Art History & Archaeology Theses and Dissertations

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    Baroque Plague Imagery and Tridentine Church Reforms
    (1990) Boeckl, Christine M.; Pressly, William; Art History & Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    This dissertation aims to achieve two goals: one, to assemble as many facts as possible about the plague, regardless of period, and to relate this material to images; and two, to present a well-defined group of religious baroque plague paintings in the context of social, political and religious history. This inquiry is primarily concerned with scenes that portray saints actively involved in charitable pursuits, dispensing the sacraments to victims of the most dreaded disease, the bubonic plague. Chapter I contains a bibliographical essay, divided into three parts: medicine, theology, and art history. The next chapter considers the sources and the formation of baroque plague iconography. The remaining two chapters discuss "documentary" plague scenes and how they relate to historic events. They are presented in two sections: Italy and transalpine countries. This interdisciplinary research resulted in a number of observations. First, these narrative plague scenes were produced in Italy and in Catholic countries bordering Protestant regions: Switzerland, France, Flanders, and in the Habsburg Empire (excluding Spain). Second, the painters were mostly Italian or Italian-trained. Third, the artists observed not only the requirements specified by the Church in the 1563 Tridentine Decree on the Arts but also reflected in their work the catechetic teachings of the Council. Fourth, these religious scenes were not votive paintings but doctrinal images that served either didactic or polemic functions. Fifth, the scenes were not intended as memento mori; rather, the iconology conveyed positive images which emphasized that the faithful needed the Roman Catholic clergy to gain life-everlasting. Sixth, these plague paintings were important documents not as recordings of the conditions experienced during an epidemic but as historic testimony of liturgical practices. Last, these selected scenes mirrored the baroque Church's views on the ultimate questions about life and death.
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    The Washington Bronze Dionysos
    (1994) Bennet, Susanne Klejman; Venit, Marjorie Susan; Art History & Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    A life-size bronze of a nude youth was discovered in a river in Asia Minor in the early 1960's. The bronze no longer had the iconographic attributes that it had once held in its hands, but the head presented features which made it possible to identity the figure as representing the god Dionysos. The sculptor drew upon earlier prototypes, specifically a figure called the Westmacott athlete, which has been tentatively attributed to the Greek sculptor Polykleitos. The head of the statue reflects a different, possibly female, prototype. An investigation of a group of Roman life-size and three quarter life-size bronzes reveals that the iconographic details which identity the Washington Bronze also place it outside the category of lamp hearers to which the majority of the other statues belong. The physiques of the majority of the lamp bearers and of the Washington Bronze, however, reflect the same Polykleitan prototypes. The identification of the Washington Bronze as a devotional rather than functional statue is made through a study of the literary, religious, and archaeological evidence. The evolution in the iconography of the god is traced through his portrayals on Greek vases and in Graeco-Roman bronze and marble statuary. The Bronze was created in the Eastern Roman Empire. Through a comparative analysis of other bronzes it can be dated within the period between the beginning of the Augustan era and the third quarter of the first century A. D. A setting in the home of a devotee of the Dionysian Mysteries is adduced.
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    Paolo and Francesca: Unfulfilled Love in Nineteenth-Century French Art
    (1986) Hall, Pamela Rae; Hargrove, June E.; Art History & Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    During the nineteenth century, the Divine Comedy became an important source of inspiration for French artists. Chief among the episodes represented was Dante's account of Paolo and Francesca, illicit lovers condemned to the Inferno's Circle of the Lustful. This paper examines specific portrayals of the Francesca tragedy and seeks to explain why the theme became especially favored by the French. The method is three fold: First, to trace the history of Dante's popularity in France; second, to analyze the thematic changes which occurred in depictions of Paolo and Francesca between 1800 and 1880; and finally, to consider the ways in which these works were influenced by contemporary philosophies and events. An historical survey of the popularity of the Divine Comedy closely indicates that France's admiration for Dante was linked to the appearance of numerous French translations of his chef d'oeuvre. Artists responded to the public's growing appreciation of the epic by incorporating Dantesque themes into their subjects: at least 111 works inspired by the Divine Comedy were exhibited at the Salon during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century -- of these 43 were based on Francesca's tale. The Francesca episode enjoyed prominence throughout the century largely because it was relevant to the advancing political, social, religious and artistic mores of society. The motif could be adapted to address sentimentality or melancholy. It could provide a moralizing lesson on lascivious living or serve as a pretext for eroticism. The theme of unfulfilled love, popular throughout the century, was embodied in Paolo and Francesca as either chaste, lamentable, deplorable or impassioned.
