Guest Welcome: Adrian Randolph

Art History Professor Adrian Randolph checks in with three quick posts about art history at Dartmouth.

Renaissance Society of America

A couple of weeks ago I was in Washington DC to give a paper at the Renaissance Society of America’s annual conference. I was speaking about centaurs in Renaissance art (I’m a professor of Art History), specifically in Botticelli’s painting of a “Woman with a Centaur” (see picture). In the audience was Diana Bullen Presciuti ’98, one of my first students at Dartmouth. She has gone on to get her PhD from Michigan is now teaching at the College of Wooster. In any event, I spoke about the centaur in the painting, focusing on some recent thinking about ‘posthumanism’ and animal studies. Why is it we are fascinated by human-animal hybrids? Why were fifteenth-century Italians fascinated by such creatures? I started thinking about these issues a few years back, and Maria Fillas ’11 (who is now working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) helped me as a Presidential Scholar—this is a program that allows students to partner with a professor around a shared area of research for a term or two. Scholars can get paid or, under certain circumstances, get course credit. It’s a great opportunity.

The Hood Museum of Art
Draped figure of Dionysos, late 2nd–3rd century CE, marble. Yale University Art Gallery: Gift of the Olsen Foundation; 1956.8.1.

The Hood Museum of Art is a wonderful place. Right now, I’m writing up a short text about a small ancient Roman marble sculpture of Dionysos, on loan from Yale. It will be on display at an exhibition taking place this spring showcasing teaching with objects. The website linked to the exhibition has pictures of the objects that will be on display, as well as videos, where you’ll get to hear some Dartmouth students talk about a rather intriguing Greek vase). In the fall, the museum will be staging a major exhibition of works by indigenous artists of Australia; the Hood received a gift recently that makes it one of the major repositories of Australian “Aboriginal” painting.

Black Family Visual Arts Center

Next year will be the Year of the Arts at Dartmouth. The idea is to showcase some of the arts. It came about because we are opening the new Black Family Visual Arts Center, a sharp new building designed by Machado and Silvetti, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. There will be lots going on: visitors, performances, lectures and student activities. If you are interested in the arts, you’re going to love Dartmouth.

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