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Art History & Visual Arts

Can the Marian Library Support Instruction in Art History and the Visual Arts?


For example...

In general, many of the materials (including 17th- and 18th-century prints) in the flat files could be used for visual analysis assignments. Many of the subjects include standard Christian scenes such as the Annunciation, Crucifixion, etc.

The prints could also be of interest to classes looking into the history of printmaking or the importance of prints in the careers of certain artists. For example, it might be valuable to examine the prints that are done after other artists. The Marian Library holds quite a few prints by engraver Ludwig Sommerau that were done after work by Raphael.

Rembrandt Death of a Virgin detail"The Death of the Virgin," Rembrandt, 1639. From the Marian Library flat files (detail).

The collection of pennants created as souvenirs for pilgrims, perhaps in conjunction with other printed materials relating to Marian shrines, could be a class project, with each student assigned to work with several items in the context of a collaborative online exhibit. These pennants are among the uncataloged collection of flat files.

garden pennant"Notre Dame de la Garde Pennant" from the Marian Library flat files.

Visual literacy: The thousands of postcards of a wide variety of sites and cities could be used in a variety of pedagogical exercises, including discussion of the cultural and historical context, the production and circulation of images, etc.

The Saint John’s Bible
—an illuminated manuscript completed in the twenty-first-century United States is a fascinating expression of faith and perhaps a new expression of medievalism. Also worthy of discussion is the significance of the illustration process in the work’s creation as an indication of the theological importance of images. The Marian Library also holds several medieval manuscripts that could be shown alongside the Saint John’s Bible to demonstrate connections with earlier traditions.

Posters, pamphlets, postcards, stamps, bookplates, and typography provide a wide variety of reference materials for courses on graphic design. The Marian Library collections include examples of interesting design from across centuries and cultures. In some cases, these examples may be in surprising parts of the collection, such as the graphic design on the 1950s-era social justice pamphlets in the John Stokes and Mary’s Gardens collection or the Ukrainian posters in the flat files.

collage of postcardsPostcards from the Marian Library postcard collection.

Several groups of photographic albums, with photographs dating from as early as the 1880s, could be of interest both for the historical techniques and for the early approach to scrapbooking and documenting travel. 

photo album detail“French Catholic Photograph Album" contains photographs taken in France, circa 1880 (detail)

The “Behold the Handmaid” collection includes original, hand-drawn, black-and-white illustrations for a Catholic comic book published in 1954. These items could be of interest (especially viewed alongside published comic books) as a lesson in the process of illustration for publication.

comic book detailOriginal, hand-drawn illustration for the Catholic comic book “Behold the Handmaid,” published in 1954 (detail).

The Marian Library has numerous art history books, from general periods (Byzantine, Renaissance, etc.) to specific countries, time periods, and/or artists.

Bring your art students to the Marian Library to use our collections as inspiration for sketching, illustration or painting assignments.

student sketching statues in the reading room



Marian Library

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390