Bapst fine arts collection

More Non-Arts Majors Are Using Library

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Bapst Library has become a symbol of the growing cross-disciplinary emphasis on the arts at Boston College, with its fine arts collections drawing increasing numbers of non-arts majors, say faculty and library staff.

The library's use of modern technology has augmented its array of arts holdings, which include some 200 serials and more than 27,000 volumes. This combination makes Bapst a vital resource for the more than 2,600 students who take art history and studio art classes each year to fulfill the undergraduate core curriculum's one-course requirement in the arts, said Bapst Art Librarian Adeane Bregman.

"Since the arts were made part of the core several years ago, we've really seen an increase in the use of our materials," she said, "not only by arts majors, but by students in other disciplines or programs, such as Romance languages, history, the Honors Program, philosophy, theater and Irish Studies."

Among the resources available at Bapst are so-called "visual flash cards," which display images of paintings and sculptures via a computerized CD-ROM slide series for students in Prof. Josephine Von Henneberg's (Fine Arts) "Italian Renaissance Art" class and Asst. Prof. Claude Cernuschi's (Fine Arts) "Art Since 1945" course.

"It's very rare to be able to find one book that has all the visual images needed for one course," Bregman said of the series, devised by Andrea Frank, slide curator for Fine Arts, and Bapst staff. "It's not the same as seeing the painting live, but it's very useful to have."

Growing numbers of theology, history and English students also are visiting Bapst, Bregman notes, in many cases to read about paintings on display at the Museum of Fine Arts which they have been assigned to study in one of their classes.

In addition, Bregman said, non-arts faculty are finding Bapst's arts collections helpful in their teaching and scholarly work. Prof. Robin Lydenberg (English) has used its materials to plan a course on Surrealism, she said, and University Professor of Psychoanalysis William Meissner, SJ (Theology), has visited Bapst to do research on the painter Vincent Van Gogh.

"In fields such as history, literature and theology, there is a growing realization of the information contained in paintings and architecture," said Assoc. Prof. Jeffery Howe (Fine Arts). "For those disciplines, the arts offer a mirror on the past, and a window on the present."

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