The Project

The ANR-DFG PLAFOND-3D project aims to study the historical, cultural, formal, and technical phenomenon of the multiplication of painted and sculpted ceiling decorations in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries in the French and German fields, in private and public residences or institutional headquarters, from Versailles to Dresden, from Ansbach to Bussy-Rabutin.

PLAFOND-3D will not replace current initiatives but will enrich them by creating the conditions for joint reflection, which will materialize in the form of a database of French and German ceilings that will constitute the corpus of research (approximately 250 ceilings in France, 500 ceilings in Germany). At the same time, an in-depth study will be undertaken of twenty decors representative of the variety of typologies, the clients, the trials and tribulations of design, the organization of construction sites, the function of decor in the representation of power, the conditions of its visual effectiveness, and its role in the evolution of forms and discourse. Finally, the 3D modeling of six sets, existing or disappeared, will offer a field of experimentation to answer questions such as the passage from two to three dimensions (from design to execution) or the modes of visualization in the rituals of occupation of spaces. Such modeling also ensures that a wider audience will be interested in and understand these sets. A series of workshops around three research axes will ensure and reinforce the problematization of the approach throughout the duration of the project. A series of publications at the end of the project will report on the work accomplished and an international colloquium will allow the results to be compared with investigations in other countries and other chronological periods.

The objectives of the project are therefore, by bringing together two historiographical traditions that have long been separated, to draw up a complete repertory of the civil ceilings executed in the two countries; to identify or create common tools for their description and publication; to fill in the chronological and geographical blind spots in their study; to elaborate analytical grids based on new scientific issues; and to write a cross-history of the French and German ceilings.

Olivier Bonfait and Matteo Burioni

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