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Share the Love: Seeking Romantic Art for Valentine’s Day?


When asked to write a blog about romantic art, I could think of no images to accompany it; this is not a typical subject for this art historian. A search of Falvey’s catalog for “art, romantic” retrieved 297 titles, but these deal with romanticism in art and in literature. A Google search first gave me “Romanticism – The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” followed by “Romanticism – Wikipedia, the free encylopedia” and “images for romantic art.” None of these references yielded the type of images associated with love or Valentine’s Day. What they did have in common were references to a specific period in art history, the style known as Romanticism: a period which lasted from about 1750 to about 1850.

What is Romanticism in art? Broadly defined it is the beginning of modernism. Artists, according to Hugh Honour, had no programs nor common goals but were concerned with “integrity of feeling” (p. 25). Their subject matter is considered romantic because it stresses ideal beauty or strong emotions or combinations of ideal beauty, strong emotions and other materials. Gardner (Art Through the Ages, ninth edition, p. 872) says, “The Romantic artist, above all else, wanted to excite the emotions of the audience.” And these emotions can be either positive or negative.

"John Constable - Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden - Google Art Project" by John Constable - SQHNHPBhfP7FBg at Google Cultural Institute,  Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

“John Constable – Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Garden – Google Art Project” by John Constable  at Google Cultural Institute, Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Is it just us, or is this the view looking east from Tolentine Hall?

This is one of the great ages of landscape painting – J. M. W. Turner, John Constable, Caspar David Friedrich and the American, Thomas Cole are major artists. Other artists with very different subjects are Antoine-Jean Gros, Théodore Géricault, Eugène Delacroix and Henry Fuseli.

The Barque of Dante, Delacroix 1822 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, 189 x 242 cm (74 1/2 x 95 1/4"); Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Barque of Dante, Delacroix
1822 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, 189 x 242 cm (74 1/2 x 95 1/4″); Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Metropolitan Museum of Art compiled a list of works of art dealing with love, but again, these will not meet your expectations of romantic, Valentine-type art.

For a more light-hearted approach to the subject, visit, “Love Is in the Air, and in the Art,” by Ken Johnson, “The New York Times, Art & Design,” published Feb. 7, 2013.

Dig Deeper

Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Romanticism.”
Romanticism by Hugh Honour. A classic work.
The Romantic Rebellion: Romantic Versus Classic Art by Kenneth Clark. Another classic.
The Romantic Rebellion by Eric Newton.
Romantic Art in Britain: Paintings and Drawings, 1760 – 1860 by Frederick J. Cummings.
German Romantic Painting by Hubert Schrade
Romantic Painting in America, Museum of Modern Art exhibition catalog.
Historical Dictionary of Romantic Art and Architecture by Allison Lee Palmer.

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

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Foto Friday: What do you see?


Not sure? Take a closer look at the tall display case on Falvey Library’s first floor. It will satisfy your curiosity.

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management


The Curious ‘Cat: What Do Villanova Students Really Think about the Library?


In this new feature, the Curious ‘Cat will ask a question of several students in the Library and show their responses here, on Falvey’s blog.

CUR CAT 2-4This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “What do you wish the Library knew about your needs as a student?

Sarah Welch: “[I wish there were] more hours that it’s available; it closes [too] early on weekends”

Antonio Triggiano: “Right now, the Library fills all of my needs.”

Nusrat Akanda: “I would like to suggest having more desks, more spaces to study during finals.”

Andrew Houser: “VU Mobile is the most pressing issue … at the school. I really like the setup, though, as it is … I’m pretty content with the library setup.”

Emily Folse: “[I wish there were] a way we could print from our laptops instead of having to log on to [library] computers to send things to the printer … The Library does a really good job [with] the Writing Center and the Math Center of understanding the needs of the student and providing those resources.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is possible to send print jobs to the library’s printers from a personal laptop. Staff at Falvey’s main service counter has instructions for current Villanova students to add the library’s printers to the list of available printers on their personal laptop computer. Evidently, we need to do a better job of communicating that fact!

 Jane Cho: “[I wish there were] more availability from the librarians with hours … to communicate [with students] in person. Their hours are pretty limited and they don’t work weekends. It’s just not as convenient to send them an email as it is to talk to them.

“[I also wish that] the staff [were] a little more knowledgeable about how to help students with their research, like what direction they could go in … when the research librarians aren’t available.”

RESEARCH HELP ON WEEKENDS, A LIBRARIAN RESPONDS: Library help is available on weekends! We have a librarian on-call at Falvey most Sundays from 2pm-8pm for all your weekend research needs. We have experimented with Saturday librarians in the past, but there was never quite enough work for them to keep it up. During the week, librarians are on-call for instant help Mondays-Thursdays 8am-6pm and Fridays 10am-5pm.

While we are on-call, you can ask to see us in person at the front desk, come up to the 2nd floor directly and look for the “Ask it here!” sign with the blue lights outside a librarian’s office, send us an email at ref@villanova.edu, or contact us by chat with the Ask a Librarian button in the bottom right-hand corner of the library website. For quick questions you can call 610-519-4200 or even text us at (610) 816-6222.

Want to make absolutely sure that you’ll be able to get the exact help you need when you come in? You can make an appointment with a specific librarian anytime by simply emailing them from the Subject Guide(link) of the topic closest to your area of interest.


Happy Bard-day to you, Happy Bard-day to you! Happy Birthday dear William…

This year Shakespeare turns 450, and people will be celebrating all around the globe from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford upon Avon (where the tradition of celebrating his birthday goes back over 200 years) to Paris to right here in Falvey Memorial Library.

evCelebrate Shakespeare:

This year Falvey is providing several opportunities for those interested to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. First, visit the Shakespeare display up on Falvey’s 4th floor, near the Shakespeare collection, and view items on display from Falvey’s Special Collections. Second, participate in our Shakespeare scavenger hunt for a chance to win a Shakespeare duck. Rules of participation and clues for the scavenger hunt can be found at the 4th floor display. Last, but certainly not least, join us in the Falvey Hall Reading Room on April 23 at 6 p.m. to celebrate with the Villanova Department of English, ACS, and the Library. There will be games, prizes, skits performed by students, and birthday cake!

