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Visual Culture Seminar

Thursday, February 22, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Digital Reconstruction and the Identification of Gothic Design Plans
Meredith Cohen, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA,
Kristine Tanton, Associate Professor of Medieval Art, Department of Art History and Film Studies, Université of Montréal (UdeM),
  • Public Event

In this talk, we will present the insights we gained from a yearslong digital reconstruction of the thirteenth-century Lady Chapel of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a great monument in Paris that was completely razed in 1802 during the aftermath of the French Revolution. Recreated according to architectural and conservation standards, and integrating a wide variety of diverse and sometimes uncertain or inaccurate evidence, our 3D-digital model of the Lady Chapel offers new insight into how Gothic buildings were planned and constructed without blueprints. Comparison with other extant and non-extant chapels from the same place and period serve as a proof of concept and suggest a path forward for understanding larger, more complex monuments of Gothic Architecture.

Meredith Cohen is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the production, function, and cultural significance of architecture in high medieval Europe with an emphasis on Paris and France. Since 2015, she has been the PI of the research project titled Paris Past and Present ( which employs digital technologies to re-examine medieval architecture. Extending from this project, she has recently completed a book with Dr. Kristine Tanton, on the reconstruction of the Lady Chapel of Saint-Germain des Prés.

Kristine Tanton is Associate Professor of Medieval Art in the department of art history and film studies at the Université of Montréal (UdeM), where she has taught since 2018. Her research focuses on two principal areas: the dynamic relationship among sculpture, architecture, and ritual activity in the eleventh-thirteenth centuries, and digital methods for art historical research, specifically through databases and 3D reconstructions of medieval monuments. She is the co-director of the digital art history and museum studies lab at UdeM (Ouvroir laboratoire enhistoire de l'art et muséologie numérique). Tanton has received support for her research from various venues, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Council (SSHRC) and the Canada Foundation of Innovation. She is a Getty Scholar this year (2023-2024) for the theme, Art & Technology. In addition to her research on medieval art and architecture, she is also a co-researcher on the partnership project, Des nouveaux usages des musées de l'art (PI: Johanne Lamoureux), focusing on the uses of 3D technology in art museum collections.

For more information, please contact Mary Martin by phone at 626-395-4571 or by email at [email protected].