Casey Harrington has been working to match the right name to the right work of art.
“I am trying to accurately attribute the authorship of the painting as part of my honor’s thesis in art history,” said Harrington, a member of the Class of 2013 at Clark University in Massachusetts. She is working under the guidance of professor of art history John Garton.
Harrington is a member of the first class of students conducting projects under LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) at Clark.
She worked to help establish the authorship, historical context and importance of a little-studied Renaissance painting in the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum, “Antonio Montalvo’s Wife and One of His Sons”; the portrait is currently attributed to the Mannerist painter Agnolo Bronzino.
“At present, I have concluded that the work should be attributed to the circle of Bronzino, implying that it was created during a much more contemporary period than a work by a follower would have been completed,” Harrington said. “I am also going to propose a title change, so that it will be listed as ‘Donna Guevara and One of Her Sons,’ rather than its current title, which uses the husband of the sitter’s name.”
She reviewed historical information and information from the museum.
“That data has revealed the kinds of paint used, how the under-drawing was created, its overall current condition, and past assessments of authorship,” Harrington said. “I am actively working to develop my own methodology of the practice, using firsthand study (practiced in the Met and Frick Collection in New York, the Uffizi and Palatine galleries in Florence, and of course in the WAM) augmented with past research — including information about costume and jewelry, gender roles and the artists Pontormo, Bronzino and Allori — and conservation data.”
Harrington said, in an email to the Shelton Herald, that she has always been interested in art.
“I liked to draw and even considered going to art school,” she said. “However, I realized I didn’t quite have the talent, motivation or passion to do anything with it, and decided my sophomore year of college to major in art history after taking a couple of courses in the subject.”
She is majoring in art history. On campus, she is involved with Marathoners Club. Harrington is the recipient of a Bickman Award and a Presidential Scholarship and is a dean’s list student. She is a 2009 graduate of Lauralton Hall School.
“LEEP has given me the resources to travel and study firsthand various works by Bronzino, his master Pontormo, his pupil Allori, and other followers and students. For other students, LEEP has provided assistance in terms of valuable contacts in the community, living expenses in places of study, and other areas of expenses,” said Harrington. “My project is conducted independently of the Worcester Art Museum, but when I complete it in the spring of 2013 and present it at Clark’s Academic Spree Day, I will share it with them to be filed in their library. If my work is particularly successful, I will be able to present my findings at academic conferences.”