Daniel Marot is maybe best known for his self-published designs for interiors and architecture-related objects. However, Marot happens to be one of the earliest documented designers to work across disciplines.
This unique aspect of his oeuvre has not gone unnoticed among architectural and design historians with many studies and publications as a result. However, these studies frequently still have a monodisciplinary perspective and are not always easily accessible due to the publication language.
This interdisciplinary research project takes a transnational approach to examining the oeuvre and influence of Daniel Marot (1661-1752). The project aims to contextualise the design practice through the examination of his artistic collaborations and sphere of influence, as well as the workshop practices, following object-based research.
A holistic approach to Marot’s wide range of crafts disciplines and geographically widespread work field will allow for a better understanding and new appreciation of the immersive nature of design in the Baroque era. By combining results from a range of disciplines and research methodologies isolated works and fragments can be re-interpreted outside the prevailing siloed specialised approach they have been examined with so far.
Some of the research methods that will be employed in the project are detailed below, a list that is not exhaustive and that will undoubtedly grow as the project develops.
PATRONAGE AND ARTISTIC NETWORK
It can be challenging to reconstruct the motivations behind a patron’s choices for specific artisans and so far the rationale behind a creation has only been dealt with in isolation. Traditional art historical research places a lot of importance on the aspect of attribution, and by extension authenticity. But there are very few projects that can be ascribed to Marot as the sole creator (beyond the production of drawings and engravings). Furthermore, the nature of Marot’s designs must have required a team of artists and craftsmen to execute a project. An investigation of collaborative artistic networks in Marot’s vicinity will result in a richer understanding of design processes and the nature of artistic authorship in Early Modern Europe.
Various analysis techniques can be utilised to identify pigments in paints, metals and metal foils, dyes and fibres used in textiles and embroidery, stones and clays and glazes for ceramics and components of other coatings and architectural surfaces. Gathering data on the materials that have been used for Marot’s interiors are important to be able to make cross references and to support hypotheses on architectural and interior elements that are dispersed over various locations but were once associated with one building or garden. Currently applied techniques are Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM), pXRF, and SEM-EDX.
Additional to spot-analysis we also investigate the layered or sequential process of decorating and altering an interior or a piece of furniture, for which we currently use cross section microscopy.
The research and interpretation of Marot’s historic concepts are heavily suffering under losses, refurbishments, contents that are now scattered over collections with oceans in between, and de-contextualised interiors. However, digital reconstructions allow for a novel engagement with historic interiors and multidimensional interpretation of existing and new research.
We will utilise digital reconstructions to contextualise fragmented interiors, explore immersive aspects, and support attribution and workshop hypotheses. Digital reconstruction will also be more flexible and versatile for necessary adaptations that will emerge with new interpretations and research findings. This technology also allows for projects that combine interior and exterior aspects to be recreated and experienced as interdependent parts of an overall concept.
Regular photography can be accompanied by other imaging techniques to help with interpreting and understanding certain surface phenomena, such as textures of textiles, painted surfaces, glazed ceramics and stone or marble elements of an architectural structure or interior.UV imaging utilises specific fluorescence characteristics of materials and coatings that are otherwise invisible. Infrared photography can make underdrawings, hard-to-read inscriptions and variations in composition better visible. False-colour Infrared elaborates on regular IR and is particularly used for a better understanding of a coloured surface. Imaging techniques currently available to utilise in the project are Ultra-Violet (UV) imaging, Infrared and False-Colour Infrared photography, and multispectral imaging.These techniques can help with investigating and interpreting certain aspects of drawings, prints an decorative surfaces.
TECHNICAL ART HISTORY
Technical Art History focuses on types of materials, techniques, and tools used by a craftsman or artist to realise an artefact in the context of time, geographical location and historical and social-economic events. Reconstruction of certain elements using historically informed tools and materials can help with understanding workshop methodologies and interpreting specific elements.
Documentary sources such as recipe books, manuals, inventories, correspondence and bills, can be used to support and contextualise findings from material analysis and technical imaging. The project aims to make sources, that are written in less-accessible languages, available – as well as investigations of artisan practices in Marot’s artistic circle, and to develop a physical material library of interior finishes of the late baroque era to provide context.