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    Haarlem Tabletop Still-Life Painting, 1610-1660: A Study of Relationships Between Form and Meaning
    (2003) Gregory, Henry Duval V; Wheelock, Arthur K. Jr.; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Scholars have considered Dutch still life and its meaning from a variety of methodological perspectives and have often reached different opinions on the prevalence of intentional moralizing meaning in these pictures. This study approaches meaning - that is, messages specifically religious or moralizing in nature - in still-life painting by focusing on paintings produced in Haarlem between 1610 and 1660 and assessing their capacity for meaning in terms of their visual structure and the objects featured in them. Drawing on a database of 630 paintings created for this study, I analyzed the patterns that developed in Haarlem tabletop still-life painting; from the objects and foods used in these paintings to their thematic types and compositional characteristics. The results of these analyses foster an understanding of the most typical forms of the Haarlem tabletop still life. However, these analyses also pennit one to identify works exceptional in visual structure and/or use of objects that convey unmistakable messages focused on christological and vanitas themes. A prime example of a painting with these qualities is a large canvas by the artist Willem Claesz. Heda (1635 - National Gallery of Art, Washington). The compositional structure in this picture focuses one's attention on a roll along the front edge of the table. A contrast between the roll and the rest of the table is evident: the latter has been consumed while the former is untouched. The presence of elements connoting transience - an extinguished candle and a broken berckemeier - underscores the allegorical nature of this painted table and sharpens the contrast between the roll as symbol of Christ and the rest of the table as a worldly, ephemeral indulgence. While most tabletop still Iifes painted in Haarlem between 1610 and 1660 were not overtly allegorical, a significant number were. The methodology in this study allows one to identify these paintings and assess the nature of their meaning.
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    Evolution and Eternity in the Landscape of Defeat: Yokoyama Taikan and Mt. Fuji
    (2023) Mastrandrea, Magdalena; Volk, Alicia; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The end of the Fifteen Year War in August 1945 abruptly dismantled the ideology of art in service of the empire that established Japanese painters had worked under for over a decade. During this time, Yokoyama Taikan, a figurehead of the Nihonga painting genre who infamously called on artists to support the war effort, displayed hyper-nationalist paintings of Mt. Fuji, an icon synonymous with the nation of Japan. As droves of American Occupiers entered the country following Japan’s surrender, artists like Taikan quickly began to adjust their public image to avoid consequences. Yet only two years later, Taikan painted and displayed Landscape of the Four Seasons, an 88-foot-long scroll painting progressing through scenes of mountains, forests, rivers, and most notably, beginning with Mt. Fuji. Although painted in the midst of the Allied Occupation of Japan, when all Japanese media was subjected to strict censorship, Taikan’s use of Fuji at the beginning of this composition blatantly recalls his wartime paintings of the mountain. Despite this, he successfully exhibited Landscape of Four Seasons at the 1947 Japan Visual Arts Academy exhibition, or Inten, the first full-scale Inten since Japan’s surrender. In my analysis of this image, I begin by introducing compositionally similar Mt. Fuji paintings from before the war’s end to establish Taikan as a vehemently nationalistic artist who glorified the empire in the image of Fuji. Through examining the iconography and display of Landscape of the Four Seasons, painted in the dramatically shifted political climate of 1947, I argue that the image of Mt. Fuji, only recently associated with extreme nationalism and militarism, evolved rapidly after Japan’s surrender into a symbol of hope and resilience. The idealistic, symbolic nature of Nihonga painting allowed Taikan to exploit Fuji’s new meaning in defense of his wartime endeavors. Therefore, his Occupation era landscapes of the exact same subject matter evaded suspicion. Landscape of the Four Seasons is evidence of this phenomenon and of Taikan’s full reentry into the mainstream Japanese art world because of its display in the Inten, where it attracted significant attention. In addressing this, I explore the evolution of Mt. Fuji as an icon in the eyes of the Japanese and Americans alike, defining its new symbolism in the postwar period.
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    Swinging, Stillness, and Self-Reflection: An Experiential Approach to Campanian Oscilla
    (2023) May, Mekayla; Gensheimer, Maryl B.; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Modern studies of Roman oscilla, in their focus on the Latin etymology of the term and their treatment of the iconography as standardized Dionysiac imagery, neglect the animation of—and subsequent viewer engagement with—the objects themselves. Oscilla were double-sided marble reliefs suspended in the intercolumniations of predominantly domestic atria and peristyles. This thesis develops an experiential methodology to study the oscillum’s form, context, and disposition and examines their presence in elite and sub-elite houses and in atria and peristyles. The traditional view has characterized oscilla as commodified ancient agrarian ornaments that depict standardized imagery fit for a garden space; I argue in this thesis that the oscillum’s presence within such inherently social spaces as the Roman atrium and peristyle warrants more scrutiny. No two discovered oscilla are the same, and it is the varied imagery and forms that visually and mentally stimulate the Roman viewer as he waits in the reception spaces of the atrium and peristyle to conduct business with the head of the household.I discuss the oscilla programs of three Campanian houses, where oscilla are displayed in various parts of the Roman house, in houses of diverse social strata, and in different levels of quality. My first case study, the House of the Telephus Relief in Herculaneum, offers an opportunity to begin reconstructing a wealthy ancient viewer’s cognitive experience as four tondi oscilla are reinstalled in situ. These oscilla depict scenes of active movement, urging the viewer’s physical engagement alongside his intellectual recognition of proper decorum in the socially and politically charged space of the atrium. In my second case study, I investigate the oscilla program in the peristyle of the House of Marcus Lucretius in Pompeii, where images of solitary masks and instruments provoke theatrical participation and recollection; the oscilla frame and simultaneously disrupt the framing of the theatrical garden to draw attention to the aristocratic viewer’s participation in social performances. Finally, at the House of Fortune in Pompeii, a freedman involved in trade commissioned numerous albeit poor-quality oscilla that pair scenes of conflict with those of cooperation to convince the viewer of the patron’s social and civic participation in the domestic sphere. Together, these case cases demonstrate the oscillum, a unique double-sided and suspended decorative object, inherently mobile and mutable, offered multifaceted experiences between the object’s two sides and for many different types of Roman viewers.
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    Machine Learning Approaches to Archaeological Predictive Modeling in the Age of Wildfire, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California and Nevada
    (2023) van Rensselaer, Maximilian; Palus, Matthew; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Machine learning is a powerful tool for archaeological prediction mapping. This thesis compares machine learning approaches to Middle and Late Archaic archaeological prediction in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California and Nevada. Specifically, the analysis seeks to answer whether logistic regression, Random Forest, or Maximum Entropy models perform better at archaeological prediction. The explanatory variables used to predict site presence include elevation, slope, aspect, distance to streams, land cover, soil, and geology. Of all three models, Maximum Entropy produced the most accurate predictive models based on combined diagnostic metrics. Predictive modeling is a valuable tool in preventative archaeology, where identifying and mitigating adverse effects to archaeological sites in a time-efficient manner is critical. Environmental challenges such as uncontrolled wildfires provide an impetus for indigenous communities, management agencies, and researchers to employ predictive modeling approaches in preventative cultural and heritage resource management applications.
