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Home » News » Notes From the Field: Sarah Buck on Dissertation Research

Notes From the Field: Sarah Buck on Dissertation Research

Published July 3, 2014

Sarah BuckFall 2013 and Spring 2014 have been busy semesters for FSU Department of Art History PhD student Sarah Buck.

In October 2013, with the support of a Helen J. Beard conference grant, Sarah presented her paper “Les Costumes grotesques (c. 1695): Prints and Professional Habits in the ancien régime” at the symposium “Fashioning Identities: Types, Customs, & Dress in a Global Context” hosted by the Department of Art History at Hunter College of CUNY in NYC.

Sarah’s paper drew from her dissertation research, which focuses on Les Costumes Grotesques (the Grotesque Costumes of the Trades), a collection of one hundred seventeenth-century French prints begun by Parisian almanac engraver Nicolas de Larmessin (c. 1632-1694) during the second half of the reign of Louis XIV. Each of the black and white prints of the Costumes features an elegantly-posed “tradesman” whose body is rendered imaginatively out of the instruments and tools of his occupation. Sarah’s dissertation argues that the Costumes embodied positive and negative attitudes towards ancien régime consumerism and French involvement in early-modern commerce.

Her project also examines the extensive printing history of this group of prints, an aspect she explored in December 2013 and February 2014 during research trips to Paris, New York City, and Boston with the aid of an FSU Department of Art History Penelope E. Mason Dissertation Research Grant. In Paris, Sarah tracked down and examined copies of the Costumes held at the Bibliothéque Nationale’s Richelieu, Opera, and Arsenal Libraries. In New York and Boston Sarah traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s print department, the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Costume and Textiles Department, and to the rare-book dealer Ars Libri to study these repositories’ sets of Larmessin’s Costumes.

Throughout the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters Sarah has been assisting Professor Kyle Killian with the development of an online version of the FSU Department of Art History’s ARH 2000 Art, Architecture, and Artistic Vision class. This course will be part of FSU’s new Liberal Studies for the 21st Century curriculum and will be offered to undergraduate students in August 2014.

Summer and Fall 2014 promise to be equally productive for Sarah. This summer she will teach “Sunrise to Sunset: Portraiture, Patronage, and Power in France during the Reign of Louis XIV (1661-1715),” a seminar for FSU Department of Art History undergraduate majors that will examine the art of seventeenth-century France. Recently Sarah was awarded the FSU Department of Art History’s Friends of Art History Research Grant, which will enable her to conduct research in London this fall. During this trip Sarah will examine Dutch reprints of Larmessin’s Costumes and other related works preserved in the collections of the British Museum and the Wellcome Library.