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Great Literary Characters Throw Down in Library March Madness

BRACKETOLOGY-LOGOHarry Potter cramming on Gandalf the Grey. James Bond posting up Lady Macbeth. It’s March already, and that means Falvey Memorial Library’s bracketed literary smack-down is underway.

Following 2013’s highly competitive tournament in which #1 seed William Shakespeare obliterated a fierce field of authors, past and present, we at the Library have decided to shake things up and make this year’s battle about the creations rather than the creators. That’s right: 2014 is all about character. With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of 64 of the greatest literary characters and pitted them against each other in our seeded bracket with the goal of finding Villanova’s favorite. Not since the confusing and angst-ridden world of fan fiction have literary universes collided with such force, with such enthusiasm, and with so few spelling errors. What a time to be alive.

Will Wilbur get ahead of Oedipus?

Will Wilbur get ahead of Oedipus?

Like last year, the winners of each matchup will be chosen purely by the fans. That means if you want to see Wilbur the Pig take down Oedipus, then you’ll have to vote. There are two ways to vote this year: on our giant print bracket at the library’s front desk or online via our submission form. As an added bonus, each submitter is eligible to win a prize at the end of the tournament, so vote early and often. Check this site for future analysis and predictions, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook (#novabookbracket) for up to the minute updates and results. Best of luck to your favorite, and may the best character win.

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POSTPONED: Open Workshop & Discussion with Villanova Irish Dance Team

Today’s Open Workshop & Discussion with the Villanova Irish Dance Team has been postponed until a later date. Please watch our event listings for the rescheduled time and place.


Villanova’s Irish Studies Program & Falvey Memorial Library Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Kick off Weeklong Nova Feis


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Villanova’s Irish Studies Program and Falvey Memorial Library have joined forces to offer a weeklong series of events to celebrate Irish culture. The series, playfully dubbed Nova Feis, will offer a great variety of programming ranging from film viewings and talks to Gaelic football and dance. All events are free and open to faculty, staff, students and the community.

So what exactly is a feis? According to the Nassau County Ancient Order of Hibernians, “feis” (pronounced “fesh”) “is an Irish word meaning ‘festival’ and has come to describe a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival.” It also explains that “Today the Feis has experienced something of a rebirth, both for ethnic Gaels and for enthusiasts of the Gaelic culture in Ireland and Scotland, as well as throughout the world. Typically they are community-based festivals seeking to promote and maintain Gaelic Culture, tradition, and pride.” This is a tradition that Joseph Lennon, PhD, associate professor and director of Irish Studies, hopes to continue at Villanova.

Joseph Lennon, PhD and Ciarán Ó Braonáin

Joseph Lennon, PhD, and Ciarán Ó Braonáin

One of the main organizers of the Nova Feis 2014 series of events is Ciarán Ó Braonáin, a Fulbright FLTA and a visiting instructor who is teaching the Irish language here at Villanova for one year. In a recent interview about the series, he said, “I am very excited about this year’s Nova Feis festival. I think it is hugely important that Villanova recognizes and celebrates its Irish roots and fosters the significant bonds that the University and its students continue to hold with Ireland. Through both student- and faculty-run events, we have done exceptionally well this year in this regard.

“To cast a quick glance over some of the highlights of the year so far: we were visited by renowned novelist Colum McCann, conducted a fascinating fall series of events in partnership with Villanova’s Africana Studies [Program], held our annual James Joyce birthday celebration despite threatening weather, witnessed Irish Studies attain ‘minor’ status as a degree component and, most impressive of all, we cheered as the Villanova Irish Dance team organized and hosted the first ever intercollegiate Irish Dance competition.

“I myself am really looking forward to Nova Feis as I feel it has something to offer everyone, from film and sports, music and dance to literature and much more. I see Nova Feis as being the icing on the cake of what has already been a wonderful year for the ‘Nova Irish community.”

