Project Proposal

Working Title:

Digital Renaissance

The project aims to explore themes from the Renaissance era which I have began discussing in several blog entries. As I begin to develop an understanding of the key changes in art undertaken at that time, as well as other significant changes in society which influenced art practice, I intend to reflect these finding into a contemporary context and create a body of work from this research.

Areas to explore:

At this stage in the project I see my aims as the creation of a series of digital images that reflect the development of the digital renaissance theory, incorporating photography, video, drawing with digital software to acheive this. I have come up with a few areas of research that will serve as my objectives to get to this stage.

  • To explore the use and development of perspective in art works and how this theory was developed by Renaissance thinkers and artists.
  • How people and events of the time were documented, what was important to artists of the Renaissance? Are their similarities with contemporary art practice?
  • How the use of perspective and art as documentation can be manipulated with the use of digital technologies. Also the ways in which documentation is carried in the 21st century taking into account things like the internet, cameras, phones etc. The ability to document events in real time.
  • How the development of these technologies, not exclusively in artistic fields, have changed our understanding of ourselves and and our surroundings to build the theory that we are going through a development stage that can be compared to that of the Renaissance.

Historical Context

The main focus for the beginning of my project lies with the art and culture of the Renaissance period which spanned from the 14th to the 17th century. In particular I am highly influenced by the work of the High Renaissance artists Da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo with Raphael being my favourite of the group. As well as artistic figures, people like Albetti who developed the theory of perspective will play a crucial role in my research and I envision these as being the core inspirations for my project.

Other historical influences include movements such as Baroque with artists such as Caravaggio, Rubens and Velazquez as well as Rococo, a development of Baroque, in particular the artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard. There are several comparisons which could be argued between the Renaissance and these movements which is something to explore more as the project develops.

These two groups function as the main bulk of my historical influences, however there are other artists who have influenced me who don’t fall into these groups

  • Gustave Moreau: A French symbolist painter who was known for his paintings depicting scenes from mythology and the bible. I love Moreau’s style and how he deals with his subjects, my favourite artist of the symbolist group.
  • Nam June Paik: As a pioneer of video art Paik, along with the Fluxus movement, used the sony portapak to explore the ability to capture events and performances in real time.
  • Marcel Duchamp: It seems as if Marcel Duchamp has influenced everything when it comes to modern art or at least a lot of contemporary artistic practices can be related back to him in some way, I still find him inspirational because of they way he changed the artistic field with his readymades.

Contemporary Context

In relation to contemporary contexts there are a number of artists working in different fields that have been a great influence over me and I’m sure this list will continue to grow as the project develops.

  • Bert Monroy: Working digitally to create paintings since the 80’s, Monroy’s work is very inspirational to me as I wish to explore in further depth digital painting
  • Glenn Brown: Brown’s work adopts a high level of appropriation, the re working of images and style form the past from various artists whilst adding his own take.
  • Lucien Freud: A painter who’s realistic but often exaggerated style has always been a favourite with me, I like how he portrays the body and deals with portraits in his work.
  • Steve McQueen: Working predominately as a video artist, McQueen’s films and videos stand out for within the realms of video art. Giardini, shown at the Venice Biennialle being one of my favourites of his work.
  • Angus Fairhurst: Fairhurst has created a wide range of artworks with different styles and concepts, often drawing or dressing up as a gorilla in them, his early death I think is quite a blow for the art world. I am particularly drawn to his collage works.
  • Taryn Simon: Dealing with the idea of family and memory I like how she undertakes her projects often taking years to create and develop them.
  • Fiona Rae: Her working methods is something I quite like, although her work is normally created with paint on canvas, I like the idea of her using the computer in order to create her compositions.
  • Robert Lazzarini: I see a similarity between Lazzarini and Fiona Rae in the sense that they use digital technologies in order to produce physical works of art. Lazzarini’s sculpture depict things such as skulls and guns that have been distorted using 3d programmes and then produced using 3d printers as sculptural objects.
  • Pawel Althamer: One project that stood out for me with look at Althamer is about a refugee in berin, where Althamer tried to raise awareness of his imminent deportation through installations and a website essentially serving as a way to raise awareness and protest about what was happening. I also like his figurative sculpture.
  • Eva and Franco Mattes: I wrote my dissertation about the Mattes’ and really like the work they create in Second Life. Functioning as art world pranksters the pair have undertaken some controversial projects over the years, in my opinion providing a funny side to the often serious art establishment.

For further contemporary context I have included other artists and projects under the Influential Projects section of my blog.


My first step is to fully study the key topics from the Renaissance which I have begun to outline and others I find as my research continues. I hope to build a group of themes such as relevant subject matter from the time and also social, scientific, technological advancements that helped developed art throughout the course of the Renaissance which I can adopt for my own artistic practice and theory.

With these comparisons created, I intend to further compare the developments of contemporary technology culture and art to these findings in order support my theory that a digital renaissance is taking place. Experimentation will be a key factor and I intend to adopt several mediums in this stage of my project, as stated previously I am quite keen to go down the route of digital painting along with photography and video artworks. At this stage I have not developed any core concepts that will be present in my practice so the methods I use to create works will not be finalised until my initial research stage in complete.



Digital Art – Christiane Paul

New Media in Art – Michael Rush

Internet Art – Rachael Greene

New Media in the White Cube and Beyond – Christiane Paul

Art Now vol.3 – Various

Practices of Looking – Marita Sturken, isa Cartwright

Video Art – Michael Rush

The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft – Anne Friedburg

Art – the definitive visual guide –

Eva and Franco Mattes – Various

Essentials of Visual Communication – Bo Bergstrom

Conceptual Art – Daniel Marzona

Questioning Identity – Kath Woodward

Art Gallery Exhibting – Paul Andriesse

Six Years: The dematerialisation of the art object – Lucy Lippard

Installation Art – N De Oliveria, N. Oxley, M. Perry

Methods and Theories of Art History – Anne D’Alleva

The Posthuman Dada Guide – Andrei Coudrescu

The Body in Contemporary Art – Sally O’Reilly

(need to add in websites and other sources which are at home)


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