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SSA could not be possible without the generous support of Drs. Herbert A. and Betty Lou Lubs and the Science, Society, and the Arts Research Conference Endowment. We are deeply grateful!
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Friday, March 17 • 10:30am - 11:45am
Historical Art and Faith in Europe and America — Ruscio CGL 214

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Horatio Greenough's Washington: Exploring Jacksonian Era American Artistic Taste (Paper)
Dylan Stroud
The year 1832 saw a pivotal moment in the history American sculpture when the American government awarded Horatio Greenough (1805- 1852) the first federal commission ever given to an American sculptor. Working out of a small, abandoned church in the hills just outside Florence, Italy, Greenough completed his magnum opus in 1840. As a federal commission, this statue was to be an integral piece in the patriotic decoration of Washington D.C., the fast-growing American capital city, where it was to sit beneath the Capitol's rotunda. The American public rejected the sculpture and unceasingly disparaged its classical representation of Washington at the time of its unveil beneath within the Capitol and throughout the years that followed. Greenough’s public sculpture was openly considered a failure. This paper will explore Jacksonian America and the social developments that influenced a new American artistic taste that prevails until this day through analyzing Greenough's work.

Economic Modernization and Artistic Expression in the Dutch Golden Age (Paper)
Bailey Brilley
From the early 17th-century to its end, the Netherlands saw a period of industrialization and economic development unrivaled by its peer states of Western Europe. As it industrialized and expanded, the nation experienced an equally-unrivaled artistic revolution—economists and art historians alike refer to the period as the nation’s Golden Age. My paper draws a causative link between Holland’s correlated economic growth and artistic proliferation, explaining Golden Age painters’ divergent style as a sociocultural extension of economic modernization. It delineates the influence of the nation's macroeconomic development on (1) the Dutch painting market and (2) the period's distinct style.

Portrait of a Landscape: Changing Depictions of Early Modern Florence in Literature and Art (Paper)
Sonia Brozak
The Florentine urban landscape has long captured the imaginations of artists, writers, painters and sculptors. The home of the birth of the Early Modern, Florence and its skyline have acted as symbols for the birth in early modern thinking. As such, depictions of the Florentine urban landscape within literature and the visual arts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries divulge a shift in approach by artists and in understanding by the viewer to cityscapes as narrative devices. These shifts entail a change from linear depictions of space into complex narratives of mapping. In my research, I trace these shifts through some of the great literary works of the Renaissance such as Dante's Inferno and Boccacio's Decmeron. Looking that arc, I examine the way the visual arts follow this trend using frescoed depictions of the cityscape.

Political Liberty in Medieval Christian Thought (Paper)
Ian Huyett
Written for Timothy Lubin’s Law and Religion seminar, my paper surveys Christian jurisprudence and political philosophy from the late classical period to the 13th century. I studied – among other texts – the Digest of Justinian, the Policraticus of John of Salisbury, the Decretum of Gratian, and De Regimine Principum by Thomas Aquinas and Ptolemy of Lucca. My paper argues that, contrary to some modern characterizations of Christianity, medieval Christian thinkers did not understand their faith to be isolated from law and politics. Specifically, I argue that Christianity often functioned to circumscribe rather than undergird the state’s power. I focus on two principal ways in which it did so: first, by affirming a robust conception of political liberty which included the freedom to sin, and second, by providing that an oppressive government – in the words of the German monk Manegold – “releases the people from their duty of obedience.”

The Evolution of Special Effects (Paper)
Maggie Waxter
The rapid growth in the Italian Renaissance influenced many changes in the theater industry. More specifically the use of special effects, like 3D scenery and machines helped enhance the story unfolding on the stage. After these new developments breached the Italian stage the ideas were so exciting that they spread across the world. The new aspects helped add depth and make the setting and objects seem that much more real. Two men and one family in particular led the charge to design features that could draw the audience in. Sebastiano Serlio, Giacomo Torelli, and members of the Bibiena families were the first to start using three-dimension designs and machines to enhance theater special effects. Serlio’s work in three-dimensional art, Torrelli’s mechanized pole and chariot system, and the theatrical structures constructed by the Bibenas revolutionized the reality of special effects, and improved the model for theater structures worldwide.


Friday March 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am
Ruscio CGL 214