Henrietta Miers: Mapping Venetian Ceiling Paintings
December 16, 2015
The Wired! Lab’s Master’s program in Historical & Cultural Visualization was begun in August 2014. Three students recently completed the program.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from Bronxville, New York, a one square mile town where I attended Bronxville High School. In 2010, I attended Princeton University and graduated in 2014 with a BA in Art History. I wrote my senior thesis on the art of the British Nigerian Artist Yinka Shonibare. At Duke, I wrote my MA thesis on sixteenth-century ceiling paintings in Venetian churches at a time of religious reform. I created an extensive database of 17 ceiling cycles consisting of two collections, about 350 items, 3 interactive maps, and 3 exhibitions. After graduation, I hope to work in a museum position and eventually get my Ph.D. in Art History.
Why did you choose to attend the MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization program?
First, I explored the projects the Wired! lab was working on, especially Visualizing Venice, and thought it would be great to work on the project and eventually write my thesis on a Venetian topic. Second, the idea of learning about how to digitize art history made me want to be part of the program because art history is constantly changing, and it is exceptionally useful to know how to utilize digital tools and programs such as SketchUp and Omeka (to name a few).
What is the most valuable skill or concept you have learned in the MA program?
The most valuable concept I learned is how powerful and important visualization is to the future of art history. Art history is constantly evolving, and digitization of this discipline is the direction it is heading, which is already evident in certain museums.
How do you see this MA advancing your career goals?
This MA degree will advance my career goals because the program gave me a skill set that I did not have prior to entering Duke. The MA allowed me to learn to code scenes with BabylonJS, design a website using HTML, build a windmill in SketchUp, and construct a database of about 350 items using Omeka. These are only a few of the things I was able to accomplish during this program, and I believe these skills will be useful for a museum position.
Henrietta is a member of the MA program’s inaugural graduating class. Her thesis is titled “Mapping All Above: Sixteenth-Century Ceiling Painting at a Time of Religious Reform.” During her time at Duke she worked on the Venice Interactive Visual Atlas (VIVA). She also worked on a class project, “Troyes Cathedral: Stained Glass” in which students recolored black and white images of a stained glass window as a way of showing how the medieval window, whose colors are now dimmed with the passage of time, may have first appeared.
UPDATE: Henrietta is now employed at an art gallery in New York.