About Shakespeare:

Although the exact date of Shakespeare’s birth is unknown, the baptismal register from Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon shows that he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and his birthday is traditionally celebrated on April 23 (St. George’s Day). For detailed information about Shakespeare’s baptismal record, see this video from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Holy Trinity’s records also mark Shakespeare’s burial, on April 25, 1616. If you’re interested in learning more about Shakespeare, his early life and his family, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has a wonderful collection of videos and many other resources that may be of interest to you.

Shakespeare’s Legacy:

Shakespeare wrote 38 plays (some in collaboration with other playwrights), 154 sonnets and two narrative poems. Love them or hate them, Shakespeare’s stories have endured the test of time and continue to inspire people. Of course, many direct adaptations of Shakespeare exist in popular culture, such as Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 “Romeo and Juliet,” Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” or “Henry V,” and countless others.

In addition to adaptations that use Shakespeare’s original language, a multitude of films borrow Shakespeare’s stories and superimpose modern language, different cultures, and different time periods. Such films include “West Side Story,” 1961 (“Romeo and Juliet”); Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran,” 1985 (“King Lear”); “Ten Things I Hate About You,” 1999 (“Taming of The Shrew”); “She’s The Man,” 2006 (“Twelfth Night”); “Forbidden Planet,” 1956 (“The Tempest”); “O,” 2001 (“Othello”); “Get Over It,” 2001 (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”); “Scotland PA,” 2001 (“Macbeth”); and many more. You can browse a full list of Shakespeare films held at Falvey Memorial Library right here.

Shakespeare was inspiring artists long before film was even invented. When you visit the Shakespeare display currently on Falvey Memorial Library’s fourth floor, you will notice one or more of the twelve large sized prints which have been placed around the Shakespeare section. These prints are from volume 1 of The American edition of Boydell’s illustrations of the dramatic works of Shakespeare, by the most eminent artists of Great Britain. Published in 1791 and again in 1805, this collection of prints is bound in a large-format book known as an elephant folio due to its large size (22 by 28 inches). Original prints from the first editions of the book now go for $300-$950 each and are beautifully detailed depictions of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. The prints hanging in the Library are copies, but the actual book the images were scanned from is held in Falvey’s Special Collections, and anyone is welcome to make an appointment to see it.




Foto Friday: Chinese New Year – celebrating the year of the horse


Happy Chinese New Year!

People born during the years 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 or 2014 are born during the year of the horse. These people are known to be active, energetic and quick-witted. They are also most comfortable in a crowd.

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Publications Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management


New Digital Library Front End

Digital Library HomeThe Falvey Memorial Library is pleased to announce the launch of our new Digital Library interface.

The new interface features a JavaScript-only page zoom, faster hierarchical browsing, and enhanced searching that includes both item and collection descriptions in the results.

The public front end is built on VuFind 2.0, which has not yet been officially released, but is available for testing here. The backend is running the latest beta version of VuDL (release spring 2013), which has been re-architected to use a Fedora-Commons repository.

A more detailed article describing the new Fedora-Commons data model and Solr integration is forthcoming.

For now, we encourage you to explore this new site, and to provide any feedback to us directly.


Help Us Test a New Scanner

A new high-end scanner on the first floor has been installed on a trial basis.  We invite students, staff, faculty and visitors to help us test it out. The large flatbed (book edge) scanner and accompanying PC with touch screen interface are easy to use.  The software can even convert text to audio. You’ll find the trial scanner near the public print station on the first floor of the Library. Feedback forms are available. Give it a try and tell us what you think!


Elsevier Journal Boycott Takes Center Stage with Scholars

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, “A protest against Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific journal publisher, is rapidly gaining momentum since it began as an irate blog post at the end of January. By Tuesday evening, about 2,400 scholars had put their names to an online pledge not to publish or do any editorial work for the company’s journals, including refereeing papers.” Scientists too are putting their name to the protest. One blogger on MetaFilter informed readers that “The Cost of Knowledge lets scientists register their support for a boycott of all Elsevier journals for their support of SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act. It appears the boycott was inspired by Field’s medalist Tim Gowers’ recent comments describing his personal boycott of Elsevier journals.” What are your opinions about the journal boycott? How about the recent efforts to impose restrictions on internet sites by way of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? Tell us what you think.


New Scanners On Trial – Feedback Needed

Two high-end scanners have been installed on a trial basis and we invite students, staff, faculty, and visitors to help us test them. We have a large flatbed scanner and an overhead scanner. They are both located between the Circulation desk & the public printer on the first floor of the library. Feedback forms are available at the scanning stations. Give them a try and tell us what you think!


David Uspal is New Web Specialist for Library and Scholarly Applications

David Uspal recently joined Falvey as Web Specialist for Library and Scholarly Applications. Joe Lucia, University Librarian, commented,dave-uspal “Dave brings many exciting skills to the library, and he will be working to advance our open source applications on all fronts in the months ahead.”

Dave works with the Technology Development team to update library web sites and to add new resources.

A native of Reading (Pa.), Dave has a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in management information systems from The Pennsylvania State University and two master’s degrees from Penn State, Great Valley in software engineering and systems engineering.

His hobbies are board gaming and his two house rabbits. Dave noted that he tried doing home repairs over the summer but decided this wasn’t a hobby he is likely to pursue.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


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Last Modified: August 12, 2010