Katy Smith Abbott

Associate Professor of the History of Art and Architecture

 Spring Term 2019-Monday and Thursday 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m, and by appointment
 Mahaney Center for the Arts 213

Katherine Smith Abbott has been teaching in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College since 1996.   Her research focuses on the production and reception of devotional painting in early fifteenth-century Florence.

Professor Smith Abbott received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she wrote her dissertation on Titian and the development of portrait painting in Venice.  She recently served as Guest Curator for the exhibition, The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy, on view at the Middlebury College Museum of Art in Fall, 2009, and at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in Spring, 2010.  Professor Smith Abbott organized and contributed extensively to the exhibition catalogue for the Art of Devotion.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1543 - Leonardo da Vinci      

Leonardo da Vinci: The Original Renaissance Man?
Famed for paintings such as The Last Supper and Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci was a dedicated observer and a prolific journal writer. His notebooks reflect an insatiable appetite for learning, and a mind equally engaged by engineering and sculpture, hydraulics and oil paint, religious faith and human nature. By reading Leonardo’s writing and by examining his commissions—both complete and unfinished—we will explore how this single artist came to define our understanding of a “Renaissance man.” More recent scholarship will spark robust discussions of how best to understand the “afterlife” of an artist and his work and whether the moniker of Renaissance man is, in fact, apt. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2019

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HARC 0201 - Italian Renaissance      

Italian Renaissance Art: 1350-1550
This course will focus on the art produced in Italy during the late fourteenth through the early sixteenth centuries. In addition to studying the chronological development of painting, sculpture, and architecture, we will consider such issues as artistic training, patronage, domestic life, and the literary achievements of this period of "rebirth." Focusing on urban environments such as Florence, Siena, Padua, Venice, Rome, and Urbino, we will give special attention to the manner in which artistic production was shaped by place. 3 hrs. lect. ART EUR HIS

Fall 2016, Spring 2019

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HARC 0209 - Venice in the Renaissance      

Venice in Renaissance
Venetian art was long shaped by its unique setting, distinctive political structure, and a collective identity enforced by its patrician leaders. In this course, we will engage in a close consideration of the socio-political conditions that both reinforced tradition and ultimately made way for a "golden age" in Venetian painting, sculpture, and architecture. Topics will include individual artists, such as Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and Palladio, as well as artistic training and workshop practice, patronage, and the rise of Venetian humanism. 3 hrs. lect. ART EUR HIS

Fall 2017, Fall 2019

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HARC 0356 - Awe      

What is the place of awe in contemporary experience? In our fractious and turbo-charged world, what are the objects and experiences that still have the power to bring us up short, leaving us slack-jawed and spellbound? This seminar will engage these questions in preparation for a cross-disciplinary exhibit at the Middlebury College Museum of Art scheduled for 2020. Grounding our conversation in early literary and artistic explorations of the sublime, we will also consider awe through the lenses of religion, scientific discovery, creativity, and the natural world. Definitions of awe almost invariably include references to fear, dread, even terror, so readings and class discussions will move well beyond the celebratory and reverential. There are no prerequisites for this course, and students from a wide range of majors and fields of interest are encouraged to enroll. Projects and written assignments will allow students to make direct contributions to the exhibition. 3 hrs. sem. ART

Spring 2019

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HARC 0711 - SNR Thesis: Research/Writing      

Senior Thesis: Research and Writing
This course is a continuation of HARC 0710 which consists of ongoing, supervised independent research, plus organizing, writing and presenting a senior thesis. (HARC 0301 and HARC 0710). WTR

Winter 2016

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Department of History of Art & Architecture

Eliza Garrison, Chair
Michaela Davico, Department Coordinator

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753