Catharine Clarke Ingersoll
Catharine Clarke Ingersoll ‘03, a doctoral student in art history at the University of Texas at Austin, has received a prestigious fellowship to spend nine months working at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany. Catharine was nominated for the fellowship by her graduate advisor at UT, but she credits Washington College with jumpstarting her career in art history.
“My first semester of college, I took Northern Renaissance Art with Professor Donald McColl and it was really interesting — very memorable and fun. The following spring, I took his seminar on Albrecht Dürer, and it solidified for me that the Northern Renaissance was the time period I found most artistically interesting,” Catharine recalls.
Catharine’s grant will allow her to spend half her time in Nuremberg working for one of Europe’s greatest museums and the other half completing her dissertation research. At the museum, she’ll be helping the curators put on a major international exhibition on Dürer, scheduled to open in 2012.
“I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to work with the curators and the fantastic holdings they have in such a world-class museum,” Catharine says.
She’ll also be taking advantage of her proximity to other major European collections — both for dissertation research and personal enjoyment.
“In my dissertation, I’m going to be looking at the art of the court of the Bavarian dukes in the early 16th century, particularly the work of the artist Hans Wertinger, ,” Catharine explains.
Though she jokes that her research might be the least fun component of the fellowship, Catharine is truly passionate about Northern Renaissance art.
“I find the issues surrounding the Protestant Reformation really interesting in terms of visual culture. The early modern era is a time of transition between the medieval period and the Enlightenment, and there’s a sense of humor to many of the pieces. It’s rich, with layers of meaning I find fascinating,” she says.
Plus, she adds, “It’s the prettiest! If you’re going to look at art all day, you might as well look at the pretty stuff.”
Before beginning her fellowship in 2011, Catharine will attend two conferences — the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference in Swansea, Wales in January, and at the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Conference in Vancouver in March — to present papers.
When she returns from Germany, Catharine will finish her dissertation while teaching a course as an assistant instructor. “Currently I am a TA. Three hours a week, I lead discussion sessions with about 18 students. I’m always trying to replicate the small classroom experience and personal attention I received from my professors at Washington College. It’s not typical of the undergraduate experience at UT, where there are 50,000 students, but it was so important to my education,” Catharine explains.
Once Catharine completes her doctoral work, she hopes to continue teaching.
“Ideally, I’d like to teach at a place like Washington College, a small liberal arts college. I grew up in that kind of environment — my dad’s a music professor at WC. I believe that the liberal arts environment, with its focus on small class sizes and individual attention, would be the best fit for my teaching style and is most beneficial for students.”