August 2011 Articles

Art student goes to the Met

By Margaret Ernst ’11

Angélique Wille

While a graduate intern, history of art Ph.D. candidate Angélique Wille worked on “Worlds to Discover,” Bryn Mawr’s 125th Anniversary exhibit. She investigated a collection of Rembrandt prints to determine which were direct copies, which were merely influenced by Rembrandt, and which were by Rembrandt himself. In premodern European workshops, she explains, students could only work in the style of their master until they completed their apprenticeship. Many masters, including Rembrandt, signed their own name to works executed by their students.

“It’s a good illustration of how notions of the importance of authenticity in art have changed,” says Wille.

This year she’ll go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a Slifka Foundation Interdisciplinary Fellow for 2011–2012 to explore the museum’s Northern Renaissance collection.

Wille wrote her senior thesis on how Italian and Flemish artists influenced each other, and her masters thesis was on Hieronymus Bosch. Her dissertation will explore ideas about authenticity in 15th century Flemish workshops. The Slifka fellowship will expose her to scientific and technical methods used by art conservators to distinguish between originals and copies.

“I hope it will give me the chance to talk to curators at museums around the world about these issues,” says Wille.