This is the second Nova Feis that has been held in Falvey Memorial Library. The first Nova Feis celebration took place in March 2012 when both Irish Studies and Falvey started their collaboration with a wonderful celebration of Irish culture featuring music, dancing and poetry readings at a single event.

This year, we continue this wonderful tradition, so remember to join the craic! Come to our events from March 17-21! See the full line-up of events here.

Article by Regina Duffy, writer for the Communication and Service Promotion team and library events and program coordinator for the Scholarly Outreach team.


What’s Happening with David and Goliath (“The Triumph of David” attributed to Pietro da Cortona)?

Kristin deGhetaldi, conservator, University of Delaware, and her interns, Maggie Bearden and Ellen Nigro, have been diligently cleaning “The Triumph of David” located in the Falvey Hall Reading Room.

Cleaning is performed inch by inch: moistening a small cotton swab in solvent, using the swab to clean a small area and then discarding that swab for a fresh one. “What size area do you clean?” I ask Bearden, one of the interns. She explains that it varies according to how much varnish or overpaint is present. She shows me a pure cotton swab she had been using; it is filled with a brownish-black substance – discolored varnish. Once the swab is filled with varnish or overpaint, it is replaced by a fresh one. The lower half of the huge painting has been cleaned, and deGhetaldi and Bearden and Nigro are now cleaning the top half, working from a scaffold.

Painting---marksWhat is newly visible? When I examine the painting today, I first notice a number of brilliant white areas—our eyes are drawn to white. I see some places where the bare canvas is visible, some bright colors that had been obscured by the dark varnish and, for me an art historian, an exciting discovery: some visible paint strokes. The brilliant white areas, I learn, are fill added by the conservators in places where the original paint is missing. Later in the conservation process they will inpaint those areas, using materials that are archively safe and easily removed if needed.

BlueLarge expanses of bright pink and lapis lazuli blue, previously hidden under the discolored varnish, are now visible. The presence of the large amount of lapis lazuli – on a blue dress on the right side of the painting – tells us something about the patron (the person who originally commissioned the painting). Lapis lazuli is a gemstone that is finely ground to make artists’ pigments.

When “The Triumph of David” was painted, the only source for lapis lazuli was a mine in Afghanistan. Because this stone was so expensive, the patron could specify how much money the artist would be allowed to spend on this color in a painting.

Painting---brush-strokesAlso visible in two areas are brush strokes known as impasto. The Renaissance concept of a painting was that it was a window on the world; to create this illusion, the means of creation had to be concealed. Beginning in the Baroque (later 16th and 17th centuries) some artists used touches of impasto in their painting, and this practice expanded; in Impressionism entire paintings are filled with impasto. The two areas of impasto in the David and Goliath painting fascinate me because here are the visible brushstrokes of the master himself (or perhaps a trusted apprentice).

In discussing this painting I use the word attributed with the artist’s name, Pietro da Cortona. Why? No documentary evidence exists to connect the painting to the artist – no contract, no signature on the painting, nothing. According to George T. Radan, PhD, (Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide, with the Rev. Richard G. Cannuli, OSA) the University accepted the donor’s attribution. What her evidence was is unknown to this writer.

Pietro da Cortona (1597-1669) (born Pietro Berretini in Cortona, Italy) is a major Baroque painter and architect who appears in numerous art history textbooks. Unfortunately, I have found no monographs in English and my Italian is limited, so information about him must be drawn from textbooks, art encyclopedias and art dictionaries. He is widely acknowledged as one of the three most important Italian Baroque architects, and he is also considered a major Baroque painter. Cortona (named for his home town) worked for many wealthy, influential patrons. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover who commissioned “The Triumph of David” and to document that it is indeed the work of Pietro da Cortona?

If you have time, please visit the project and talk to the conservators. DeGhetaldi, Bearden and Nigro will readily answer questions about their work. They usually work Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays If you cannot visit in person, this live feed shows them at work.

Article written by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.

