Znanstvena radionica

Past and Present Representations of Historical Urban Spaces

Međunarodna znanstvena radionica Past and Present Representations of Historical Urban Spaces (Middle Ages – Early Modern Times), koju organiziraju Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rim, i Institut za povijest umjetnosti, održat će se u CAAS – Centre for Advances Academic Studies u Dubrovniku od 21. do 23. rujna 2023. godine.

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 discuss the following questions through selected case studies:

  • 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 can historical city views and maps be interpreted appropriately?
  • What impact do research questions have on the way we interpret and visualise the research results?
  • What would be the guidelines for reviewing these new visualisations?


CAAS – Center for Advanced Academic Studies, University of Zagreb
Don Frana Bulića 4, Dubrovnik

Scientific Organization: Tanja Michalsky and Ana Plosnić Škarić

Thursday, 21 September

Tanja Michalsky (Rome) – Ana Plosnić Škarić (Zagreb)
Welcome and Introduction

Chair: Tanja Michalsky

Chiara Capulli (Cambridge – Rome)
Digital Tools for the Understanding of the Lost Urban Fabric: The Case Study of the 1529 Guasto of Florence

Dávid Derzsenyi (Budapest)
From Magnificence to Magnitude – Isaac Vossius’ Speculations on the Size of Ancient Rome

11:00 Coffee break

Gonzalo Munoz-Vera (Montréal)
Interpreting Robert Burford’s Panorama of Mexico City (1826) through Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Biombo Paintings

Isabella Augart (Göttingen)
The Gaze of the Draftsman. Lodewijk Toeput’s Views of Rome

13:00 Lunch break

Chair: Ana Plosnić Škarić

Fabrizio Nevola (Exeter)
Walking With the Past in Your Hand: Locative XR and Public History

Nicola Camerlenghi (Hanover, NH)
Reverse Projection and the Development of a Diachronic 3D GIS Map of Medieval and Early Modern Rome

16:15 Coffee break

Ana Marinković (Zagreb)
The Domed Model in Text and Image: Problems in Past and Present Visualisations of Medieval Church Architecture in Dubrovnik

Friday, 22 September

Chair: Elisabetta Scirocco

Julia Smyth-Pinney (Lexington, KY)
Joints: Bufalini’s Map of Rome (1551 [1560]) Recomposed by La Sapienza

Nuno Grancho (Copenhagen)
The Mirror-Cities of Denmark. The Private and the Public in Tranquebar

11:00 Coffee break

Melinda Harlov-Csortán (Vác)
Representation of the Past on the Urban Fabric. Aims and Tools of Monument Protection Architects Versus Cultural Heritage Professionals at Historic Urban Landscapes

Ludovica Galeazzo (Padua)
A Critical Reinterpretation of Venice’s Aquascape: The ERC Project Venice’s Nissology

13:00 Lunch break


16:00 – 18:30
Donal Cooper, Ana Marinković and Ana Plosnić Škarić
Encountering Middle Ages and Early Modern Urban Heritage in the Contemporary City

Saturday, 23 September

Chair: Chiara Capulli

Maria Männig (Landau)
Exploring the Significance of City Models in Early Modern Representations of Urban Space: A Case Study of Landau

Donal Cooper (Cambridge)
From 2D to 3D and Back Again: Mapping Sacred Interiors at Urban Scale

11:00 Coffee break

Alessandro Spila (Rome)
Dentro e oltre le fonti per la rappresentazione dello spazio urbano. L’area del Tempio di Serapide sul Quirinale dall’antichità alla prima età moderna

Ana Plosnić Škarić (Zagreb)
Visualising City Councils' Deliberations on Dubrovnik Urban Fabric

Concluding Remarks

More detailed information here.