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    Vassar College
  Nov 24, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ART 318 - Object of Devotion, Object of Display: Exhibiting Sacred Art in Secular Space

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)

In 2017 the Loeb Art Center acquired a rare Christian liturgical object, a thirteenth century enamel and gilt dove, one of only a few dozen such objects in existence. It was designed to contain something far more precious than the scintillating French reliquaries from Limoges that it resembles: the Eucharistic wafer, God himself. Students participate directly in the creation of an exhibition opening in May 2018 that has as its goal to introduce this little known object to the world.

In anticipation of the exhibition, we survey the world of art collection, from the curiosity cabinets of the Renaissance to the contemporary museum. As we explore philosophies of both private and institutional collecting (including that of the college and university art museum) the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center serves as our primary point of reference for a range of topics, such as the museum’s role in art historical scholarship and public education, its acquisition procedures, the promises and perils of representations, particularly digital, of artworks, and the challenges to the security, quality or integrity of its collections posed by theft, by the traffic in fakes and forgeries, or the movement to repatriate antiquities to their country of origin. Assignments include readings and group discussions, individual research projects, and field trips to local museums (including those in New York City) to study various approaches to museum architecture and installation.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 , 106  and permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period and periodic field trips to regional museums on Fridays.

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