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C. Nataraj, PhD, on the Intersection of Medicine and Robotics

natarajThis Monday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., award winning lecturer C. Nataraj, PhD, Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Moritz, Sr., Endowed Chair Professor in Engineered Systems at Villanova University, will deliver a Scholarship@Villanova lecture. Dr. Nataraj’s expertise ranges from machinery to medicine to robotics, and his lecture is entitled “Dynamic Systems: The Science of Machinery, Robots, Medical Diagnostics, and Autonomy.” The lecture will be held in room 204 of the Falvey Memorial Library Learning Commons, and in the tradition of past Scholarship@Villanova events, will be free and open to the public.

To help us learn more about this fascinating scholar and his areas of interest, we’ve invited Alfred Fry, Science/Engineering Liaison Librarian, to compile a list of Dig Deeper resources.

Dig Deeper

The topic of Dr. Nataraj’s lecture is very broad with applications in diverse areas such as engineering, science, economics, biology, and others. Dr. Nataraj will also discuss some interesting results from his research wanderings which will focus on the areas of machinery, robotics and medicine. In addition, the talk will highlight applications without getting into the mathematical intricacies in order to make it comprehensible to a broad audience.

Here is one example of a CENDAC (Center for Non-linear Dynamics and Control) project:

More videos and links:

Overview of The Center for Non-linear Dynamics and Control (CENDAC)

Villanova University CENDAC student profile

Villanova University CENDAC faculty profile

Additional Villanova University CENDAC projects

Villanova University Engineering CENDAC YouTube Channel

Falvey Memorial Library Engineering Subject Guide


Article by Corey A. Arnold, graduate assistant for Communication and Service Promotion.

UnknownLinks prepared by Alfred Fry, Science & Engineering Librarian

Our Dig Deeper series features links to Falvey Memorial Library resources curated and provided by a librarian specializing in the subject, to allow you to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of seasonal occasions and events held here at the Library. Don’t hesitate to ‘ask us!’ if you’d like to take the excavation even further. And visit our Events listings for more exciting upcoming speakers, lectures and workshops! 




VuClass II Workshops: “Introduction to Genealogy” and “Knitting 101”

Falvey Memorial Library will be offering two free workshops on Friday, March 7 as part of the VuClass series of events!VUCLASS-LOGO-2

Ruth Martin, PhD, Heritage Report, will be leading an “Introduction to Genealogy” workshop in the Griffin Room on the first floor from 9:00-11:30 a.m. Later that day, Annie Brogan, MLIS, college librarian, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, will be teaching a “Knitting 101″ workshop from 2:00-4:30 p.m. in the Speakers’ Corner on the first floor. Both classes are free to attend; however, the instructor of the knitting class, Annie Brogan, urges attendees to bring supplies to her class in the afternoon and recommends worsted weight wool or wool blend yarn and size 7 or 8 needles. (Please note: if you don’t have these items on-hand, beginner packages that attendees may keep will be available for $4.00).

Dave Uspal, senior web specialist for library services and scholarly applications, spearheaded the planning of the workshops. As Falvey prepares to sponsor this second set of workshops in the VuClass series, Uspal says, “VuClass is our experimental program where we offer classes and lectures to the library community free of charge. With an eye on open libraries and open access, the purpose of the experiment is to see if we’re able to offer interesting and quality lectures and classes to the public without a paywall or barrier between knowledge and accessibility. The program intentionally has a wide variety of subjects as we try to cover the knowledge and talent of the community and offer a spectrum of interesting subjects.” All are welcome to register for the VuClass II workshops!

Regina Duffy, library events and program coordinator for the scholarly outreach team, recently interviewed both VuClass II workshop leaders, Ruth Martin and Annie Brogan.

Interview with Ruth Martin

Ruth MartinRD-Could we have a little bit of background information about you?

RM-I have a BA in History and a PhD in Sociology. I taught college for many years and then left to start a business, Heritage Reports, researching and writing full-length, illustrated family histories for my clients. I’m also an intern this semester with the Villanova Digital Library.

RD-Can you tell us what first got you interested in the study Genealogy?

