she reveals the importance of access to the countryside for painters showing images of nature at the Paris Salon, the ways in which time-consuming domestic responsibilities pushed women artists in the United States to work in lower-prestige genres, and how images of empire were largely absent from the walls of London’s Royal Academy at the height of British imperial power. Ultimately, the author considers how many works may have been excluded from art historical inquiry and shows how data can help reintegrate them into the history of art, even after such pieces have disappeared or faded into obscurity. Upending traditional perspectives on the art historical canon, this volume offers an innovative look at the nineteenth-century art world and its legacy.