MA in Art History Candidates Present Master's Theses

On December 15 and 16, 2023, fifteen candidates for John Cabot University’s Master of Arts in Art History presented their MA theses to the JCU community and guests. During this annual event, students in the final phase of the MA program deliver their thesis research in the form of twenty-minute illustrated conference papers, prepared over the course of a semester in the MA Thesis Colloquium and in close consultation with their thesis advisors. 

Says MA Director Professor Lila Yawn, “Our MA candidates outdid themselves this year with papers that would make a dignified showing at any scholarly conference in the world, many of them based on primary research of a sort one normally doesn’t do until the advanced phases of a PhD. These papers are a rite of passage for the students, a demonstration of their ability to conduct and present art-historical research at a professional level and to add something genuinely new to the field. My colleagues on the MA faculty and I are very pleased with the results. They bode well for these promising graduate students, whether they intend to pursue PhDs or go directly into the work world.”

MA in Art History Thesis Presentations
MA candidate Mamie Murphy

This year, the fifteen presentations were wonderfully varied, with topics ranging from ancient Roman villa decoration to eighteenth-century miniature painting to the use of Fascist architectural motifs in the branding of contemporary luxury goods. The event was attended by JCU professors and students, as well as friends and family members of the speakers, some of whom flew in from as far away as California. The presentations culminated in a festive toast and dinner for the speakers and attendees.

MA in Art History Thesis Presentations
MA in Art History candidates

Sessions and Topics

Session 1: Agency in Ancient Decoration and Ornamentation
Mamie Murphy – Roles of Reflection: Materiality and Viewer Participation in Ancient Roman Wall Ornamentation
Ilinca Tulpan – The Painted Paradise Garden of the House of Venus in the Shell

Session 2: Spatial Transformations and Readaptations in Italian Architecture
Kiana Camino – Fascism into Fashion: The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and Its Contemporary Reception
Kansie Disney – Caldarium Turned Triclinium? Rethinking the Bath Complex of Villa A at Oplontis
Myca Treat – Performing with Water: Voyage of the Viewer in Roman Water Gardens

Session 3: Modern Artists and Their Worlds
Anaiis Avanesian – A Larger Look at a Miniature Painter: Exploring the Career of Maria Felice Tibaldi
Mimi Carstens – Painter and Partisan: Renato Guttuso and the Politics of the Avant-Garde in 1940s Italy

Session 4: Interrogating Art-Historical Narratives
Antonio Cazzato – Conservator Urbis Suae: Purple Porphyry and Imperial Authority
Elena Schembri – Mario Mafai’s Demolizioni: On Fascist Cultural Politics and Anti-Fascist Art History

Session 5: Sacred Images in Context
Austin Gaebe – Fire, oil, and milk on the façade of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Chase Palliser – Lilies in Bloom: An Investigation into the Iconography of Lilies in Aegean Wall Painting

Session 6: Perceiving Antiquity
Renita Terabramians –  Villa of Livia: Dynamic Enhancement Through Mosaic Floors
Leah Barreras – When Canvases Converse: The Dialectical Nature of an Eighteenth-Century Pendant Attributed to Charles-Louis Clérisseau

Session 7: Painting and Drawing as Erotic Gestures
Samantha Tracey – Allegory of Desire: Reconsidering Pompeo Batoni’s Portrait of Girolama Santacroce Conti
Chiara Veccia – From Michelangelo to Tommaso de Cavalieri: Drawings as Gifts and Reflections of Love