RM -Like most, I first became interested through exploring my own family’s history. For years, we had many unanswered questions about our family history. Over the last ten years, the availability of digitized material online has allowed us to answer many of those questions, and raised new ones—hence, my interest in Villanova’s Digital Library project.

RD-What do you hope for attendees to learn at the Genealogy workshop?

RM -I would like them to leave with an understanding of the logic of genealogical research and also with a good understanding of how to conduct that research online and how to locate the additional resources they will need as their research progresses. Attendees will have the opportunity during the workshop to apply these tools to their own family trees.

RD-Do you think that there are any helpful (and free) tools that could aid to those beginning to study their family lineage?

RM -Quite a few, some of which we will address in the workshop. FamilySearch.org is an excellent resource with many freely accessible digitized documents (although some search results will lead to for-pay sites). The library edition of Ancestry.com is available for use without a fee in many libraries (including Villanova’s). HeritageQuest.com is available for use at many public libraries (and users with a public library card can sometimes access it from home). Local historical societies and vital records offices are also important sources of genealogical data and users can usually gain access for free or for a nominal fee.

RD-What are your other areas of interest besides Genealogy?

RM-We recently moved into a new home, so unpacking is my other main interest at the moment.  I also enjoy running and inline skating (in the alternate universe where it is warm and there is no snow).

Interview with Annie Brogan

Annie Brogan-1RD- Could we have a little bit of background information about you?

AB- I’m a librarian of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

RD- Can you tell us what got you interested in knitting?

AB- I’m not terribly crafty, despite wanting to be crafty. I’ve tried many things, and this was the one that happened to stick, mostly because I was pretty good at it right away. Ha!

RD-How did you learn to knit? Was it easy for you to master the art of knitting?

 AB-I learned to knit at my local yarn store, Loop, which is the greatest. I took to it relatively easily, but I would not say I’m a master, although I do love to knit complicated lace patterns.

RD-What do you hope for attendees to learn at the knitting workshop?

AB- This is truly a beginners’ workshop. I want attendees to feel confident with the basics—casting on, knitting, and purling—and leave with the ability to make themselves a scarf, or at least a potholder!

RD-Do you think that there are any good tutorials out there that could help beginner knitters?

AB-There are so many great tutorials to choose from on You Tube. The one resource I go back to again and again, though, is knittinghelp.com, which has videos for English and continental knitters. I’m a continental knitter, which I think is much easier.

RD-What are your other areas of interest besides knitting?

AB-I am a certified yoga instructor and teach a weekly vinyasa class as well as practice yoga as much as possible. I read constantly, which I suppose is no surprise, being a librarian. I also have a rescue mutt named Scarlet who I like to show off as much as possible.


Please join Ruth and Annie this Friday for our VuClass II workshops! Registration is capped at 30 for the genealogy session and 20 for the knitting session, so register now at http://vustuff.org/vustuff/vuclass2!


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Extra! Extra! Newspapers in Special Collections

Extra“Extra! Extra! Newspapers in Special Collections” features various newspapers housed in Falvey’s Special Collections. The exhibit was curated by Laura Bang, digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant; Laura Hutelmyer, electronic resources and special acquisitions coordinator; and Jean Lutes, PhD, associate professor, Department of English, and director of academics, gender and women’s studies. Joanne Quinn, Falvey’s graphic designer, created the graphics for the exhibit.

“Extra! Extra! …” begins in the vertical case which houses a placard with information about newspapers, concluding with “This exhibit provides a glimpse of some of the varied types of newspapers that can be found in Falvey’s Special Collections.” Also on display in this case are 12 mastheads reproduced from newspapers; “The Lepracaun,” “Public Ledger,” “Chicago Ledger,” “The New World” and “New York Ledger” are among those shown. On the bottom shelf are a large scrapbook from c.1880s containing clippings related to the Catholic Church and a bound volume of the “Boston Cultivator” from March 1848 from which articles have been cut, probably for inclusion in someone’s scrapbook. The curator’s placard says, “Scrapbooks provided a format for readers to collect and organize a rapidly growing selection of reading materials.”

