Thea Goldring wins Bowdoin Prize

February 3, 2022
Thea Goldring Profile Picture

Congratulations to Thea Goldring for winning the Bowdoin Prize for Graduate Essays in the English Language with her essay entitled “Through Aquatinted Glasses: The Global Context of Jean-Baptiste Le Prince’s Invention of Aquatint.” The Bowdoin Prizes, some of Harvard’s oldest and most prestigious student awards, are designed to recognize essays of originality and high literary merit, written in a way that engages both specialists and non-specialists.

Synopsis: “The eighteenth-century French artist Jean-Baptiste Le Prince is best-known for two aspects of his career hitherto considered separately: his travels in and depictions of the Russian Empire, and his role perfecting the print technique aquatint in the eighteenth century. Uniting these histories, this essay explores how aquatint’s genesis relates to cross-cultural exchanges of China and France, between which Russia was positioned geographically and ethnically. It considers how Le Prince’s aquatints evoke formal qualities associated with Chinese art and project these visual allusions onto the nomadic and non-nomadic peoples of Siberia and the Eurasian steppe to construct a Russian exoticism. “