Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today was my last final exam ever, and I turned in my research papers too. I still have to complete my independent study project, which I will turn in after the holidays, but as of today I am officially finished with classes for credit! Even more exciting, the other day I received good news from my school. I've been awarded a Doctoral Student Research Grant. The award will help pay my expenses for a research trip I will be making to Liverpool, England next year. My proposal was to conduct research at the Walker Art Gallery and surrounding areas of Liverpool on the sculpture of John Gibson (1790-1866), about whom you may recall I gave a conference paper at Yale in November 2008. Gibson was born in Wales but his family moved to Liverpool when he was 9 years old. He received his early training in sculpting there, and his first patrons were all Liverpudlians. Despite his move to Rome he maintained a connection with this city, continuing to produce poetic subjects of gods and tomb monuments for many of its citizens. The image you see here is a photograph I took of Gibson's sculpture The Sleeping Shepherd Boy during my first visit to the Walker Art Gallery in April 2006 with my cousin HA in England. Gibson created the plaster cast of the statue in 1818 while he was studying with the great Antonio Canova (1757-1822), and he subsequently carved up to 3 versions in marble for different patrons. The Walker acquired this statue about 20 years ago, adding it to their already substantial holdings of sculpture by Gibson and others. It will be exciting to spend more time in Liverpool to do this research (in part also because a branch of my mother's family comes from this general area...I wonder if we're related?). I am very glad to have received this grant to help make the project happen, but since I probably won't be going until next fall, I will have to wait patiently until then.