Five additional cases feature newspapers grouped by categories: “Early Papers,” “Illustrations,” “Social Justice,” “Family Papers” and “Publications for Young Readers,” all accompanied by informative placards.

“Early Papers” features works published in Philadelphia: “The Saturday Evening Post,” May 30, 1829 (here aDolls newspaper, but later a magazine); “Public Ledger,” March 25, 1836; “Saturday Night,” Nov. 16, 1889; and a bound volume of “Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine” opened to the July 1856 issue. The curator’s placard tells us that between 1836 and 1880 Philadelphia had 12 daily papers, many more than we have today.

“Illustrations” exhibits a “Public Ledger Color Supplement” cover from June 8, 1919; a “Dear Little French Orphan …” paper doll with several outfits; an image of “Picturesque Philadelphia: Old South Street Market;” an open volume of a New York “Illustrated News” from 1853 and placards explaining how illustrations were created in a time before it was possible to insert photographs in newspapers and magazines.

The “Social Justice” case offers four issues of this newspaper published from 1936 until 1942 by Father Charles Edward Coughlin, a member of the Basilian Fathers. Father Coughlin used “Social Justice” to promote his ideology and as a supplement to his radio broadcasts. Articles such as “Ladies and Gentlemen Meet Satan,” “The Roosevelt Cleaner,” “The Smut Vendor” and “Who Is Next on Relief?” give the reader a sense of Father Coughlin’s interests.

RS7611_Harper's“Harper’s Bazar: A Repository of Fashion, Pleasure, and Instruction,” “People’s Home Journal,” “Collier’s Weekly: An Illustrated Journal of Art, Literature and Current Events” and “Comfort” are displayed as “Family Papers.” These newspapers reflect the interests of American families in the years 1870 through 1919 (the years on display). Look carefully at them; the illustrations provide information about fashion and farm life, one shows a mounted policeman coming to the aid of a woman on a runaway horse, and, particularly appropriate for our winter weather, another displays couple riding a toboggan.

The final group of newspapers on display is “Publications for Young Readers:” “Golden Days for Boys and Girls,” Feb. 4, 1882, and “Happy Days: A Paper for Young and Old,” Feb. 2, 1907, and Nov. 6, 1915, issues. The front pages of these papers show large illustrations related to the stories included.

The exhibit will remain on display through May.

Article by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.


The Violent and the Fallen: a Reading from James Matthew Wilson

WILSON-BOOKThis Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 2:30 p.m. Falvey Memorial Library will be hosting a poetry reading and Scholarship@Villanova lecture featuring James Matthew Wilson, PhD, an assistant professor of literature in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions. Dr. Wilson will be reading poems from The Violent and the Fallen, his forthcoming chapbook soon to be published through Finishing Line Press. The Violent and the Fallen delves deep into the lives of poetic speakers across the open expanses of Midwestern America and features an array of characters as seemingly disparate as bankers, lifeguards and alcoholic balloon vendors, each in search of redemption in the face of violence and desire. The reading will be held in room 205 and begins at 2:30 pm.

Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre, has compiled the following Dig Deeper links for this exciting event, including several poems written by Dr. Wilson:

Dig Deeper:

Dr. Wilson has made available several of his papers and articles through academia.com

He is a regular contributor to Front Porch Republic

His poem Living Together, from the journal Per Contra

Another poem, entitled A Note for Ecclesiastes

Many of Dr. Wilson’s articles are available through Falvey Memorial Library databases

Article by Corey Waite Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Service Promotion team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

Sarah WingoLinks prepared by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.

Our Dig Deeper series features links to Falvey Memorial Library resources curated and provided by a librarian specializing in the subject, to allow you to enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of seasonal occasions and events held here at the Library. Don’t hesitate to ‘ask us!’ if you’d like to take the excavation even further. And visit our Events listings for more exciting upcoming speakers, lectures and workshops! 




