Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Art History Theses

Here is a list of senior thesis projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the Art History department have done over the years.

Abstract: My research focuses on the series "Scenes from the Life of Virgin Mary" by Italian Mannerist painter Francesco Salviati. His representation of spectators with the frescoes of this series is highly unusual and virtually unprecedented. My study will therefore aim to clarify the theological and devotional implications of his choices in this regard, as well as locate this development within the larger context of metarepresentations in Renaissance art.

Molly Bond (2015)

Abstract: This presentation explores the significance behind the stylistic and iconographic choices made by Austrian artist Egon Schiele (1890-1918), in a selection of self-portraits done between 1907 and 1915. It will examine the possible aims and implications surrounding Schiele's distinctive representation of the male body, within the context of psychoanalytic and pathological lenses. Photographs published within French medical journals depicting patients diagnosed with physical and mental illnesses were commonly viewed as pathological spectacles by Viennese medical, artistic and intellectual audiences during the 1910s. This presentation will analyze how the selected self-portraits by Schiele could be interpreted as his response to issues raised by specialists within the medical field.

Meghana Chary (2019)

Abstract: This presentation discusses Cyprus, during the Bronze Age, as a crossroads of civilization and the way that these cultural influences appear in pottery. The presentation will briefly cover the history of Cyprus during the Early Bronze Age (2500-1900 BCE) and examine the ceramics of that time period using the pieces displayed in the Kypriaka Chronika exhibition at the Hallie Ford Museum as examples. It will describe two important types of pottery, namely the Red-Polished and Black-Polished Ware, and their relation to migration. The presentation will explore the creativity of Cypriote potters in the forms and features of their vessels.

Sarah Diamond (2019)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the Art History department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.


  • More than Meets the Eye: Dissecting Bellori’s Description of Guido Reni’s Paintings - Olivia Barry (Thesis)
  • Beyond the Self: Egon Schiele’s Self-Portraits and the Viennese Medical Audience - Meghana Chary (Thesis)
  • Walks with Richard Long: Preserving the Non-Sustainable Image - Clarice Benz (Thesis)
  • Breathing Objects: The Dialogue between Artifacts and Artworks at the Hallie Ford Museum - Serena Cantaldo & Giulia Ramundo
  • Kypriaka Chronica: Bronze Age II - Holly Piper
  • Kypriaka Chronica: Bronze Age I - Sarah Diamond (Independent Research)
  • Of Pots and People: Interpreting Grooved Ware in Neolithic Orkney - Peter Lawson


  • Slay Artemisia: An Analysis of Assault, Survivorship and The Work of Artemisia Gentileschi - Emma Ahern (Thesis)
  • The Women of Fragonard: An Exploration of Female Artistic Identity within the Age of Rococo - McCall Concannon (Thesis)
  • Édouard Manet's Olympia: A Progressive Guide to Ownership of the Female Body - Melissa Riede (Thesis)
  • Pixar Personification: How the Characters of Pixar Films Animate Us - Mitchell Lee (Thesis)
  • Henri Matisse's Odalisques: A Portrayal of Early Twentieth-Century French Imperialism of the North African Orient - Alicia McGarvey (Thesis)
  • Federico Fellini: His Evolution of Narrative and Character Within His Films - Maya Zavala (Thesis)
  • Women Hold Up Half My Sky: Depictions of Fu Nu in Propaganda Posters of the Chinese Cultural Revolution - Natalie Zhang (Thesis)
  • Villainy or Visionaries: Interactions of Graffiti Art and Law on the New York Metro from the 1960s to May 12,1989 - Sarah Crabb (Thesis)
  • Art Museums and the Public: Using Methodology to Shape Opinions - Devne’t DeGrandemont (Thesis)
  • Ballad of a Shinigami: The Translation Process - Meghan McDonald (Thesis)
  • How Did We Get Here? A Study on the History of Manga and Ukiyo-e as Artifacts of Japan's Societal Evolution - Galayna Wade (Thesis)
  • "Bystander Complex" and the Theatricality of Violence: Interpreting and translating "Beating" by Bi Jian X - Natalie Zhang (Thesis)
  • Chinese American Elders and Formations of Social Support Systems in Salem, Oregon - Lina Truong
  • The Rise of Gendered Education within Elementary Schools in Shanghai - Euchari Majors
  • Reconsidering Mixed Race Japanese Identities: The Myth of Japanese Racial Purity - Michelle Fensler
  • Pigeonholing of gaijin and hafu on Twitter: Analysis of linguistic stereotypes in Japanese-Language Tweets - Kira-Ann Hayashi


  • Depicting the Golden Age Destitutes: An Historical Analysis of Frans Hals’ Works - Sarah Burnett (Thesis)
  • Outlet for the Outlandish: Marginalia from the Gospel Nook to the Book of Hours - McKelvey Mandigo-Stoba (Thesis)
  • The Advent of the Pure Monochrome from Monet to Newman - Emma Sargent (Thesis)
  • Wolf Vostell: Dé-coll/aging Modern Culture - Amanda Petersen (Thesis)
  • From the Capitoline Museum to the Banks of the Tiber: William Kentridge and the Art of Simulacra - Emily Evers (Thesis)
  • The Case for Hollywood Dada: Analyzing the Intersectionality of Slapstick Comedy and the Avant-garde - Madalyn Gordon (Thesis)


  • For Loathe or Love? Asexuality as a Critical Paradigm in Degas’ Depictions of Women - Stephanie Brown (Independent Research)
  • Local Looks: Photographic Portraits and the Question of the Paulus Studio in Salem - Elizabeth Edgerton (Independent Research)
  • The Oregon State Capitol: Building a New American Iconography - Erik Sandell (Independent Research)
  • Shaping Japanese Artistic Identity: Intertextuality in Kurosawa’s 夢 (Dreams) - Emily Arnold (Independent Research)
  • Crazy as a Painter - Maeve Axtell, Elizabeth Cook, James Redfern, Madeleine Tjaarda (Poster)


  • Images Made Without Hands: Understanding Iconoclasm by Analyzing its Most Powerful Icons - Michaelanne Foster (Independent Research)
  • Solve et Coagula: An Alchemical Analysis of Bartholomeus Spranger’s Paintings in the Court of Rudolf II - Michelle Atherton (Independent Research)
  • Shaping Spectatorship in Art: A Study of Francesco Salviati’s “Scenes from the Life of the Virgin Mary.” - Molly Bond (Independent Research)
  • If It's Not Baroque: A Historiographical Approach to the Baroque Style through the Analysis of Francesco Borromini’s Work - Grace Cohen (Independent Research)
  • Nudity and Gender Theory in Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People - Alyson Croney (Independent Research)
  • Feminist Theory and Assigning Meaning to Édouard Manet’s Works - Elizabeth Van Hook (Independent Research)
  • The Impressionists’ Dealer: A Marxist Analysis of Durand-Ruel’s Career - Kate Marsella (Independent Research)
  • Umberto Boccioni: A Comparative Study of Style and the Ideological Foundations of Italian Futurism - Stephanie Ricchio (Independent Research)
  • Woodcuts of the World Wars - Alex Geiszler (Independent Research)
  • Artist as Model: Subjectivity and the Self in the Art of Bas Jan Ader and Ger van Elk from 1969-1975 - Hannah Macaluso-Green (Independent Research)
  • Ana Mendieta: Challenging Phallogocentric Vernacular - Maddie Mendez Packer (Independent Research)
  • Queer Culture History Seen Through Art - Pauline Douglass (Independent Research)
  • Transgressive Art and Human Limitation - Matt Swart (Independent Research)
Willamette University

Art History

Ford Hall
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Back to Top