Thursday, March 24, 2011

Noted Expert on Italian Architect Palladio to Deliver Janson-La Palme Lecture in Art History

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Dr. Bruce Boucher, a distinguished expert on the highly influential 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, will deliver the eighth annual Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History at Washington College on Wednesday, April 13.
Boucher, director of the University of Virginia Art Museum, will present "Palladio in a Cold Climate: The Pitfalls of Palladianism," at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
The illustrated lecture will survey the characteristics of the great architect’s designs and discuss examples of his buildings. Addressing the translation of Palladio’s theories into modern realities, Boucher will point out the changes in scale and floor plans that complicate the notion of a lineal descent from the villas and palaces Palladio designed in the Vicenza region to today’s widespread use of the style. The talk will conclude with American buildings strongly influenced by Palladio, including Drayton Hall in Charleston, S.C.
Boucher’s career as an architectural historian, educator and curator spans more than 35 years. Prior to joining the University of Virginia Art Museum last spring, he spent seven years as curator of European sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago (2002-2009) and two years as a visiting researcher and curator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (2000-2002). For the previous 24 years, he taught art history at University College London.

Author of numerous books, including Andrea Palladio: The Architect in His Time, Boucher lectures widely on Palladio and other Italian artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He was chief curator of the exhibition, "Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture from Donatello to Canova," which was shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2001-2002. He also co-authored the exhibition catalog.

Boucher earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Classics and English from Harvard University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Language and Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Before entering Oxford, he traveled to Italy and fell in love with the art and architecture there, an experience that led him to change his course of research. After Oxford he went on to earn a doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.
A member of numerous professional organizations and advisory committees, Boucher has been recognized with many awards and honors, including the Alexander von Humbolt Fellowship and a fellowship at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti. His monograph on the sculpture of Venetian architect Jacopo Sansovino won the prestigious Salimbeni Prize, awarded by the Fondazione Salimbeni in Florence to honor excellence in the writing of art history on an Italian subject.
The Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History was established by Washington College Professor Emeritus Robert J. H. Janson-La Palme and his wife, Bayly, to bring internationally known scholars on European art to campus for public lectures and presentations. For more information, visit