History of Art and Architecture

Detroit and Cleveland Field Trip

This fall 2013 semester HAA Professors Shirin Fozi and Jennifer Josten took their classes to both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts to view relevant works of art first hand. This trip was especially relevant for Professor Josten’s Art in Modern Latin America course and her graduate seminar on Mexican Muralism, as the Detroit Institute of Art is home to original Diego Rivera murals. The trip was also an ideal opportunity for Professor Fozi's students in HAA 1010: The Medieval Treasury to visit the Cleveland Museum, which has one of the richest collections of medieval treasury art anywhere in the United States, second only to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The outstanding medieval collections at both museums were also an excellent resource for students in HAA 0050, Intro to Medieval, who saw works of art from the full range of the Middle Ages, including significant works ranging from the time of Constantine and Justinian all the way to the age of Martin Luther.

Nicole Scalissi, a History of Art and Architecture PhD candidate writes, “To see a real Rivera mural in person while taking the Mexican Muralism seminar really solidified what we had been discussing in class. Photographic reproductions of murals at this large scale are at best incomplete, and at worst, so confusing that they misrepresent the image entirely. Without being in the space of the murals, I don't think I would ever truly get the sense of size of Rivera's work, how the entire program of this mural operates, the quality of brushstroke, and how the work is situated within the larger context of the DIA. None of those things -- at least, not all at once -- can be communicated through text or reproduction: the work needs to be understood in the three-dimensional world of the moving spectator."

"Outside of the Rivera murals and my immediate concerns regarding Mexican Muralism, the field trip gave me the opportunity to hear Professor Fozi hold a discussion about Byzantine (a personal favorite) and Medieval objects, which I would otherwise not get to be a part of. In both undergrad and grad programs your coursework is limited, despite the wide range of requirements. And, even if you can fit a diverse amount of topics into your coursework, you rarely (if ever) get to see a specialist speaking about the works right in front of them. Having Dr. Fozi point to the "folds" of Mary's robe in a digital photograph is one thing; getting to stand in front of the sculpture with her and understand the details of the carving in three-dimensions is something entirely different."

To see more photographs of the trip, visit the field trip Tumblr page.