Katy Smith Abbott

Associate Professor of the History of Art and Architecture

 
 work802.443.5382
 Fall Term 2021-Tuesday and Thursday 1:00 p.m.-2:45 p.m., and by appointment
 Mahaney Arts Center 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.

 

Courses

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 0100 - Intro to Global Visual Culture      

An Introduction to Global Visual Culture
This course is an introduction to the visual cultures of the world, with an emphasis on how images, objects, and monuments are made, experienced, exchanged, and used by groups of people with diverse religious, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds. We will focus on themes that have been taken up by different cultures and adapted over time, such as monumentality, the sacred, embodiment, science, and technology. Through a close study of these themes, we will consider how materials, cultures, and histories are transformed and negotiated through making and viewing works of art. In the process, we will challenge the art historical canon by shedding light on marginalized periods, regions, and artworks. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. ART CMP

Fall 2021

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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

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

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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 2019, Spring 2021

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HARC 0356 - Awe      

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 in 2024. 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. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* ART

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

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HARC 0358 - Toward a Global Survey      

Toward a Global Survey: Reassessing the Art Historical Canon
In this course we will interrogate the decades-old approach to teaching the survey of Western Art History, and by extension the deeply ingrained understanding of the art historical canon. We will analyze survey texts and syllabi that have long guided these courses, and we will consider the decision on the part of institutions like Yale University to abandon this course for a more global and inclusive approach. What would a global survey look like at Middlebury, and what are the works of art every current student of the discipline should know? (HARC 100 or 102) 3 hrs. lect/dsc ART EUR HIS

Fall 2020

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HARC 0359 - Artemisia Gentileschi      

Artemisia Gentileschi
Who was Artemisia Gentileschi, and why do her personal history and her art continue to provoke such a wide range of scholarly and artistic responses? In this course we will investigate the culture of early seventeenth-century Rome, as well as the artistic training that shaped Artemisia’s style and approach. At the same time, we will vigorously examine the ways in which gender and sexuality conditioned the reception—and distortion—of Artemisia from the start. A consideration of recent scholarship, literature, film, and painting will invite us to critically examine the construction of this singular artist’s identity. 3 hrs. sem. ART EUR

Spring 2020

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HARC 0363 - Leonardo da Vinci      

Leonardo da Vinci and the Invention of Artistic Genius
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, human nature and faith. By reading Leonardo’s writing and by examining his commissions, we will explore how this single artist came to define our understanding of artistic genius. More recent scholarship will spark robust discussions of how to best understand the “afterlife” of an artist and his work. 3 hrs sem. ART EUR HIS

Spring 2021

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HARC 0710 - Senior Thesis Research Seminar      

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
In this course students will conceive, undertake research, and plan the organization of their senior thesis in art history or senior museum studies projects. Seminar discussions and workshops will focus on research strategies, conventions in art historical writing, project design, and public presentation skills. (HARC 0301; Approval Required) 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2021

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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 2020, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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HARC 0761 - Senior Thesis: Museum Studies      

Senior Thesis: Museum Studies
This course is a continuation of HARC 0710, which consists of ongoing, supervised independent work with an advisor, plus organizing, writing, and presenting a curatorial or museum-based thesis or exhibition. (Approval Required)

Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Department of History of Art & Architecture

Edward Vazquez, Chair


Michaela Davico, Department Coordinator

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