FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

A crossed history of painted ceilings : France-Germany, 1600-1800 – PLAFOND-3D

Submission summary

The project aims to examine the historical, cultural, formal and technical phenomenon of the proliferation of painted and sculpted ceiling decorations in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Germany and France lend themselves to this investigation: the numerous selective and various studies are to be systematised as a corpus in a comprehensive undertaking, and examined with the most up-to-date approaches. The moment is propitious: on both sides of the Rhine, database initiatives are being created and urgent need exists for a research project in order to develop common tools and to increase relevance and interoperability. This Franco-German cooperative project will not replace existing initiatives, but instead enrich them by creating fundamental conditions for joint reflection that will result in a portal for ceiling painting in France and Germany.

In addition to the digital indexing of the decorative programs in the portal, the team will carry out in-depth research in the form of microhistories of twenty ceiling paintings that reflect the variety of typologies, patrons, the experimental nature of designs, the organisation of construction sites, the function of the decorations in their representation of power, the conditions of their visual effectiveness, and their role in the development of forms and discourses. Finally, 3D modelling of six extant or destroyed decorative programs will provide a field for experimentation in order to examine questions such as the transition from two to three dimensions (from design to execution). Such 3D modelling also ensures that the project appeals to a broad audience, thus fostering understanding of the designs among the general public.

A series of workshops will accompany the entire process with strong and constant reflection. Our goals, therefore, are to create an online directory of the secular ceiling paintings executed in both countries through dialogue between two historiographic traditions that have been separated; to identify or create mutual tools for their description and online publication; to fill in chronological and geographic blind spots in their study; to develop questions on the basis of new scientific approaches; and to write a history of the interrelations between French and German ceiling paintings. The results will be the creation of an online portal that brings together the entire corpus; a detailed investigation of twenty case studies; a research notebook in the form of a blog; various events for the general public (virtual exhibition, presentation during the European Heritage Days); four thematic online publications; an international symposium and a publication resulting from it.

Project coordination

Oliivier BONFAIT (Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de recherches Sociétés Sensibiilités Soins (UBFC))

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LIR3S Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de recherches Sociétés Sensibiilités Soins (UBFC)
LMU Ludwig Maximilan Universität

Help of the ANR 292,376 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2022 - 24 Months

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