Bryn Mawr Home Admissions Academics Campuslife News & Events Visit Find
Visual Culture Home
Bryn Mawr Home
Weekly Colloquia
Special Lectures & Events
Mission Statement
Faculty Profiles
Fellowships
Student Projects
Links & Resources
Journal of Visual Culture

Undergraduate Projects:

Laura Adams
Chloe Barnett
Bridget Costello
Elizabeth Damore
Hannah Flack
Molly Finnegan

Mariana Martin
Daria Ovide
Abigail Perkiss
Lauren Rosenblum
Debbie Wang
Maxim Weintraub
Petra Williams-Lescht

Graduate Projects:

Maya Balakirsky
Deborah Barkun
Andrea DeGiorgi
Zlatan Gruborovic
Elizabeth Martin
Michael J. McClure
Sara Morasch
Jeanne-Marie Musto
Kim Peters

Zlatan Gruborovic, History of Art Undergrad

What is now the town of Lincoln in Lincolnshire, England was settled more than two thousand years ago and, in the first century C.E., it became the capital of the Roman province that covered eastern England.   Flourishing during the medieval period as an inland port and a center of wool production, the town was visited by pilgrims and became home to several communities of friars.   They were drawn to the region by its cathedral, the third largest in England, consecrated in 1092 and reconstructed one hundred years later in the Gothic style.   Today, its looming towers still command the view above a medieval town center making Lincoln a valuable destination for an aspiring art historian particularly interested in the later Middle Ages.   During the summer of 2005, I spent eight weeks working in the Lincoln Cathedral Library, which gave me the rare opportunity to live in this region of extraordinary history while assisting with a project that would itself expand my knowledge of medieval culture and art.     

The libraries of the Lincoln Cathedral contain manuscripts that date as far back as one thousand years.   The Medieval Library was built in the 1420's and is now used for regular exhibitions of books and manuscripts.   The Wren Library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1675, houses an important collection of early printed books.   My project was to create a computer database classifying the woodcuts from the library's holdings of incunabula and early printed books .   It is estimated that around five hundred of the books printed before 1535 contain woodcuts.   I compared these images with those catalogued in Edward Hodnett's English Woodcuts, 1480 to 1535 .   This involved digital photography of the woodcuts and the creation of subject fields to enable cross-referencing.

The librarians arranged a visit to the Cathedral Works Department where we were shown around the stonemason's workshop and were allowed to see pieces of the Dean's Eye rose window on the light box.   I attended cathedral concerts, Shakespeare plays, and a study day in the Wren Library.   On the weekends, I traveled to London, York, Nottingham, and Haworth (the home of the lovely Brontë sisters).   I took a trip to Cambridge with the library staff and visited King's College Chapel and the Wren Library at Trinity College.

My summer work inspired my choice of thesis topic - I am now writing on a subject involving fifteenth and sixteenth century woodcut images.   But, what I learned from my internship that was most lasting came from my experience of the cathedral itself.   I remember seeing Lincoln's towering West Front for the first time, not over the rooftops of the town but as a image projected in a darkened Bryn Mawr classroom. Until I spent a summer in Lincoln, I had not truly realized that its Gothic monument was in fact still the center of so many lives.   In the morning, choir men walked their dogs around the circling drive and stonemasons walked the roof.   Organ music often drifted into the cloister where students from the Minster School took their lunches. Many of my co-workers, as children, had played rowdy games dangerously close to the chapter house windows. In the short time I'd spent working in the cathedral library, I grew to love this town in eastern England and was fortunate to be among those people whose faith and care had sustained this place for more than a thousand years.  


Owing to the summer research grant I was awarded by the History of Art Department, I will visit Budapest over the summer in order to see two paintings by Agnolo Bronzino: Adoration of the Shepherds and Venus, Cupid and Jealousy, both in the Szepmuveszeti Muzeum.

Bronzino’s Adoration of the Shepherds (1535-1540) is considered by many art historians to be the turning point in Bronzino's oeuvre, and this issue I briefly addressed in my MA thesis. Also, it is usually said that The Adoration marks the point of Bronzino’s departure from his master’s (Pontormo’s) style. In Sydney Freedberg’s terms, for example, the shift in Bronzino’s style occurred in 1540. The Adoration of the Shepherds marked this change; Freedberg described The Adoration as "at once descriptively more normative – more like average expectation – and more classicist than anything within Bronzino’s earlier, Pontoromoesque mode."

The issue of stylistic change in Bronzino’s opus is important both for the art historians who follow Walter Friedlaender’s and for those who follow Craig Smyth’s model of stylistic evaluation of Mannerism. The former art historians saw the Budapest Adoration as a painting in which Bronzino lost touch with his master’s expressive energy and turned to a more restrained style, a style more suitable for the Medici Court and the Florentine Academy. The latter art historians highly praised The Adoration, because it was, in their account, the first painting in Bronzino’s opus in which his style had become classicised, and thus closer to a High Maniera work of art.

Bronzino’s allegorical painting Venus, Cupid and Jealousy, on the other hand, is rarely discussed and in my terms may be important for re-evaluating Bronzino's later stage of stylistic development.