Meredith College Professor of Art History Beth Mulvaney is one of a select group of faculty members nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in a special week-long seminar on Teaching Pre-Modern European Art in Context.
The seminar on “The Uses of Antiquity” is for full-time faculty members who regularly teach art history at smaller colleges and universities. Mulvaney is one of three North Carolina faculty members to be selected for the program.
A specialist in Italian late Medieval and early Renaissance art, Mulvaney is fond of nearly all periods of art, including modern and contemporary. She has participated as a fellow in two NEH seminars, both of which have resulted in two rich avenues of research. The study of Franciscan art and architecture, particularly that at San Francesco in Assisi, has occupied her for several years and resulted in numerous conference presentations, several essays in books, and her work as an editor of one published volume of essays focused on St. Francis of Assisi and a second one that is in process.
The seminar will be hosted by the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, Illinois, July 13–18, 2014. The goal of the seminar is to strengthen the teaching of art history to undergraduates at smaller colleges and universities. CIC selected 21 faculty members to participate in the seminar. Rebecca Zorach, professor of art history at the University of Chicago, will lead the program, which is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
The seminar will take as its starting point European objects spanning the years 1300–1800 at the Smart Museum. Participants also will have the opportunity to examine prints and rare printed books in the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center, principally the large collection of the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae and related prints after Roman monuments and antiquities, considering the role of prints, books, and other small objects in disseminating and popularizing classical styles and imagery.
Participants will visit local sites such as the university’s Oriental Institute, campus and neighborhood murals, and the nearby Museum of Science and Industry to consider how participants can use their own local resources creatively to discuss with students ways in which artists, architects, patrons, and others have understood and reinterpreted the past. Pedagogical discussions will address close looking, the relationship of texts to objects, and ways faculty members can help students think critically about the texture of history and the practices and decisions of artists.