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  • Fifteen Views of Manet's "Bar"

    We are pleased to offer a Reading and Composition course this summer about  Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882), taught by an alumnus of our PhD program, Jordan Rose.  Read more here.
     

  • Digital Humanities for Art Historians: HA 190DH this Summer Session

    We are excited to offer a new course this summer, a "Digital Humanities Bootcamp" designed to introduce students to methods of digital imaging and computational visualization in the context of art historical investigation.  We will be exploring in a hands-on way different types of media that can be deployed to analyze visual historical phenomena.  Topics will include digital photography, modeling/rendering, and network visualization.  For more information, please contact the instructor, Justin Underhill.

  • New Book by Todd Olson

    Todd Olson's eagerly-anticipated book, Caravaggio's Pitiful Relics, has been released!

    From the Yale University Press website:

    The renowned Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) established his career in Catholic Rome, making paintings that placed particular importance on sacred relics and the glorification of martyred saints. Beginning with his early works, Caravaggio was intensely engaged with the physical world. He not only interrogated appearances but also experimented with the paint’s material nature. Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics explores how the artist’s commitment to materiality served and ultimately challenged the Counter Reformation church’s interests. In his first ecclesiastical commission, Caravaggio offered an unconventional representation of martyrdom that collapsed the borders between art, contemporary religious persecution, iconoclasm, and relics in early Christian catacombs. Yet his art controversially and eventually led to a criminal trial. After he had fled from Rome in disgrace, his major altarpiece depicting the death of the Virgin Mary, portraying her mortality rather than her sanctity, was removed. Caravaggio’s materiality came into conflict with changing notions of the sacred; thereafter, the sacred object became a secular work of art, marking the displacement of the relic.
  • Professor Emeritus James Cahill, 1926-2014

    The Department of History of Art is very sad to report that Professor Emeritus James Cahill, one of the world’s foremost scholars of Chinese painting, died on February 14, 2014, at his home in Berkeley. He was 87. Professor Cahill was a distinguished member of the History of Art faculty at Berkeley for thirty years until his retirement in 1995. He published more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles on Chinese and Japanese art, literally transforming the field. He built an important collection of Chinese and Japanese painting, much of which he gave to the Berkeley Art Museum, and he fostered a generation of students who went on to become teachers and curators around the world. He received multiple accolades from the College Art Association and was awarded the Freer Medal in 2012 for a lifetime of service to the History of Art. James Cahill was a brilliant and eloquent scholar who remained intellectually engaged to the end. He was a man of rare wit and poetry, an immensely generous mentor and colleague—truly one of the immortals.  Obituaries have been published by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and a brief tribute can be found at the Asia Society website as well.

    For more on James Cahill’s life and work and to access his series of videotaped lectures on Chinese painting, please go to jamescahill.info.


     

  • Whitney Davis Speaks at Townsend Center "Book Chat" series

    Townsend Center "Book Chat" series : A General Theory of Visual Culture

     

    Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
    Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

    Professor of History of Art Whitney Davis’ teaching and research interests include prehistoric and archaic arts; worldwide rock art; neoclassicism in Western art since the later Middle Ages; the development of professional art; art theory in visual-cultural studies; modern art history; the history and theory of sexuality; queer theory; world art studies; and environmental, evolutionary, and cognitive approaches to the global history of visual culture. His latest publication, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton University Press, 2011) examines the question: What is cultural about vision—or visual about culture?

    Expansive in scope, this book draws on art history, aesthetics, the psychology of perception, the philosophy of reference, and vision science, as well as visual-cultural studies in history, sociology, and anthropology. It provides new definitions of form, style, and iconography, and draws important and sometimes surprising conclusions (for example, that vision does not always attain to visual culture, and that visual culture is not always wholly visible). Davis uses examples from a variety of cultural traditions, from prehistory to the twentieth century, to support a theory designed to apply to all human traditions of making artifacts and pictures—that is, to visual culture as a worldwide phenomenon.

    After an introduction by Alan Tansman (Director, Townsend Center), Professor Davis will speak briefly about his work, read a short excerpt, and then open the floor for discussion.

  • Faculty Member Julia Bryan-Wilson Co-Convenes "Visual Activism" Symposium

    Visual Activism Symposium

    Julia Bryan-Wilson co-convenes the "Visual Activism" Symposium presented by the International Association for Visual Culture and SFMOMA series of events.

    Friday, March 14, 2014
    9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

    Saturday, March 15, 2014
    9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

    Location:
    Brava Theater Center

    2781 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110

  • Peter Selz Receives 2014 University of Chicago Alumni Award

     Professor Emeritus Peter Selz received the 2014 University of Chicago Professional Achievement Award. Created in 1967, the Professional Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement in any professional field. The award honors those alumni whose achievements in their vocational fields have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University, and real benefit to their communities.

  • Collecting South Asia, Archiving South Asia

    On February 18, 2014, the UC Berkeley Center for South Asia Studies is presenting a conference spearheaded by History of Art faculty member Sugata Ray on Collecting South Asia, Archiving South Asia at the BAM Theater. Sponsors of the event are the CSAS, the Arts Research Center, the Asian Art Museum, and our department.

  • Faculty Member Beate Fricke Participates in Google Art Talk: The Monuments Men

    Google Art Talk: The Monuments Men

    History of Art Department faculty member Beate Fricke participated in a Google Art Talk  on the true stories of the Monuments Men hosted by the Legion of Honor and the Google Art Project. The Google Art Talk is in celebration of the Sony Pictures release The Monuments Men. The film, directed by George Clooney,  is about an elite group of men and women—museum directors, art historians, conservators, educators, and others— who volunteered during World War II to help save Europe’s cultural heritage from Nazi looting and destruction.

    The talk was broadcast on February 7th, and can now be viewed online on the Google hangout site.

     

  • Book With History of Art Faculty Contribution Honored

    The volume Past Presented: Archaeological Illustration and the Ancient Americas, to which our faculty member Lisa Trever contributed an essay on late eighteenth-century tomb illustrations, is being awarded the Association for Latin American Art's annual book award on February 12, 2014, at the College Art Association meeting in ChicagoThis award, supported by the Arvey Foundation, is for the best scholarly book published on the art of Latin America from the Pre-Columbian era to the present.