Liberal Arts through the AGES: Interdisciplinary Art Historical Inquiry




Liberal Arts through the AGES: Interdisciplinary Art Historical Inquiry

—Catherine Carter Goebel, Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts, Professor and Chair of Art History, Editor.
Welcome to Liberal Arts through the AGES as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of this unprecedented interdisciplinary project! This AGES publication is an integral dynamic of the general education experience as it offers immediate access to primary documents-original texts-dating from various periods, cultures and disciplines through the history of civilization. The texts that are included present a wide perspective on human thought and come from many different disciplines. Works of art-also original texts-offer an ideal historical and multidisciplinary lens through which we might examine the past as it relates to the various eras and themes under investigation. Diverse scholarly approaches are used to explicate artwork, including stylistic analysis, iconographic language, sociological and psychological interpretation, as well as scientific and technical consideration. Faculty and students can thus make rich connections through art historical comparisons. Exploring the past through such juxtapositions enables us to recognize significant links that deepen our understanding of the human condition.

Art historians increasingly account for the context in which works of art were created and the manner in which such accomplishments mirror their time periods. While we often think our view of the world is one that has always been common, the works of art in this web gallery and their related essays help us realize that our contemporary worldview has actually evolved over time. Reading words, some dating back to oral traditions, written by great thinkers of the past, enables us to better discern our present. It is also an integral step toward becoming fully educated in the liberal arts. By studying artwork from a given epoch, we can learn more about that time. Furthermore, as we trace the development of art along a timeline, we may note places where traditions and past styles have impacted the present as well as innovations that occur that are particular to a specific period.

This pedagogical collection has been carefully developed, in collaboration with faculty across the curriculum as well as generous donors and dealers noted in captions for works of art. It particularly highlights the Paul A. Anderson Art History Collection, through which the majority of these works have been purchased, lent or gifted, through many years of dedicated stewardship of this endowment. I am grateful to this visionary alumnus and all contributors, cited here and in the acknowledgments, to this collegial collaboration. The art collection ranges historically from ancient through contemporary periods, representing diverse cultures across six continents. This thereby establishes an important and evolving visual education resource. Faculty and students from academic programs across the curriculum, as well as administrators including the President and Provost, are published here alongside undergraduates and alumni from the classes of 1987-2018. All have benefited from the opportunity to study original works of art in person and through past AGES publications. And the benefit increases, as their writing further informs as others utilize this resource for their own research. This dynamic creates an ongoing dialogue with the work of art and with others who interpret it.

In order to navigate this web gallery and its related essays and bibliography, you may scroll across all works of art from left to right in chronological order. Click on the work you would like to further explore. The author for each essay is listed beneath its respective caption. By clicking on the work of art, you may then scroll downward to its related essay. In this manner, this interdisciplinary art history project becomes an increasingly accessible and organic resource that continually grows and adapts to parallel growth of the art collection and related contributors. This online version represents the culmination of five books published between 2004-14, launched as Origins of Modernity through four Liberal Arts through the AGES books. It also effectively integrates and models the College's nine learning outcomes and 2020 strategic plan goals. Explore and enjoy! Thank you.