On Friday, April 19, Calvin art history students, Dania Grevengoed and Paula Manni, will present their research at Frederik Meijer Gardens along with other art history students in the Grand Rapids area. The event will take place between 9:00AM and 2:30PM with a provided lunch.
Trajectory toward the Sublime: Infatuation with Vesuvius during the Grand Tour
The topic of this paper is set in the context of the Grand Tour, the expected cultural and artistic education, as well as fashionable compulsion, for young European gentlemen. The active volcano of Vesuvius as an attraction and source of inspiration became a popular culmination for the tour of Italy. Over time Vesuvius was also perceived as an emblem of the sublime. The rise in volcanic activity during the 18th century made Vesuvius and Naples an obligatory final tribute to the beauty and terror of the natural world for tourists, as the main body of the tour was often dedicated to humanist attractions. The paper discusses the presence of diplomat William Hamilton in Naples along with various poets, writers, and artists who dedicated the majority of their work to the mount. These creative individuals also contributed to the fervor surrounding Vesuvius. The volcano thrust the classically obsessed into the landscape of Pliny as Vesuvius grumbled and spurted up inspiration. As witnesses to the active sublimity of the landmark gentleman tourists began to recognize Vesuvius as the ideal site of interaction between humanity and nature. Thus, in order to fully engage the sublime, a culture surrounding Vesuvius grew in response to tourists’ demand for a personal connection with the volcano. I will investigate Vesuvius as a representation of the sublime, and as a fashionable reflection of the self, for 18th century travellers on the Grand Tour.
Prints by Contemporary Sculptors from the Grand Rapids Art Museum Collection
This paper examines the role of late 20th century sculptors as printmakers, tracing the art historical development from abstract expressionism to postmodern and contemporary themes, explored through the work of artists including Calder, LeWitt, Christo, and Rauschenberg. The elements of space, process, and object-hood are addressed, as well as the similarities between the practices of sculpture and printmaking, and the motivations of sculptors to produce prints.These artists did not merely use printmaking to augment or aide in the design of their sculptures, but used printmaking as an important art form in its own right. With the understanding that the artists’ sculpture and prints inform each other, we gain a more complete view of contemporary art world concerns. This paper is based on a December 2012 exhibition curated by the author, featuring works from the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s print collection.