Dons in the Arts

Dominique Dollenmayer, junior history and art history/arts management double major, had the honor of speaking as a representative of USF at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum’s Art History Research Symposium this past Saturday. (Dollenmayer is also a layout editor for the Foghorn.) For the past nine years, the de Young Museum has invited student representatives from various Bay Area universities, such as Stanford University, Santa Clara University and the University of California, Berkeley, “to present the research of undergraduate art historians.” Eleven undergraduate art history students – one from each of these universities – presented ideas and the history behind some of the most world-renowned paintings. Dollenmayer chose to delve into the ideas behind Rembrandt van Rijn’s “Danae.”


How did you get chosen to present for USF?

DD: It’s something that our department [art history/arts management] coordinates every year. Basically, all eligible juniors or seniors have the opportunity to submit a paper and an abstract to the professors who go ahead and look over all the submissions and then pick one to present.  


Why did you choose to talk about Rembrandt’s “Danae”?

DD:  I wrote this for a seminar, “Rubens versus Rembrandt,” taught by Professor Catherine Lusheck in the spring of 2017. I chose this painting, specifically, because I was just really fascinated with Rembrandt’s persona that he’s attributed to. He’s given these two stereotypes: as a dissident of tradition or as someone who is totally adhering to it, and I feel like that doesn’t capture Rembrandt at all. This painting really relays and conveys some of the more subliminal messages of Rembrandt and his ability to adhere to that tradition, but also push[es] it forward and use[s] it as an agent through which he is able to have his own agenda.


What did it mean to you to present at de Young?

DD: It meant the world. It was an honor, because only one person is selected from each university and I think, right now, I am looking forward to graduate school. Everything at this point has been very undergraduate based. This was such an important push forward for me because it was in a professional setting that I hope to work in one day. I want to be a curator and it requires talks like that and it requires lectures like that. It was really important for me to get that experience beforehand.

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