Faculty and graduate activities: Nancy Um and Lauren Cesiro

In its June 2017 issue, The Art Bulletin is publishing reviews of six online collection catalogs issued by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Seattle Art Museum; the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Tate, United Kingdom; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. This is the first time the quarterly journal has devoted its reviews section to digital scholarship.

Stephen H. Whiteman’s review of the Seattle Art Museum’s Chinese Painting & Calligraphy catalog is available now in an enhanced digital version, published on the Scalar platform and developed in collaboration with Nancy Um and Lauren Cesiro. The open-access project is at http://scalar.usc.edu/works/samosci/index.

Graduate Activities: Melissa Fitzmaurice at the Society of Architectural Historians

Doctoral candidate Melissa Fitzmaurice presented a paper last Friday, June 9, as part of the panel Rethinking Medieval Rome: Architecture and Urbanism at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Glasgow, Scotland. Melissa was awarded the Gill Family Foundation Graduate Student Annual Conference Fellowship to support her travel to Glasgow.

Fascist Medievalism: Architecture, Authority, and Dissent in Rome

The demolitions involved in the excavation of the Mausoleum of Augustus and the creation of a surrounding piazza began on October 22, 1934, and eventually led to the destruction of 27,000 square meters within the city of Rome.[i]What was selected to remain is as important as what was destroyed: Mussolini routinely called for the isolation of ancient monuments, but in the case of the Mausoleum, there were buildings that stood in the way of the ideal isolation. Three medieval churches were protected and worked into the various plans for the piazzale over 30 years. Despite this and other cases, in the study of Italian Fascism and the regime’s urban and architectural interventions in Rome, the medieval city is often overlooked- the antique world looms much larger.  But the medieval offered a certain ideological utility to the regime as well, which must be examined.  Using digital mapping and modeling tools, and case studies including the preservation of medieval buildings during the production of the Piazzale Augusto Imperatore and the destruction of churches during the excavation of the Via dell’Impero, this project constitutes a palimpsestuous exploration of the legacy of medieval Rome. Beyond recognizing the use, manipulation, or destruction of medieval sites, this paper seeks to highlight the enduring power of medieval architecture on the Roman landscape, identifying the possibility or actuality of production of political and ecclesiastical authority, and dissent from that authority, in order to produce a deeper understanding of the continuities and ruptures between the medieval city, the fascist city, and the present. 

Graduate Activities: Nicole Wagner at the Getty

Doctoral candidate Nicole Wagner has been selected to participate in the Mellon Summer Institute in Italian Paleography, held from July 10-28 at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles:

This three-week residential course offers an intensive introduction to reading and transcription of handwritten Italian vernacular texts from the late medieval though the early modern periods. The course is taught in Italian.

While the emphasis is on building paleographical skills, the course also offers an overview of materials and techniques, and considers the history of scripts within the larger historical, literary, intellectual, and social contexts of Italy. Participants practice on a wide range of documents including literary, personal, legal, notarial, official, and ecclesiastical works. The course provides insight into the systems of Italian archives and allows participants to work with inventories, letters, diaries, and other primary source materials from the Getty Research Institute and other collections in the area.

Graduate Activities: Wylie Schwartz at the Warburg-Haus

Members of Drakabygget creating a Co-ritus work of art. Jens Jørgen Thorsen and Olav Herman Hansen at Bergens Kunstforening, 1966. From the photo archive of Elsebet Rahl.

Doctoral candidate Wylie Schwartz has been invited to present a paper, titled “Pedagogy, Ritual, Resistance: Collective Transgression in the Aesthetic Practices of The Bauhaus Situationist Drakabygget” at the conference Forming Collectives: Strategies in Modern and Contemporary Art organized by the Warburg-Haus in Hamburg, Germany. The conference will be held from October 9-13, 2017.

Binghamton@DH@GUELPH

Binghamton University, and particularly the Department of Art History, was amply represented by faculty, staff, current graduate students, and alumni at the 2017 Digital Humanities Summer Workshops at the University of Guelph. Participants included (from left to right) Julia Glauberman (Reference/Instructional Librarian), Eve Snyder (PhD candidate, History), Tracy Stuber (BA, Art History, 2011), Jeannine Keefer (PhD, Art History, 2013), Marcia Focht (Curator, Visual Resources), Nancy Um (Associate Professor, Art History), Lauren Cesiro (PhD program, Art History), and Mariah Postlewait (PhD program, Art History). They took courses such as “Get Down with your Data,” “Introduction to Digital Humanities Pedagogy,” “Spatial Humanities,” “Omeka Workshop,” “Making Manuscripts Digital,” and “Online Public Intellectual Work through Social Media.” More at #dhatguelph2017

Graduate Activities: Nicole Wagner at Harvard

Anonymous, Il gioco dei tarocchi, fresco, originally in the Castello di Masnago, Varese (currently in private collection in Rome), 1430-1450.

From April 7-8, doctoral candidate Nicole Wagner participated in the Brown-Harvard Graduate Chiasmi Conference in Italian Studies, “E(x)pressing Play,” where she presented her paper, “Disrupting Social Practice and Spatial Order: Women Gambling in Early Modern Italy.”

Abstract: In 1493 Beatrice d’Este Sforza traveled from Milan to Venice on the bucintoro  (barge) gifted to her by her parents, on official business for her husband, Ludovico “Il Moro” Sforza (Duke of Milan, 1494-99). In letters to Ludovico, Beatrice reported that while on board she triumphed against her mother, the Duchess of Ferrara Eleonora of Aragon, and her sister-in-law, Anna Sforza, winning a large sum of money in the card game buttino. Other letters disclose that over the course of one year Beatrice won 3,000 gold ducats while playing scartino, another game of wager involving a deck of cards, and that Beatrice’s sister, Isabella d’Este Gonzaga (Marquess of Mantua, 1490-1539), also gambled in a variety of times and spaces, often to great profit. This paper looks at the conjunction of a novel form of material culture (the paper card deck) and the practice of gambling on boats (the preferred means of transport for elites in northern Italian courts connected by waterways) – mobile spaces that became ambiguous with respect to “place” when in transit and thus elusive with regard to the reach of sovereignty and surveillance. Boats were far from the exclusive site of female gambling in early modern Italy, but distinguishing them was their “placelessness,” which made them ideal as (provisional) heterotopias where women, I argue, rehearsed a new kind of social and economic independence as actors in material, spatial, and temporal fields long overlooked by scholars.

The paper will begin with the introduction of the card deck into late medieval and early modern Italy, where women’s card play originated as a “virtuous” leisure-time activity recommended and supervised by men in the regulated spaces of the palace or protected haven of enclosed gardens. Working with largely unpublished primary sources it will then turn to the bucintori and the unsupervised practice of women “working the table” in their sumptuously appointed interiors.

Graduate Activities: Nicole Wagner at Yale

Anonymous, d’Este tarocchi deck (The Magician), hand painted with gold and silver, 5 ½ x 3 ¼ in., Ferrara, 15th century. Cary Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Congratulations to doctoral candidate Nicole Wagner, who has been awarded the Renaissance Society of America-Kress Beinecke Library Fellowship for 2017 for research on her dissertation, “Women Working the Table: The Material Culture, Gendered Spaces, and Visual Representations of Early Modern Female Card Players.”  She will visit Yale in September of this year.  Nicole has also recently received the Rosa Colecchio Travel Award, the IASH Graduate Fellowship, and the Foundation Travel Grant, all through Binghamton University.