BA Honors | Art History
I am a senior Art History major with minors in Italian Studies and Studio Art hailing from South Bend, IN. I am most interested in the study of ancient and medieval Italian art and architecture, but I also enjoy contemporary sculpture and installations. My favorite artists are Judy Chicago and Cindy Sherman—I draw inspiration from their manipulation of history through art, inciting critical and creative activity in the minds of their viewers. As a developing art historian and artist, I strive to apply this same method in my own approach to reshaping, recontextualizing, and redefining material culture.
This thesis explores the persistence of muralism as a medium for political power. It considers the ambivalent role assumed by both the government-sanctioned and constituent-protest muralist in the span between medieval and contemporary wall painting. In Section 1, my theory establishes the medium’s intrinsic properties of political monumentality: its democracy of display, participatory experience, and dynamic tensions across space, time, and content. These aspects provide a framework for analyzing in Sections 2 and 3, respectively, Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s medieval fresco cycle in the Sienese Palazzo Pubblico and Banksy’s contemporary stencil motifs on the streets of London. Ultimately, the seemingly disparate examples within the case study offer insight on similar strategies of constructive visual power despite their significant temporal, technical, and stylistic differences, a testament to the enduring power of wall painting in politics.