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Video: Heather Hyde Minor on the enduring relevance of art history

Author: Todd Boruff

“We live in a culture that's absolutely saturated in visual images, and perhaps because we're surrounded by them all the time, we don't often ask questions about those images. Art history teaches you those skills,” said Heather Hyde Minor, an associate professor of art history at Notre Dame.

Minor specializes in the history of European art and architecture from 1600 to 1800. Her current research examines the life of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, an 18th-century German art historian and archaeologist whom many consider to be the founder of the modern discipline of art history.

Minor was awarded the Rome Global Gateway Faculty Research Award to conduct primary research on Winkelmann in Roman archives as well as at Accademia Rubiconia Dei Filopatridi, an archive in Romagna in northeast Italy. Minor hopes that studying Winckelmann’s biography will help scholars better understand the discipline of art history.

“What exactly happened in the 18th century to make this person such a critical figure and to make his ideas so important, so long-lasting that we're still talking about and debating them today?” Minor said.