Dr. Jeffrey Fontana, Austin College associate professor of art history, will present “Up Close and Personal: Getting to Know Some Famous Ancients and Not-So-Famous Moderns” on Wednesday, October 25, at 5 p.m. in Mabee Hall of Wright Campus Center. A 4:30 p.m. reception, also in Mabee Hall, will precede the lecture. The events, part of the Sabbatical Lecture Series sponsored by the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, are free and open to the public.
Fontana will speak in part about his sabbatical travel during summer 2016 to Turkey, Greece, and Italy to see and photograph some of the great works of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine art and architecture. “The purpose of this trip was to enrich and refresh my “Western Art: Ancient to Medieval” survey course,” Fontana said. “During my presentation, I will show a number of the high-resolution digital images I took that are bringing to life works in close-up detail for students in my classroom.”
Fontana also will discuss the investigations he conducted in the fall during his sabbatical leave in order to find primary source materials for his research on Canadian-American artist and art educator George B. Bridgman, who Fontana says is “considered by some one of the finest draftsmen of the early 20th century.” Fontana’s “detective work” focused on Bridgman’s years in Toronto living under the roof of his portrait-painter father, as well as the identification of his students in the Art Students’ League in New York, and evaluating his impact on their careers.
Fontana, department chair of the Austin College Art and Art History Department, joined the Austin College faculty in 2002 and was named to the Harry E. Smith Distinguished Teaching Professorship in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in Ohio before earning both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Boston University.
The lecture is presented by Austin College’s Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, directed by Randi Tanglen, associate professor of English. Within the mission of the center is the encouragement of “bold exploration of intellectual frontiers” and “fostering lively intellectual dialogue within and across academic disciplines.”
The Johnson Center schedules a number of events throughout the year, with presentations by Austin College faculty and guest lecturers.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.