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UT Arlington art history professor begins quest to bring Old Master drawings to North Texas

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - This summer, UT Arlington art history professor, Mary Vaccaro, will travel to France to begin work on a project that may bring rare Old Master drawings to North Texas.

Mary Vacarro

Mary Vaccaro

Vaccaro was recently awarded a grant from the Texas Fund for Curatorial Research. The money will enable her to conduct onsite research of Italian drawings from 14th to 16th Century artists.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Vaccaro said. “I get to go into these collections and look at their holdings. It will be a great opportunity to bring these drawings to North Texas.”

Vaccaro’s research will be focused on collections housed with the French Regional and American Museum Exchange (FRAME) members. