Consigning the Old Masters to Limbo: Samuel Butler’s Influence on How I Teach Art and Art History

Believing that his art school education and the closed-mindedness of the Victorian establishment had constrained his natural talents, Samuel Butler spent the latter half of his life as a self-taught traveller, gradually accumulating knowledge of monuments, museums and art works, and sketching in the field. Dr Clarice Zdanski discusses how her approach to her own work and teaching has been guided by Samuel Butler’s theories of art history, and explains how viewing things ‘off the beaten track’ can bring a whole new set of artistic possibilities to light.

Originally from the United States, Clarice Zdanski studied painting and printmaking at the University of North Carolina, and art history at the University of Chicago. She currently lives and works in Italy, where she is involved in numerous cultural activities including exhibitions, concerts, research on art, and translations of books on art and architecture. Since 2007 she has been ‘Artist in Residence’ at the American university Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, where she teaches art and art history courses and leads travel seminars.

This talk was given at the second Butler Day, on Saturday 12th January 2013.