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Graduate Research

M.A. candidates are supported through departmental and university funding to complete independent research, conduct intensive language study, or present and refine their research papers.




Andy Nicole Bowers traveled to Florence and Rome to conduct research for her paper on Caravaggio's ​Head of Medusa​. Because this paper is concerned with the overt paintedness of Medusa's blood, it was especially important for Bowers to examine the work in person: standing before the ​Medusa​, she was able to assess aspects of Caravaggio's handling of paint not visible in reproduction. Additionally, she examined several other works closely related to her research, including Cellini's​ Perseus and Medusa as well as Caravaggio's​ Judith and Holofernes and​ David and Goliath​. Ultimately, her trip not only enriched the perspective she brings to her research but also provided a useful introduction to the inner workings of the Uffizi and Borghese Galleries, where she had the privilege of spending time in the archives.


Kayla Peterson spent five weeks during the summer working on an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Pompeii through the Casa della Regina Carolina project. She will begin working with Dr. Eric Poehler on his recently funded project, Pompeian Artistic Landscape Project (PALP). Kayla hopes to examine and develop a deeper understanding into the rationale behind Pompeian wall art in the public sphere and will investigate how the people of Pompeii represented themselves through art publicly displayed on homes and commercial structures.


​Siyu Shen spent June through August at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) on the Tsinghua University campus, an intensive language program largely geared towards graduate students. A major benefit of being able to take part in a program in Beijing was its many major historical sites and museums. In the M.A. program, she has studied art that emerged from trade and diplomatic relations between Europe and East Asia in the early modern period and was excited to be able to visit the collaborative exhibition between the Palace Museum and Vatican to explore works not usually on view.


John White traveled to Munich, Germany in July to present a paper at a conference held at LMU's Institute of Art History. John’s paper was a re-worked version of a final paper for Professor Ho's graduate seminar on import/export material culture of early modern East Asia. The conference, which included many German presenters, gave him not only an opportunity to receive feedback on the paper but also to practice his German comprehension.




Keely Sarr conducted research for her forthcoming paper, "The 'Fairy Ethnology' of Joseph Noel Paton," in Edinburgh, where she examined archival material from the National Archives of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery to investigate the ways in which Victorian fairy painting responds to trends in nineteenth-century ethnology. Her study of Joseph Noel Paton's preparatory sketches and correspondence revealed new insight about the artist's engagement with both the world of "fairy science" and the visual language of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.


Celia Rodríguez Tejuca presented her paper entitled "The Valley of the Fallen: Pilgrimage as an Art of Memory" at the UCLA Art History Graduate Symposium "Alterations" in October 2018. She was a 2019 Decorative Arts Summer Research Grant recipient, allowing her to travel to Puebla to complete her research on a pair of 18th-century desks and bookcases, comparing one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to the other at Museum José Luis Bello y González in Puebla.




Christine Beck spent three weeks in Lima, during which she met with Dr. Jose de la Puente-Burke, professor of Viceregal Peruvian social history, and photographed the Torre Tagle Palace, a structure with the oldest nad most well-preserved wooden balconies. This research trip built upon her research interests beginning during her undergraduate career, when she had traced a certain wooden balcony type from North Africa, to Spain, to the Canary Islands, and finally, to Lima, Peru, from where they returned to Spain as representative of Peruvian culture in the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.


Akram Kabiri traveled to Glasgow in June to present her paper “Tehran University: Beaux- Arts and the European Tradition in Iran” at the Graduate Student Lightning Talks at the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference Her paper examines the founding of Tehran University in 1934, under the direction of Reza Shah Pahlavi who established the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1925, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Margaret Vickery.


Maggie Squires took the opportunity to examine the Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute: The Story of Lady Wenji at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a Ming dynasty handscroll that is a copy of an earlier Song dynasty work preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In her upcoming research, Maggie will carefully examine the steppe nomadic details in both sets of paintings and the scholarship surrounding them will reveal contradictions and shed light on the possible origins and relationship to the material record.


Elizabeth Upenieks co-curated the exhibition "5 Takes on African Art | 42 Flags by Fred Wilson" as a Curatorial Fellow at the University Museum Contemproary Gallery (UMCA). The year of meetings, research, and planning that went into this exhibition provided her with the unique opportunity to acquire valuable curatorial skills and to explore deeply the complexities of working with African objects from the Derby Collection.


Rachel Young presented material from her “publishable paper,” entitled “The Painting as Object, the Object as Sign: Performative Mediation in Botticelli’s Bardi Altarpiece,” at the Graduate Conference for Interdisciplinary Renaissance studies in October 2016. The publishable paper is the art history department’s version of a master’s thesis, and was the result of a year long project under the direction of Professor Monika Schmitter. During the course of research, she traveled to Berlin to study the Bardi in-person at the Gemäldegalerie.