The project

This website presents a born-digital, critical edition of a French XIXth century artist sketchbook composed of 430 drawings after antiquities (digitized version online here).

The original ninety-page in folio album kept in the Special Collections of the Getty Research Institute, has been studied by Delphine Burlot, pensionnaire at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art (2010-2014) and a specialist for the modern reception of Roman antiquities, in the frame of a research program on the fortune of the Antique conducted at the INHA (Sources inédites pour l'étude de l'antique). For the online publication, the choice of departing from the INHA database models used for the other programs on the history of archaeology (Histoire des vases grecs, Fond Poinssot: Histoire de l'archéologie française en Afrique du nord) is due to the complexity of the album, concerning two different epochs, made from several sketchbooks and reproducing different antique objects (mural paintings, sculptures, bronzes, lamps, coins) after different source types- original works, casts, engraved books. Collecting and organizing the data as well as reconstructing the history of the album composition meant suitable tools, and especially, a flexible treatment of the images as well as a collaborative database. The search and browse functionalities required a critical filter integral to the dataset and based on international vocabularies. 

The team got in touch as soon as 2010 and continuously from 2012, with the Getty's Digital Art History Access, who was currently developing in partnership with the University of Málaga a collaborative workspace for the publication of a rhymed inventory of the Baroque period, now online; the Digital Montagny Project, aimed at the exploration of complex images, was an interesting counterpart to the Mellini Project, focused on texts. From 2012 onwards, an INHA team composed of students, confirmed scholars, information specialists and  web managers  have collaborated closely with  the  GRI's Digital Art History Access to set up the functionalities of the site (see How to use this site), that have been designed in close adequation to the content of the album to provide the user with the means to conduct a personal investigation.

This pilot project is a prototype for a new digital environment being developed by the GRI, the Getty Scholars’ Workspace™. 

As it both presents the research data and their interpretation, as well as the historical and artistic context of the album's creation, it should be used and cited as a publication.

The artist

Elie-Honoré Montagny (1782-1864), a French artist, pupil of David, traveled to Italy in 1804 and 1805 to draw antiquities for Visconti’s work l’Iconographie ancienne. He then established in Rome until 1815 where he worked as a draughtsman and copying antiquities and modern paintings. Most of the drawings and tracings from the “Montagny album” reproduce antiquities from Naples and Rome, made while Montagny was in Italy.