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    Nature and Power: The Game Sill Lifes of Jan Weenix (1641-1719)
    (2023) Altizer, Kathleen Joanna; Wheelock, Arthur K; Colontuono, Anthony; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The Dutch artist Jan Weenix (1641-1719) was the most successful game painter of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Specializing in large-scale still lifes that foregrounded naturalistically depicted game arranged before ornate garden views, these innovative images were highly sought after by wealthy merchants, Dutch nobles, and German princes alike. Despite the renown of Weenix’s art in his own time and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these paintings have never been the focus of in-depth critical analysis. Scholarship on Weenix has mostly concentrated on his early Italianate landscapes and his wall panels, while interpretations of his game paintings have almost exclusively focused on their place within the long tradition of dead animal painting in Northern art, beginning with sixteenth-century Flemish market scenes. This dissertation departs from this approach by arguing that Weenix’s game paintings are best understood within the dramatic cultural shifts and political upheavals of William III’s stadholderate (1672-1702). It was during this period that Weenix first specialized in game paintings. At this time, estate ownership, hunting, and garden design were becoming newly significant performances of authority, wealth, and power, both among members of the wealthy merchant patriciate and at William III’s court. Tracing Weenix’s evolution as a game painter alongside the cultural-political history of Dutch hunting practices and gardens, I explore the nuanced ways in which Weenix’s art drew from a myriad of contemporary visual sources to stylistically and conceptually promote his patrons’ belonging to a community of pan-European elites. I show how merchant collectors sought out Weenix’s game paintings as representations of estate ownership, which had become an increasingly significant marker of inherited wealth and dynastic privilege among the merchant class. In the same period, hunting and garden art became invested with new political meanings as Stadtholder William III made hunting a centerpiece of Dutch court life for the first time, while his courtiers developed magnificent gardens to celebrate his military achievements. I prove that Weenix’s art directly refers to these activities and spaces, enabling those inside and outside the court to adopt the imagery of political power to promote their own status. Combining a sustained visual analysis of Weenix’s game paintings with an in-depth study of his patronage, I demonstrate how Weenix’s art reflected and furthered the aspirations of his patrons, and consequently participated in the construction of elite social identities. I conclude that, through Weenix’s art, collectors claimed the right to to exercise control over nature, identifying themselves with pan-European nobility and ultimately illustrating their participation in the establishment of cultural and political hegemony over their domains.
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    By the Book: Early Modern Women's Artistic Education and the Silent Instruction of Print Culture
    (2023) Haselberger, Mallory Nicole; Colantuono, Anthony; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Across early modern Europe, the use of the hand as a tool, full of vigor, and comparatively, attentive to both medium and content, remained at the forefront of artistic practice. For many artists, particularly women, a question of refining the skilled work of the hand became central to understanding the gendered nature of art itself and the limits of contemporary artistic education. This thesis broadly considers the changing nature of women’s artistic education between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, guided by the work of the woman artist through print culture and self-instruction. With central case studies exploring the artistic texts of Giovanna Garzoni, Élisabeth-Sophie Chéron, and Catherine Perrot, this thesis traces the private means by which women artists utilized rising access to print culture for artistic instruction in domestic spaces, commensurate with mass production and expansion of printed volumes in Europe between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
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    (2022) Cope, Ashley Lynn; Korobkin, Tess; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    As concepts that differ across history and between cultures—even diverging radically within a single time and place—sex, gender, and desire are most accurately understood when examined through a historically and culturally specific lens. This thesis directs that lens towards the intersection of sexology and art in early-twentieth-century France with a specific interest in representations of the third-sex subject in visual culture. Classified as neither women nor men by sexologists, members of the third sex at the turn of the twentieth century occupied a turbulent middle-ground between masculinity and femininity, and defied sexual and romantic social norms. Early sexology produced a plethora of images to serve as evidence of the innate nature of sexual desire and gender identity, and queer artists consuming sexologists’ work responded in kind with artistic works that grappled with theories of gender and sexual identity. This study deepens art historical engagement with images that contributed to and were influenced by sexology discourse in the early-twentieth century; artists like Romaine Brooks, Berenice Abbott, and Claude Cahun negotiated sexological theories about sex and gender in artworks that challenge binary conceptions of identity and make visible the third-sex subject.
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    (2022) Callahan, Maura; Shannon, Joshua; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the mid- to late 1960s, as her previously underrecognized work as a painter started to secure visibility in the art world, the American portraitist Alice Neel (1900-1984) began to minimize her subjects’ physical environments, often leaving the surrounding area a blank white field. She instead concentrated her paint within the figure, the boundaries of which became emphasized by a vivid blue outline. This attention to the figure and its borders reveals a critical nuancing of the humanist ideals her paintings purportedly defended. Rather than merely affirming the autonomy of the human subject, Neel's late portraits suggest an anxiety toward the coherence of selfhood and its sheltering within the body. This essay considers a small selection of these paintings, created between 1965 and 1982, alongside the work of preceding and contemporary artists who used portraiture to work through Western culture’s shifting conceptions of the human subject to different ends. These studies ultimately explore the possibilities and limitations of portraiture in revealing and validating the subject, and how these challenges were negotiated by Neel during the culturally transformative decades which coincided with her late career.
