FrSem 31M - In Pursuit of the Ordinary: Genre Painting in Boston Area Collections





Joseph Koerner

Monday, 12:00pm - 2:45pm

This seminar looks at portrayals of everyday life in art, mostly from Europe and America, and mostly in the medium of painting. Examining original art objects in different Boston-area collections, we investigate this type of imagery as it develops into a distinct tradition. We observe its beginnings in medieval marginalia.  We trace its evolution into a specialty product from the Renaissance and through its heyday in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when it came to be called “genre painting.”  And we consider its rejection by and strange survivals in modern art.  Studying individual artworks closely, we also explore the character and missions of the public collections that house them.

The seminar will conduct its meetings on site at various local museums, including the Harvard Art Museums, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the ICA, and Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.

Course open to Freshman Students Only.