Falvey Celebrates Black History Month 2014


Please join us in Falvey Memorial Library this week as we observe Black History Month. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner, Thomas Mogan, PhD, director, Office of Student Development and adjunct professor in the Department of History will present a talk titled “The Black Oral History Project: Confronting Our Past to Inform Our Future.”

Dr. Mogan will discuss the research efforts that led to the creation of Black Villanova: An Oral History, one of Falvey Memorial Library’s online exhibits, which examines the history of the African American student experience at Villanova University throughout the years spanning from approximately 1950-1985.

Alice Bampton, senior writer and visuals specialist, Communication and Service Promotion team, recently interviewed Dr. Mogan about the project:

AB: How did you get interested in the Black Villanova Oral History Project?

TM: I have always had a keen interest in the history of the civil rights movement, and this led me to pursue graduate work in history. I was conducting research for a seminar paper on the integration of African American athletes at Villanova, and I met with Dr. Ed Collymore, former executive director of Multicultural Affairs at Villanova and a former student-athlete. He shared with me some fascinating stories about what it was like to be an African American student-athlete at Villanova during the 1950s, and that set me on my journey to learn more. I knew that he was part of a much larger story that needed to be told.

Tom Mogan, PhD

Tom Mogan, PhD

AB: Who decided to involve the Falvey Digital Library?

TM: As part of my training to be a historian, I knew that it was good practice to make your research accessible to the public. So, as I began to conduct the interviews, I knew immediately that I wanted to share these interviews with the Villanova community. I approached Joe Lucia, former director of Falvey Memorial Library, with the idea, and he was very eager to support me in this endeavor. David Uspal [senior web specialist for library services and scholarly applications] has also provided invaluable assistance in developing the oral history project’s website.

AB: What are your plans for the future of this project?

TM: I hope to continue to add to the collection by conducting more interviews. I have added a news feature to the site so I hope to keep it updated and fresh so that people have a reason to return to the site.

AB: Are there plans to publish your research (beyond the dissertation)?

TM: I have spoken with several journals about publishing an article based on this research, and I will be working on submitting those by the early summer. I hope to one day publish this work as a book.

AB: How did you select the subjects for the interviews?

TM: As a starting point, I sent an invitation letter to several African American alumni whom I knew were leaders within the Black Student League in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Two alums in particular, Ted Freeman and Napoleon Andrews, responded quickly and enthusiastically agreed to help me find African American alumni who might be willing to share their stories. This project would not have happened without the support of these two gentlemen. I have only interviewed one woman to date so I would like to include more about the African American woman’s experience at Villanova.

AB: Any additional information/comments that you would like to share?

TM: This project has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life. In support of this project, I worked with the Alumni Association to sponsor a reunion for African American alumni during Homecoming 2012. We were able to welcome back over 40 African American alumni, some of whom had not been back to campus in over 40 years. This project has helped to begin the healing process for many black alums, and for that I am very pleased. I also hope that this project will allow Villanova to learn from our past as we continue to address issues of diversity and inclusion on our campus today.

David Uspal, Falvey’s senior web specialist for library services and scholarly applications, was the library’s main point person for the project as he helped with the very difficult technical aspects of mounting the exhibit. On behalf of Uspal, his colleague Laura Bang, digital and special collections curatorial assistant and digital humanities coordinator at Falvey, says, “The Black Villanova project is a great addition to the library’s digital projects. Dr. Mogan’s interviews bring to life important perspectives on the Villanova experience for African Americans.” Work on this project will continue as it is an evolving historical record. Dr. Mogan, the project coordinator, invites additional participants in this project as he wants to include their stories in the rich heritage of African American history at Villanova University.

Farah Jasmine Griffin, PhD

Farah Jasmine Griffin, PhD

In addition to Dr. Mogan’s Black Oral History talk on Feb. 18, Falvey will also co-sponsor the Annual Black History Month talk along with the Africana Studies Program. On Thursday, Feb. 20, at 4:00 p.m. in room 204, join us as Farah Jasmine Griffin, PhD, William B. Ransford professor of English and comparative literature and African-American studies, Columbia University presents the Annual Black History Month talk as part of Africana Studies’ Spring Lecture series. Make sure to check out these great events!

