Last week we welcomed Ana-Maria Costa, the Library & Archive's first Synthesys funded researcher. She is with us for three weeks.
Ana-Maria is here as part of her PhD with the University of Lisbon, entitled 'The Natural History in Art and the Art in Natural History 1770-1810'.
During her stay she will be using the Botanical and Zoological artwork collections from the Library and in particular those relating to:
In particular the goal of her PhD is to compare and contrast the 'cultural' skills of Portuguese artists with those of other European artists during the period 1770-1810.
When studying the collections, she is looking at a number of different levels:
Artistic - not only interested in the colours used, but form, line and composition. Also what the artist puts behind, whether the perspectives are correct and their use of light and shadow to create a 3D effect.
Scientific/taxonomic - has the species been identified and if so correctly.
Geographic - she is recording the geographical information of the specimen depicted in order to later plot these on a map.
Ana-Maria is in her third year of four and has already researched the art collections at the Libraries of the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens, Lisbon, National Museum, Lisbon and Botanical Gardens, Madrid.
By the end of her research here Ana-Maria is looking to have identified approximately 40 pieces of artwork to use for her PhD, in addition to those selected from the other institutions.