Leonardo on the Quad!

Blog readers will know that on Friday, April 10 students in the interdisciplinary seminar JINS 394 Biography:  Leonardo built a bridge according to a design by Leonardo da Vinci.  For more information about the project, please visit this blog post: https://blogs.truman.edu/art/2015/04/09/leonardo-bridge-on-the-quad/

For now, here are some pictures of the construction below!  Stay tuned for more information about the bridge design and–we hope–a video of the construction.  The bridge should be up on the Quad until Friday, April 24.  If you visit the bridge please remember:  for safety’s sake, please do not climb on the bridge and please look with your eyes, not your hands.  Thank you.


Bridge components loaded into engineer Tim Baker's truck

Bridge components loaded into engineer Tim Baker’s truck

students  assemble the bridge

students assemble the bridge

A very Leonardo moment:  photo of a camera drone which Greg Marshall brought to use to film aerial views of the bridge.  Since Leonardo designed flying machines, we think he would have loved this

A very Leonardo moment: photo of a camera drone which Greg Marshall brought to use to film aerial views of the bridge. Since Leonardo designed flying machines, we think he would have loved this

us with bridge

Leonardo bridge on the Quad!

Leonardo da Vinci.  Miscellaneous Designs.  Codex Atlanticus (1478 - 1519), , f. 71v.  Milan:  Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

Leonardo da Vinci. Miscellaneous Designs. Codex Atlanticus (1478 – 1519), f. 71v. Milan: Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

On Friday, April 10 students in JINS 394 Biography: Leonardo will be building a bridge on the Quad according to a design by the Italian Renaissance creator extraordinaire, Leonardo da Vinci. Construction will begin at 10:30 a.m. and should be finished by the end of the 10:30 a.m. class block (so by 11:20 a.m.). The project has been overseen and directed by engineer Mr. Tim Baker (Physical Plant), with some materials donated by Mr. Baker but also funded by Dr. Scott Alberts (Office of Interdisciplinary Studies).  Please come join us to watch the bridge being put together!

The design was proposed by Leonardo in an undated drawing which appears above.  In the drawing, Leonardo envisioned a bridge which could be put together very quickly using readily available materials (in this case tree trunks) and which could be disassembled just as rapidly.  Although the version on the Quad will have some bolts and other reinforcements for safety purposes, Leonardo’s design holds together and supports significant weight without the use of any nails, bolts, or other fasteners;  it uses only the notches in the logs and the bridge’s own structure.

Leonardo likely had a variety of applications in mind for this design although it would have been particularly attractive for military uses (other drawings on the sheet relate to cannons).  An advancing army could use trees found on site, put the bridge together in a matter of minutes, and then–once used–could pull on strategically placed ropes and the bridge would come apart.  The components could then either be taken along or allowed to fall into a river or ravine below and swept away.  For more on Leonardo’s mobile bridge designs, please see this National Endowment for the Humanities essay by Leslie Geddes:  http://faculty.virginia.edu/Fiorani/NEH-Institute/essays/geddes

The drawing is one of 1,119 sheets found in the Codex Atlanticus in Milan.  This massive collection of miscellaneous drawings was assembled in the late sixteenth century, long after Leonardo’s death.  As a result, we do not have a good sense of the specific date of the drawing and so cannot speculate here about any specific patron or military campaign which he might have had in mind.  For more on the Codex Atlanticus, please visit: http://www.leonardo-ambrosiana.it/en/il-codice-atlantico/ or, to page through the entire codex, please visit:  http://www.leonardodigitale.com/

The bridge should be up for two weeks, so until Friday, April 24 so we hope you’ll stop by to see it!

FOR SAFETY’S SAKE, PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB ON THE BRIDGE!  Touch with your eyes – not your hands

Art History Alumnae in St. Louis


Valerie Lazalier ’11 (left)  and Natalie Chardonnet ’10 (right)

We both graduated from the art history program at Truman, and went on to work in museums and do graduate work related to the field. Last fall we were both looking for employment opportunities and coincidentally ended up working together for U.S. Art Company in their St. Louis office! In fact, in our office of four full-time staff, three of us are Truman grads.

The work we do involves coordinating with museums, galleries, and collectors worldwide to meet their art transportation needs. It is quite interesting to see all that goes on behind the scenes before a work of art even reaches a museum or gallery. It is also great to work with a friend.


If you are an alum and have news to share, we’d love to hear from you! Send us an e-mail at art@truman.edu.


