Art and Society in Britain, Hogarth to Turner (1730–1851)

Teaching European Art in Context

About the Seminar

Materiality, KNowledge, and Art in the early modern globe, c. 1350–1650

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is pleased to announce the seminar, “Materiality, Knowledge, and Art in the Early Modern Globe, c. 1350-1650).” Intended for non-specialists in the subject, the seminar will be especially valuable for faculty members at institutions without large campus collections or proximity to major art museums. Full time faculty members from CIC member institutions who have occaision to incorporate art history into their teaching are eligible to participate.

This online seminar will explore works of art from the perspective of the ways they were made and the materials used, looking at both works produced in Europe and those produced in other parts of the world for European audiences. Participants will explore the significance of materials at this time, when for instance, wood was considered to be equivalent to a human body and bronze was compared to blood. Working with a range of materials in workshops, laboratories, and marketplaces, artisans developed knowledge and techniques that paved the way for deeper understanding and research through the years of the Scientifc Revolution. The seminar will consider how both the processes of making objects and beliefs about materials contributed to the meanings assigned to works of art by their makers and their audiences. The seminar will be led by Oberlin College's Christina Neilson, associate professor of Renaissance and Baroque art history and chair of the art history department, and Erik Inglis, professor of Medieval art history. It will draw upon the rich collections of Oberlin's Allen Memorial Art Museum.

The summer seminar will take place over three 90-minute virtual sessions June 22, 24, and 26, 2021. During the first two sessions, participants will discuss specialized scholarship in tandem with the virtual examination of related objects in the collection: a Madonna and Child relief in plaster by Andrea del Verrocchio; a portable altarpiece made from ebony, ebonized wood, harstones, and oil on copper, by Jacopo Ligozzi; an ivory Afro-Portuguese salt-cellar; and two Hispano-Philippine ivory reliefs. The third session will focus on related pedagogical issues, such as how to animate the classroom by addressing materiality and facture through historical "recipe" reconstructions, and how to find relevant works of art close at hand.
CIC's seminars on Teaching European Art in Context are made possible with the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Current Status

​​Full-time faculty members at CIC institutions from all disciplines are eligible to participate. Faculty members who wish to participate should ask the chief academic officer of their institution to submit a letter of nomination to CIC that emphasizes the nominee's teaching qualifications and the oppotrunities he or she will be given to use what has been learned in his or her teaching. For the 20 faculty members selected for the seminar there is no fee for participation. Please submit the nomination materials online by close of business Friday, April 23, 2021. CIC will announce the selected participants by Friday, May 14, 2021. 

The nomination packet should consist of the following: a) the completed online nomination form; b) Nomination letter from the chief academic officer; c) Nominee's curriculum vitae; and d) Nominee's statement of reasons for wishing to participate in the seminar and of anticipated outcomes (no more than one page).

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Current Status

​Up to 25 individuals will be selected by competitive nomination. Participants must be full-time faculty members who regularly teach art history and whose institutions are members of the Council of Independent Colleges.

Selection of participants will be announced by March 10, 2017.

​Art History Faculty Development Grants are available in amounts up to $2,000 for use during the first half of 2020. The grants, generously supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, are available to faculty members who participated in one of CIC’s art history seminars in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Grants may be used to advance or begin projects based on seminar participation such as:

  • Travel to present work at conferences or on another campus
  • Hosting experts or colleagues from your seminar participation to visit your own campus
  • Furthering research at museum collections and libraries
  • Collaborations beyond your own campus with other colleges and universities and/or museums, cultural institutions, and other nonprofit organizations
  • Taking small groups of students to museums with strong collections of pre-modern European art to foster direct engagement with art objects

Applications should be submitted electronically with supporting materials as a single packet by the application deadline, December 13, 2019.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Nomination Information

Up to 22 individuals will be selected by competitive nomination. Participants must be full-time faculty members who regularly teach art history and whose institutions are members of the Council of Independent Colleges. The nomination deadline is Friday, January 25, 2019.

Selection of participants will be announced Friday, March 8, 2019.

To submit a nomination online, please refer to the brochure and nomination form:

There is no seminar fee. Participants’ lodging, books, and most meals will be covered with support from CIC, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Participants or their institutions are expected to cover the cost of transportation to and from the seminar, although some funds are available to those who would otherwise be unable to participate. Please note that spouses and
friends are not permitted to stay in the provided housing or to attend the seminar.

Contact Information

​Questions about the seminar should be directed to Stephen Gibson, CIC director of programs, at or (202) 466-7230.