Alice Hill ’12
Recipient of Willamette University Department of Art History Honors
Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1483-1485) took my breath away from the first moment I saw it during a class lecture. This captivation and intrigue carried through to my senior thesis, entitled, "A Meta-Critical Study on Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera: A Quest for Meaning." In my thesis I focused on exploring past scholarship surrounding Botticelli’s famous paintings. I dissected and analyzed three varying arguments, interpretations, and perspectives in attempt to draw conclusions about the work of art that had moved me so deeply.
My thesis was one of the most exhilarating things I have accomplished. The scholars I studied sought to uncover the mysterious story and context of Botticelli’s artwork in an effort to determine why he painted what he did. They were on a quest to discover the various and possible truths behind Botticelli’s work. I assumed I would unearth answers through my research, but instead found myself concluding the thesis with more questions— a beautiful result. This constant questioning, engagement and discussion of significance is what makes art so alive and invites us to do the same with the world around us. It challenges us to think beyond ourselves and grow in perspective.
Paired with the support of the art history faculty, my thesis was extremely impactful and life changing. It was a catalyst to amazing growth and progress in areas such as clear communication in writing and articulation of thought, as well as confidence in my ability to succeed as a young scholar. Writing my thesis was more than a critical analysis of an artwork. It was an opportunity to explore and reflect on meaningful questions about the world we live in. Challenging? Yes, but absolutely worth it.
— Alice Hill, Winter 2012
Alice Hill pictured in Australia, 2012