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Undergrad Art History Research Symposium


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Maura Valentine-Wilson '18, a Dominican senior earning her bachelor's degree in Art History, is one of 10 Bay Area college students selected to present in the 9th Annual Bay Area Undergraduate Art History Research Symposium in the Koret Auditorium at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco on Saturday April 14.

The 15-minute presentations will be from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Maura, who is simultaneously working towards her master's degree in Humanities with an emphasis in Art History, will present "Nôtre Dame de Paris, Before, During, and After the Hunchback: A Study in Medievalism." This paper builds on one that Maura wrote as a class assignment for Dr. Leslie Ross's class on Medievalism

Visitors to Paris, France every year include one destination on their itineraries: Nôtre Dame Cathedral. This structure, known and idolized across the world, has become a symbol of Gothic life in Paris. However, when tourists view the iconic building, do they see a Gothic cathedral or do they see something else? What does Nôtre Dame mean to those who visit it, take pictures with it, and wait hours in line to walk through it? When Nôtre Dame was designed the building had a clear religious purpose, but centuries after completion the building’s meaning was subject to interpretation. What was once a pilgrimage destination for devout Christians became a symbol of out-dated traditionalism, a monument to the monarchy, and was turned in to a literary character by creators including Victor Hugo and Walt Disney Studios. This paper explores why and how Nôtre Dame's image changed and what each generation of visitors understands Nôtre Dame to mean.