Call for papers

Past and Present Representations of Historical Urban Spaces (Middle Ages – Early Modern Time)

Workshop, Dubrovnik 21-23 September 2023

Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome
Institute of Art History, Zagreb

Scientific organization: Tanja Michalsky, Ana Plosnić Škarić

Historic cities are reconstructed and represented in numerous different projects around the world, whereby the hermeneutics of the procedure are not addressed enough.

This workshop aims to discuss historical representations of urban spaces (in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern times) in comparison with the representations of these spaces in digital art history, focusing on the relationships between precision and interpretation.

All historical representations, comprising maps, drawings, vedute, narrative texts and archival documents, were made for a purpose – and the purpose affected the perception and interpretation of the represented urban space. The precision of depicting forms and shapes was often undermined in order of representing objectives, concepts, notions, stories or beliefs. Being the only witnesses of the past urban landscapes, these sources are crucial for art historians in their efforts at digital reconstructions of these spaces. The process of retrieving information from the sources necessarily includes the understanding of the form of a studied urban space and the meaning conveyed in its representation.

We would like to invite speakers to discuss the following crucial questions using case studies from their current research:

  • What methods do art historians apply while analysing the sources for creating digital reconstructions?
  • What intentions, apart from “resurrecting” the lost forms, do they have?
  • How interested are they in representing not just the former shapes but the former meanings as well?
  • How can historical city views and maps be interpreted appropriately?
  • What impact do their research questions have on the way they interpret and visualise the research results?
  • What would be the guidelines for reviewing these new visualisations?

Working languages for the workshop are English and Italian. Submissions for 20 minutes presentations, including an abstract of max. 250 words and a short CV (max. 1 page), can be sent to by 31 January 2023.

The organizing institutions will provide accommodation for the speakers and offer a contribution for travel expenses.

Related website here.