The Mapping Gothic France project was initiated by Stephen Murray, Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and Andrew Tallon, Assistant Professor of Art at Vassar College and funded through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mapping Gothic France was developed within the framework of collaboration between the Media Center for Art History in the Department of Art History at Columbia University, the Visual Resources Library at Vassar College, and the Columbia University Libraries.
Whereas pictures can be satisfactorily represented in two dimensions on a computer screen, space -- especially Gothic space -- demands a different approach, one which embraces not only the architectonic volume but also time and narrative. Mapping Gothic France builds upon a theoretical framework derived from the work of Henri Lefèbvre (The Production of Space) that seeks to establish linkages between the architectural space of individual buildings, geo-political space, and the social space resulting from the interaction (collaboration and conflict) between multiple agents -- builders and users.
Our intention has been not just to develop a more appropriate way of representing the spaciousness of individual monuments, but to provide the user of the site with new ways to understand the relationship of hundreds of buildings conventionally described as "Gothic" -- in terms of sameness and difference, found in the forms of multiple buildings within a defined period of time and space that corresponds to the advent of the nation of France.