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    Peruvian Feather-work: Development, Purposes, and Techniques
    (1965) Roll, Virginia Helen; Wilbur, June C.; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge of Peruvian feather-work, its development, its purposes, and the techniques involved in the production of this material. Through research and through examination of seventy-seven pieces of feather-work at seven museums, theories propounded in research were verified. In addition, discoveries were made. An additional method of stringing the feathers was discovered. A brief history of the people shows that as they developed in agriculture, they had a parallel development in cultural accomplishments. It can be assumed that the agricultural development led to more time for cultural achievements. It has become known that their accomplishments in the area of textiles were outstanding. Among their textiles, feather-work was particularly unique.
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    Picturing Island Bodies Under US Imperialism
    (2022) Robinson-Tillenburg, Gabrielle; McEwen, Abigail; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Since the end of World War II, the US has maintained the naval occupation of Okinawa,a small island off the coast of Japan. Across the globe in Puerto Rico the US operated what was at one point the largest naval station in the world during World War II and through the Cold War until ceasing operations in 2001. Islanders in Vieques, Puerto Rico face alarming cancer rates, speculated as due to pollution from offshore explosives. Women of Okinawa experience recurrent acts of sexual violence at the hands of US servicemen. In both archipelagos, public protests against US occupation have disputed land ownership and environmental damages. Taking a transnational approach to the survival of US imperial violence, this paper examines how contemporary video artists, Okinawan Chikako Yamashiro, Puerto Rico-based duo Allora & Calzadilla, and Puerto Rican Beatriz Santiago Muñoz picture island bodies both human and geographic. In Seaweed Woman (2008) by Yamashiro, Under Discussion (2005) by Allora & Calzadilla, and Post-Military Cinema (2014) by Santiago Muñoz, liminality, as a space between life and death—a condition particular to colonized bodies, is pictured as an aesthetic and durational refusal of death and destruction to the island body. The condition of liminality is portrayed through visual and sonic engagements of hyperrealism, that is the confusion between the artists’ reproduced images/sounds with the real experiences of island bodies. In Post-Military Cinema, liminality is used by the artist to produce a repossession of the island body, and in all artworks, to picture resistance. Broadly, this comparative study challenges notions of “American Art” and reflects on how US imperial ideology enacts violence, but via the creation of binary oppositions creates liminal spaces from which the island body resists and survives.
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    On the Threshold: Visualizing Ambiguity in the Art and Experience of Ancient Roman Doorways
    (2022) Chen, Amanda Kane; Gensheimer, Maryl B.; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Neither interior nor exterior, doors, thresholds, and passageways were regarded as powerful, yet ambiguous areas by the ancient Romans. Ancient myths and texts characterize thresholds as sites of magic and ritual and record that improper movements or interactions could enact misfortune or physical peril for those who transgressed the space. These concerns about the liminal nature of doorways are reflected in the art historical and archaeological records, where corridors are often decorated with charged images or inscriptions. This dissertation examines the wide variety of efficacious images that accompany domestic doorways in the cities of ancient south Italy (Campania) from the second century BCE through the first century CE. The project investigates the painting, mosaic, architectural features, and surrounding urban landscape of domestic doorways to understand how images were used to mark and mediate transitional spaces, and to reconstruct the ancient experience of moving through spatially ambiguous areas. In doing so, it offers new insights into the active nature of Roman images and the mechanism of this “superstitious” practice. The phenomenon of decorating spaces of passage with powerful imagery existed throughout the ancient Mediterranean and reveals not only Roman concerns with the uncertainties of liminal space, but also that images were considered an effective tool for mitigating the perceived vulnerabilities of thresholds. This dissertation demonstrates that homeowners in ancient Campania safeguarded their thresholds by embellishing their entrance corridors with images that themselves possessed ambiguous or transitional qualities and associations. By addressing spatial ambiguity with its visual and ideological counterparts, the Romans developed a visual language that they used to mediate transitional areas. The efficacious images also physically engaged viewers in these protective mechanisms through pointed visual details that encouraged reciprocal interactions and activated the images. This project draws on data collected from a survey of all domestic doorways in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. It combines wide-ranging philosophical, anthropological, art historical, and archaeological theories to assess the material, and offers a new methodology for understanding and evaluating spatial ambiguity. The conclusions, methodology, and datasets presented in this dissertation exhibit the importance of a comprehensive contextual approach to the art and archaeology of ancient Campania, while they also demonstrate the interconnected nature of art, space, and spiritual practice in ancient south Italy. The project thus carries important implications for studies of Roman art, archaeology, and space, but also for perceptions of and responses to ambiguity and uncertainty more broadly.
