Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800

The objective of this assignment is to construct and complete a research paper on a specific work of art or design of your choosing that relates to the overarching theme of DISPLAY. You are to select an object in response to one of the questions below. You are to analyze and contextualize your object by researching its historical and art-historical context in relation to the theme of DISPLAY.

The finished paper will provide a rich, thoughtful discussion of your object in relation to its art historical period or culture.


Question 1. Display played a central role in most secular art. How would your object (or objects like it) have been originally experienced by the viewer? What role did its display play in creating meaning? Describe its current display. Why do you think the curators chose to display your object this way? What might they have been trying to accomplish by displaying it in this setting?

Question 2. Display played a central role in most religious art. How would your object (or objects like it) have been originally experienced by the viewer? Describe its current display. How is its current placement altered from its original display? Does it respect the original use of this object? Why or why not?

Question 3. What role does display play in creating meaning and/or mood? How would your original object have displayed? Describe how your object is currently being displayed. How does its current placement effect your understanding of the work? (i.e. do the other objects in the same gallery space effect your understanding of the object? Does it inform about the context in which it was created?) Why do you think the curators displayed it this way?

The artwork:


Born Naples, Italy, 1598

Died Rome, Italy, 1680

The Crucified Christ (Corpus), around 1650


Gift of the Murray From Family, 2006

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