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"Linked Art" – Exploratory Project on the Use of Network Analysis in the Field of Art History

In the course of the seminar "Network Science in the Humanities", which Demival Vasques Filho conducted in the summer semester 2020 in the Mainz Master's programme "Digital Methodology in the Humanities and Cultural Studies", the students Sophia Renz and Vanessa Tissen started their project. The aim is to explore the use of social network analysis (SNA) for research questions in art history with data from museums. Sophia Renz and Vanessa Tissen examined data provided by the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the networks of artists derived from it based on the exhibitions of their artworks curated by the museum.

In 2021, the project and especially its methodological approaches aroused international interest. The researchers were able to launch a joint project with colleagues from the Art History Institute in Florence – Max Planck Institute. Currently, the image database of the Florentine Institute's Phototek with its many thousands of objects is being examined. Together, the German and Italian researchers are researching how the new methods of digital humanities – especially network analysis – can help art historians gain new insights into the collection of the KHI and its associated actors.