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Recent Student Work

Seniors majoring in art history write a thesis of no fewer than 30 pages (50 pages for those pursing honors) that addresses specific works, artists, themes, methodological approaches, and contexts of images produced around the world and during a vast span of time. Since 2007, art history majors have written original interpretations on the following topics:


  • "Championing American Art in the 20th Century: The Lives and Businesses of Edith Gregor Halpert and Betty Parsons" (Lizzy Appel, 2008)
  • "The Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art: An Exploration of Americanism" (Amanda Askew, 2008)
  • "Breast Imagery During the French Revolution" (Christina Michelle Bortner, 2008)
  • "DeWitt Clinton's Immortals: The Meaning behind the Eight Immortals Motif on the Platter of an American Statesman" (Kathryn Carmody, 2008)
  • "In the Hands of the Oungans and Mambos: Haitian Identity Through Voudou Art" (Megann Daw, 2008)
  • "Cezanne's Use of Color and Space: A Historiography of Interpretations of the Mont Sainte-Victoire Series" (J. Gregory Elkins, 2008)
  • "The Nine Friends of Suzhou: A Study of Traditional Chinese Fan Painting from the Qing Dynasty in the Groke Mickey Collection at Washington and Lee University" (Madeline Gent, Honors Thesis, 2008)
  • "Leonora and Mexico: A Surreal Cultural Merger" (Maureen Grant, 2008)
  • "Lee Krasner: Casting Her Own Shadow" (Emily Grimball, 2008)
  • "The Career of Julian Schnabel as a Model of Cultural Production in Late Capitalism" (Inslee Haynes, 2008)
  • "The Borgia Apartments as Propaganda for Pope Alexander VI" (Lisa Leonard, 2008)
  • "Paul Poiret and the Ballet Russes: Changing the World of Art" (Elizabeth Barret Matthews, 2008)
  • "From Heracles to Superman: A Look at the Connection Between Ancient Greek and American Comic Book Superheroes" (Colette Moryan, 2008)
  • "Diane Arbus: In Private, Public and Perspective" (Jacqueline Neilson, 2008)
  • "Confronting the Chapman Brothers: A Postmodernist Question of Values" (Marguerite S. Nugent, 2008, Gerard Doyon Award for Art Historical Writing)
  • "Yoko Ono: Giving Performance Peace a Chance" (Lauren Sapikowski, Honors Thesis, 2008)
  • "Right Out of History and Back Again: The Journey of Judy Chicago's Dinner Party and the Feminist Movement" (Caitlin Smith, 2008)
  • "A Structuralist Pursuit of Meaning in the Works of Richard Diebenkorn" (Polly Smith, 2008)
  • "For the Love of God! The Dualism of Damien Hirst in the Realm of Consumer Culture" (Devin Wilkins, 2008)


  • “The Art of Henri Matisse: Crafting a Precarious Balance Despite Tumultuous Times” (Polina Berlin, 2007)
  • “Holy Shit: ‘Urine’ for a Treat. An Analysis of Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili and their Uses of Unconventional Media in Contemporary Catholic Art” (Kendra Emerson, 2007)
  • “Beneath Manet’s Surface: Using Technical Analysis to Explore the Relationship between Traditionalism and Modernism in Edouard Manet’s Early Work” (Jenny Hau, 2007, Gerard Doyon Award for Art Historical Writing)
  • “Redefining the Myth of Venice: An Examination of the Work of John Singer Sargent and Giacomo Favretto” (Devon Morten, 2007)
  • “Albrecht Dürer’s Engraved Passion as a Reflection of Sixteenth-Century Northern Europe” (Abigail Olson, 2007)
  • “James McNeill Whistler: Portraits of Women in the 19th Century” (Ellen Quinlan, 2007)
  • “Not Unmindful of the Future” or the Past: Planning and Preservation at Washington and Lee University” (Susan Rudolph, 2007)
  • “Transfers and New Beginnings: Scenes of Abduction on Florentine Cassoni and Renaissance Marriage Rituals” (S.E. Carter Southworth, 2007)
  • “The Effect of Chinoiserie on 18th-Century Porcelain Design” (Anne Taylor Tipton, 2007)
  • “Goya: An Authenticity Debate” (Michael Viviano, 2007, Gerard Doyon Award for Art Historical Writing)