On November 17th, Professor Louise Rice delivered a public lecture titled “Magnetic Baroque: The Art and Science of Attraction in Seventeenth-Century Rome” at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She followed this up the next day with a colloquium for faculty and graduate students on “The Serious Fun of Thesis Prints.”
Sponsored by the Art History Endowed Lectureship and the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Professor Rice’s lecture focused on an aspect of her current research on seventeenth-century Roman prints and print culture. Taking as her theme the Baroque fascination with the phenomenon of magnetism, she traced the diverse ways this most mysterious of natural forces was given poetic expression in works of art commissioned by aristocratic students at Rome’s most prestigious school, the Collegio Romano.
Professor Rice’s current book project is a history of the thesis print, a uniquely Baroque art form remarkable for the novelty, variety, and virtuosity of its visual language. Commissioned to decorate the broadsheets issued by students on the occasion of their academic defense, thesis prints offer a window onto the vibrant intellectual world of seventeenth-century Rome. Professor Rice has pursued her research on this project as a J. Clawson Mills Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in 2006-7), and as the James S. Ackerman Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome (in 2008).
Professor Rice is a specialist in the art and architecture of Baroque Rome. Her publications include The Altars and Altarpieces of New St. Peter’s: Outfitting the Basilica, 1621-1666 (Cambridge University Press, 1996), awarded the Premio Salimbeni; Specchio di Roma barocca, co-authored with Joseph Connors (Edizioni dell’Elefante, 1991); and numerous articles, essays, and reviews on the art and architecture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, and Simon Vouet among others, as well as on topics ranging from possums to the Pantheon. In Spring 2012, she will lecture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on “Andrea Bergondi and the Sunset of the Baroque”, at the Renaissance Society of America on “Baccio’s Cornuti: Daily Life in the Grand Cuckoldom of Tuscany”, and at the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual conference on “Magnets and the Moral Compass: Saving the Soul from Shipwreck”.