Bric-a-Brac, Trinkets, Needlework, Pen and Paper (ITAL-211)

MHC Art Museum

A Five College Mellon Seminar in the Skinner Museum, December 2015. Photo credit: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Gendering Material Culture in Italy

Instructor: Ombretta Frau

In this course we examine female and male spaces, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century Italian home through works of literature and art.

We analyze how objects can define a personality, a space, a life. Spaces examined include intellectual and writing spaces, working spaces, eating and cooking spaces, clothing and décor. Authors include Mara Antelling, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Guido Gozzano, Oscar Wilde, Jolanda, Aldo Palazzeschi, Marchesa Colombi, Matilde Serao, Virginia Woolf.

An original component of this course is a close collaboration with Mount Holyoke College’s Skinner Museum, where students choose and work with selected museum objects. The aim of this activity is to learn the significance of an object both from a literary and from a material culture, point of view.

The final project for this course is a website dedicated to a museum object.