Emory University professor to give Dickson Memorial Lecture in Art History

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Sarah McPhee, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Art History, Emory University, Atlanta, will give a public lecture, “The Brief Career of Giovanni Battista Falda,” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, in 112 Borland Building on the Penn State University Park campus. McPhee’s lecture is part of the Harold E. Dickson Memorial Lecture Series, which honors one of the founders of the Penn State Department of Art History.

Giovanni Battista Falda (1643–78) was one of the most important and prolific engravers active in Rome during his lifetime. His many prints of the city's major monuments, and a magnificent map, were among the most popular images of the city. Detailing a bounty of new archival evidence, McPhee will unpack Falda's life and work. She also will discuss a digital humanities project that she undertook with collaborators in Emory University's Information Technology division. Using gaming software, they created a "virtual Rome" of the 17th century, using Falda's prints as their guide. Some volumes of Falda's work from Penn State’s Special Collections Library will be on hand so that attendees and McPhee can discuss them.

McPhee’s research focuses on 17th- and 18th-century European architecture, urbanism and drawings; Baroque sculpture; and artistic biography. She has published several books, including "Bernini’s Beloved: A Portrait of Costanzo Piccolomini" (Yale University, 2012), and is currently working on "Gianlorenzo Bernini: A Topographical Life." She recently curated an exhibition of early modern prints and maps of Rome, "Antichità, Teatro, Magnificenza: Renaissance and Baroque Images of Rome," at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University.

Earning bachelor of arts, master of arts and doctoral degrees in art history from Harvard College and Columbia University, McPhee has received numerous honors, including Emory Williams Teaching Award (2013), Samuel H. Kress Foundation Subvention Grant (2012), and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2008-09).

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