Art alum in Venice!

window on canal

Congratulations to Art Department alum Galen Gibson-Cornell just finished a three-month artists’ residency in Venice, Italy at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica.  Galen sent some pictures of Venice and the student and had a closing exhibition there of his work as well.

More about Galen’s projects can also be found on these videos, produced as part of his involvement as a recipient of a Fulbright in the arts.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJVKALllSdM&list=UUizfDnsf3JvciqVVPhM5ZZQ (6:30 for Galen)

If you are an alum of the Art Department and have news to share, we’d love to hear from you!  Please drop us an e-mail at art@truman.edu.

me venice



Art History alumna returns to campus


Marjorie (Iwai) Maas (BA:  Art History) returned to campus on Wednesday, February 25 to work at the Career Fair on campus.  While she was here, she took time to meet with Art History Society members (and other majors) to talk about career opportunities in Art History and her own path in arts administration, arts lobbying, and college access.  It was great to have Marjorie back on campus and we look forward to a return visit soon!

If you are an alum and will be returning to the Kirksville area we’d love to hear from you.  Please e-mail us at art@truman.edu!

Prof. Fine’s interdisciplinary essay

Congratulations to Prof. Aaron Fine (Studio Art;  Director, University Art Gallery) whose essay entitled “Newton and Goethe:  A Dialogue on Color” was published in the recent issue of Impact, an interdisciplinary journal out of Boston University.  The essay appears on-line here:



Prof. Kambli presents work

Prof. Priya Kambli (Studio Art:  Photography) presented her recent project, Kitchen Gods, at Truman’s Faculty Research Conference on campus last week.  Her abstract for the talk appears below.  Prof. Kambli has also recently joined the Caucus for Faculty Scholarship organizing committee as well.  Congratulations, Prof. Kambli!

Project Description

One of my most startling early childhood memories is of finding one of my father’s painstakingly composed family photographs pierced by my mother. She cut holes in them so as to completely obliterate her own face while not harming the image of my sister and myself beside her. Even as a child I was aware that this act was quite significant—but what it signified was beyond my ability to decipher. As an adult I continue to be disturbed by these artifacts, which not only encompass the photographer’s hand but also the subject’s fingerprints. Even though her incisions have a violent quality to them, as an image-maker I am aesthetically drawn by the physical mark, its presence and its careful placement.

These marred artifacts have formed a reference point and inspiration for my new body of work, Kitchen Gods, but they do not limit the form my own work takes. I am fascinated by how the presence of a meditated mark alters and complicates the read of an otherwise mundane family portrait. My need to decipher and address my family photographs is personal. My work is rooted in my fascination with my parents—both of whom died when I was young. Therefore for me these family photographs hold even more mythological weight. In my work I labor to maintain my parents and ancestors the way Indian housewives do their kitchen deities.

I work directly with and on my family photographs building tableaux and memories—embedding marks and patterns in and on them. Like my mother I alter the stories they tell. My choice of materials, methods and approach are usually informed and driven by specific details within the family photographs themselves. I gravitate to materials that are humble, my preference being for things that are domestic and modest in nature—grounded in everyday use. In my work I re-contextualize the familial qualities of these materials for my own artistic and creative purposes, but also as a way of embellishing my past and connecting it to the present. The alterations I make to these photographs, the use of pattern in and on top of the object, have been described as a form of fenestration. Though they obscure the image, they create windows through which underlying structures are revealed.

I propose to discuss my latest series of photographs entitled Kitchen Gods in a presentation that addresses women’s photographic practices (both as photographer and photographer’s subject) and the reinterpretation of my family’s amateur photography archives. The images, digitally collaged and physically manipulated family photographs, engage with prints taken by my father and later defaced by my mother, in ways that address memory, loss, and the passing away of both these parents at an early age.

Gallery Opening Tonight!

Tonight is the opening reception and awards ceremony for the Annual Juried Student Exhibition.  The show has been juried by Stephanie Lanter of Emporia State University.

The reception starts at 6:00 p.m. in the University Art Gallery and will also include a gallery talk and performance by artist David Mazure (exhibition in the Side Gallery).

As always, this event is free and open to the public.  We hope to see you there!

Installation in the University Art Gallery

In addition to the Annual Juried Student Exhibition, the University Art Gallery is also currently hosting an installation by artist David Mazure and The MMXII Collective.  The installation, entitled:  New Mythologists:  The Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is on display in the side gallery.

David Mazure will be giving an artist’s talk about performance at the opening, Tuesday, March 3, 6:00 p.m. in the University Art Gallery (OP 1114).

As always, this event is free and open to the public.  We hope to see you there!