Thoughts on Creating the Art History Library Guide

Author: Victoria Wilson

Art has always been a point of interest for me since I was young. My mother often took my siblings and me to the Rochester Museum and Art Gallery growing up and smiled at all my ugly paintings of unrealizable objects. Since I stepped out of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, I have been longing to go back. I never thought art would have any place in my college career outside of discussing it within the context of novels. However, I was able to take an art history class two years ago when I studied at the Rome Campus. 

All the words in the world will never be enough to explain my experiences traveling around Italy being taught High Renaissance Art by the renowned art historian Dr. Elizabeth Lev. My days in Italy were spent standing in the rain for a chance to see the David, getting elbowed by a tourist while listening to Dr. Lev give a lecture about the tomb of Raphael in the Pantheon and at point giving my presentation in front of Da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness. I pulled my first all-nighter in college writing an essay on the Sistine Chapel with shaking hands from too many espresso shots. Outside of class, I explored art on my own going to exhibits on Hokusai, Monet and Rome’s own National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. 

So what is the point in me discussing my study abroad trip that on some days I desperately wish to relive? In the last two weeks, I was researching resources for an Art History Library Guide. I began by going through Gumberg Library’s printed books on anything and everything dealing with Art History. While going through Duquesne’s resources, a few of the printed books’ location read ‘Gumberg Rome Campus (LIB USE ONLY)’. I came across many books in the catalog that I used for research while in Rome. I found one book that I took pictures of on my iPhone because I was not going to take a 600-page textbook with me to Florence on a train. Another textbook that I took to my bedroom for an essay on the General of Tivoli despite strict rules of not moving the textbooks outside the library. The catalog contained the two textbooks that more than half of my High Renaissance class shared for our Sistine Chapel essays. Now I look at those textbooks with fond memories but back then I never wanted to see it again since its words were practically tattooed to the inside of my eyelids. 

The Art History Library Guide is the guide I have been most interested in creating so far. It is no secret that art holds a soft spot in my heart. I think it is a shame that Art History can only be taken as a minor and not a major. However, I hope that when this guide is finished it can assist the studies of those who are minoring in the subject and help inform those with a casual interest. 

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