Regina-edIntroduction written by Regina Duffy, writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team and library events and program coordinator.

imagesInterview by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. Black Oral History Project graphics by Joanne Quinn.



Meet the Conservator: Kristin deGhetaldi

DeGhetaldi profileKristin deGhetaldi, a native of Santa Cruz, Calif., is leading the group working to conserve the huge painting attributed to Pietro da Cortona, “The Triumph of David,” which hung in the Reading Room of Falvey Hall from 1956 until 2013. The painting was taken down and removed from its frame in 2013 and currently rests against the end wall of the Reading Room where it is being conserved in public view.

DeGhetaldi has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, where she majored in chemistry. How did a chemistry major make such a huge step, from science to the visual arts, this writer wondered. So I asked deGhetaldi, “What inspired you to become a conservator?”

Her answer: “Going abroad. I … was encouraged by my mentor to NOT focus on the sciences during my semester abroad. When I returned to the States I realized that I had a passion for the arts as well as science and then tried to figure out how I could use both skill sets. Obviously seeing conservators at work in Italy and England also contributed to my decision to pursue a career in conservation.”

My next question: “What training is required? Do you need to have artistic talent?” DeGhetaldi’s answer, “You really need to have a ‘three-legged stool’ approach to academics: studio art, science and art history. … Color matching is perhaps one of the more important skills that a painting conservator needs to have in order to address issues associated with loss compensation. You don’t need to paint like Leonardo da Vinci, but you do need to have an optimal level of hand skills. … Today … most students pursue a master’s degree in art conservation after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in art history, studio art, the sciences or other related fields. In order to be accepted into a graduate degree program in the United States students must satisfy extensive course requirements (e.g. organic chemistry, art history/anthropology courses, a studio art portfolio, etc.) and complete a certain number of hours serving as a volunteer/intern in a cultural institution or private studio. This pre-program experience often takes additional time beyond completion of an undergraduate degree.” For more information about art conservation see art conservation. To learn more about graduate programs in the discipline visit graduate programs.

Both terms, conservation and restoration, have been used in reference to the current treatment of “The Triumph of David.” I asked deGhetaldi to explain which term is correct and why. She says, “… In the United States we now use the terms ‘conservation’ and ‘preservation’ when describing up-to-date, ethical methods of treatment … Although you will still hear a conservator use the term ‘restoration,’ it is mostly due to the fact that the general public is more familiar with this phrase … The term ‘restoration’ is now typically associated with antiquated practices or even unethical treatment approaches. Restorers do not document what they use or do to an artwork; conservators on the other hand fully document everything and use only stable, reversible materials that are appropriate for the artwork.”

When asked if she had any surprises in the conservation of the Cortona painting so far, deGhetaldi says, “I think the most gratifying ‘surprise’ has been the recovery of the original brilliant colors that have been obscured and hidden beneath layers of varnish and overpaint for so many years.” (The painting was restored in 1956, and since then the varnish has darkened so much that very little of the original colors were visible; figures were barely visible.) Given the size of this painting (approximately twelve by nineteen feet), a logical inquiry was “Is this the largest painting on which you have worked?” And her reply is, “Yes, I believe it is … although a couple of paintings that I helped treat during an internship at the J. Paul Getty Museum come very close. …”

DeGhetaldi earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in conservation from the Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy. She has a Master of Science degree from the Winterthur/University of Delaware program in Conservation and she completed a three year Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Painting Conservation at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., where she worked on Old Master paintings. DeGhetaldi has also worked at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, R.I.

She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at Winterthur/University of Delaware. Her dissertation topic is “Novel Analytical Methods Used to Explore the Evolution from Egg to Oil Paints in Quattrocento Italy.”

Vistors are welcome to watch the conservator and interns at work. If you cannot visit campus see the live video. For more information about the project go to painting restoration.

Article by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Publications Team.



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Last Modified: February 6, 2014