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    (2021) Abraham, Molly Rose; Gill, Meredith J; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The study of the medieval Hell Mouth, the visual expression of the entrance to Hell, has generally centered on identifying its origins. However, that the visual Hell Mouth finds immense variation in form and context seems to deny any unilateral interpretation of the device. Art historians and scholars of visual culture have not before singly focused on the terrifying and visually compelling portrayal of the Mouth of Hell. While it is a longstanding and powerful referent in western culture, whether in text or image, and from medieval times to the present, no one has carefully examined its visual variants and their inimitable meaning for both Christian viewers and patrons, and for those less familiar with Christian teachings and belief. These four case studies drawn from medieval manuscripts offer close examinations of how the formal qualities of each variation distill the meaning of the Hell Mouth into visually legible form.
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    Seeing The Divine Through Darkness: Illuminations of Christ Healing the Blind Man, C. 1200-1400
    (2021) Prescott, Hannah; Gill, Meredith J.; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the image of Christ healing the blind man began to appear alongside psalmic text in western European psalters and books of hours. In this thesis, I elucidate the devotional implications of the miracle of the blind man, foregrounding illuminated examples—located in the Rutland Psalter, Saint Elizabeth Psalter, Taymouth Hours, and Psalter-Hours of Yolande de Soissons—within the context of period discourse concerning the corporeal and spiritual nature of the eye. My discussion first considers how lay viewers perceived the miraculous restoration of sight as a reflection of the process of divine illumination and contemplative ascent. I then elaborate upon the relationship between blindness, the sacrament of Baptism, and medieval Passion Plays, demonstrating how the blind man’s place within the overall decorative program of each manuscript underlines the soteriological significance of this miracle and its role as a necessary precursor to the Resurrection.
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    Guido's Compendio: Disegno, Colore and the Idea of Summary Forms
    (2021) Cui, Yanzhang; Colantuono, Anthony; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis is about Guido Reni and his "Union of Disegno and Colore." It treats the painting as a visual summary of a complicated biography and a vast artistic consciousness. As the concept of compendio elucidates the synthetic nature of Reni’s allegory and his creative identity, I contextualize the word compendio in terms of style and the Idea in early modern Italian art. Finally, this project reviews how scholars have read Guido Reni’s paintings, and in doing so it expands the ways in which the artist and his oeuvre may be analyzed in relation to his sense of self and literacy.
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    (2021) Rasmussen, Claire; Saggese, Jordana; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis explores the ways in which the artists Yoko Ono and Takako Saito used intermedia art to communicate a vision of racial and gender equity. My study will draw from archival materials and personal correspondence, and will focus on three main works: Yoko Ono’s Morning Piece (1964/1965), Takako Saito’s Flux Chess series (c. 1965), and Yoko Ono’s White Chess Set (1966). I argue that Ono and Saito associate gender with ideologies of peace and care characterize the phenomenology of their performances, imbuing feminist ethics into the very structure of the performance itself. I argue that Ono and Saito reinterpret gendered power dynamics to create new forms of social relationship centered around feminist values.
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    Performing Race and Belonging in the Modern City: Richard Bruce Nugent, Yinka Shonibare, Hank Willis Thomas, and Les Sapeuses as Postcolonial Flâneurs
    (2021) Singer, Alison Elizabeth; Ater, Renee; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In Performing Race and Belonging in the Modern City: Richard Bruce Nugent, Yinka Shonibare, Hank Willis Thomas, and Les Sapeuses as Postcolonial Flâneurs, I examine four transnational case studies that each seeks to disrupt the power of colonialism through art and material culture by considering race and visual culture within the geopolitical boundaries imprinted on the spatial makeup of the modern city. The artists and subculture movement include Richard Bruce Nugent, Yinka Shonibare, Hank Willis Thomas, and Les Sapeuses of the Congo. I consider the ways in which they incorporate a concept that I term postcolonial flânerie, referencing the nineteenth-century Parisian concept, that calls attention to historical relationships of power enacted through intertwined ideas of gazing and surveillance in the contested space of the city. Each artist tethers the visual language and formal elements of their writing or artwork to the nineteenth-century colonial era and the European flâneur. Their work exists in and hovers between two temporal locations at once: then and now, here and there. They assert their right to space by metaphorically inserting themselves, through their writing or artwork, into the historical space of modernity – and the city – that previously excluded them. Through their varying acts of postcolonial flânerie, the artists and writers in this dissertation assert their belonging in the spaces of the city. As I show, they take up literal space in different ways, such as constructing large scale public artworks that feature black subjects; they traverse the invisible boundaries of segregated spaces in the city through the simple act of walking and being; and they take up historical space by inserting themselves into the modernist canon through their revisionist art or writing that looks back to nineteenth-century Europe in different ways. It is important that the subjects of this dissertation bind their work to nineteenth-century Europe. The modernist canon has long excluded people of color and failed to recognize the ways in which modernism and its developments are intertwined with both colonialism and the history of slavery. Each of the case studies that I examine reinterprets the historical flâneur vis-à-vis race and the idea of taking up space regarding the ongoing social and political regulation of public space and the city.
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    Bologna la dotta: The University and the Visual Arts in the Age of the Bentivoglio, 1463–1512
    (2021) Paganussi, Caroline Ellen; Gill, Meredith J.; Art History and Archaeology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines the role that Bologna’s university, the first inaugurated in western Europe, played in shaping the city’s visual culture at the turn of the sixteenth century. Originally founded to provide instruction in civil and canon law, by the late fifteenth century students came to Bologna to study disparate fields, including the studia humanitatis, medicine, the notarial arts, grammar, logic, astronomy, and theology, among others. Artists enjoyed ready access to Bologna’s large faculty and to the networks of courtiers, nobility, and antiquarians associated with the city’s intellectual elite, which was concentrated around the court of Giovanni II Bentivoglio (1443–1508). Through three case studies, this dissertation establishes how artists and professors collaborated to create a uniquely Bolognese visual vocabulary that celebrates the scholar as an heir to ancient knowledge, and as a nurturer of future generations.My analysis of works in various media produced by a generation of local, stylistically diverse artists, including Francesco Francia (1447–1517), Lorenzo Costa (1460–1535), Marcantonio Raimondi (c. 1470–c. 1534), and Amico Aspertini (c. 1474–1552), demonstrates the breadth and character of the university as a catalytic force of artistic creation. Weaving together iconographic interpretation with analyses of humanist literature, city chronicles, and scholarly treatises, this dissertation demonstrates how artists participated in university discourse and debate. Chapter One introduces the history of Bologna’s university, how it shaped and was shaped by local political and intellectual forces, and its position within the wider context of early modern Italian universities. Chapter Two explores how Bologna’s characteristic porticoes shaped civic engagement with the university and with painting. Chapter Three charts the history of scholars’ tombs as originators of the city’s most recognizable iconographic convention: images of seated professors lecturing to students. Chapter Four focuses on Amico Aspertini’s portrait of philosopher and physician, Alessandro Achillini (1463–1512), showing how the work engages both local iconographic traditions and wider contemporary debates in Italian portraiture. In this first integrated consideration of late Quattrocento Bolognese art history, I show how picture-making and university scholarship were deeply intertwined, forming an essential feature of artistic expression and life in Bentivoglio-era Bologna.