Freshman and Sophomore Seminar: Vermeer and Dutch Painting: The Mauritshuis Collection
This spring the Mauritshuis is sending to the De Young Museum in San Francisco some of the highlights of its collection, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and paintings by Rembrandt, Steen, Hals, Ruisdael, Ter Borch and De Hooch. Our seminar will focus on the art of Vermeer but will try to put his works in dialogue with the paintings of his contemporaries that we can see in person at the exhibition. We will think about concepts like humor, noise, resemblance, seduction, habitat, and objecthood in Dutch painting, comparing Vermeer’s treatment of these things to the way other painters handled them. In this class you will learn to think critically about works of art within a historical context, and to write about visual form, effect, and experience. The class will visit the De Young exhibition together with the professor at least once, early in the semester, so that we can talk about the materials and effects of the images as physical objects. Enrollment is limited to eighteen students. No previous art history is required, only enthusiasm and curiosity, but be prepared for a steep learning curve if you are new to this field.