Using Digital Art History to Reassess the Catalogue Raisonné: The Case of Edouard Manet - Prof. A. Leigh

Prof. Allison Leigh, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

27 May 2021


Although it has long been speculated that the French painter Edouard Manet suffered from and perhaps even died of complications relating to syphilis, the exact effect his condition had on his painting practice has never been clearly established. This talk uses the catalogue raisonné of Manet’s work in tandem with digital humanities tools for classifying data to reconstruct the nature of the artist’s increasing debility in terms of the works he produced in his final decade. Using digital humanities tools to assess the entire volume of Manet’s works allows one to trace patterns and connections which were formerly hidden from view. By conducting an analysis which takes into account the ways that Manet physically adapted his artistic practice to his increasing debility and pain, this essay creates a fuller picture of the art and life of one of history’s greatest modern painters and opens up new methodological possibilities within the field.


This presentation was delivered at the (en)coding Heritage Seminar Series, which brought together researchers working at the cutting edge of digital technologies, humanities and heritage science. The session was dedicated to New Directions in Digital Visual Studies. The full programme can be found here


Organised and chaired by Dr Lia Costiner (University of Oxford) and Dr Leonardo Impett (Durham University) for the Oxford (en)coding Heritage Network.

(en)coding Heritage Network, TORCH Networks