Celebrating Art History at UCD

In October 1965, the discipline of Art History, then known as the History of European Painting, was offered for the first time at Degree level in Ireland at University College Dublin.  The first students to study at the Department of the History of European Painting, now the School of Art History & Cultural Policy, included our former colleagues Dr Eileen Kane and Dr John O’Grady.

Historically UCD’s association with Art History began in 1935 when the History of European Painting Lectures were delivered by Dr Françoise Henry who, in response to an invitation from President Denis Coffey, began to give a lecture course in preparation for the Purser-Griffith Scholarship and Prize Examination. The course continues to this day as the Diploma in the History of European Painting.

Throughout 2015/16 the School has held a number of events to mark the fifty years since the Department of the History of European Painting was established under its founder Dr Françoise Henry.  We began our Jubilee events with an afternoon of celebrations and recollections with students past and present on Saturday 28 November 2015. This event, marking five decades of Art History at UCD under its founder Dr Françoise Henry, and the successive Chairs of Professor Alistair Rowan, Professor Michael McCarthy and Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty, concluded with a Keynote Address by School alumnus, Dr Brian P. Kennedy, Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.

We continued our events with a Celebrating 50 Years Distinguished Lecture Series in spring 2016 with former alumni returning to the School to share their research. We were delighted to be joined by many of our alumni and current students at these public lectures:

  • Migrating objects: J.H. Foley and empire, Professor Fintan Cullen, Professor of Art History, University of Nottingham (Mon., 11 April 2016 at 5:30pm, Theatre N, Newman Building, UCD, Belfield) 
  • Love/Hate: Contemporary art is here to stay, Dr Barbara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (Thurs., 21 April 2016 at 5:30pm, Theatre N, Newman Building, UCD, Belfield) 
  •  The Zodiaque Series on Romanesque art and the influence of Françoise Henry’s contributions 1963-1964, Professor Janet T Marquardt, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History & Women’s Studies, Eastern Illinois University (Mon., 25 April 2016 at 5:30pm, Theatre M, Newman Building, UCD, Belfield  [Cancelled]
  •  Drawing in Venice in the age of Titian, Dr Catherine Whistler, Acting Keeper of the Western Art Department, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Thurs., 5 May 2016 at 5:30pm, Theatre N, Newman Building, UCD, Belfield)

 

We are concluding our celebrations with a publication, Art History after Françoise Henry: 50 years at UCD (Gandon, November 2016). The book will comprise a series of essays by members of staff past and present. Compelling in their variety, they demonstrate the wide-ranging research interests of the staff, including Irish, European and American material from the medieval period to the present day.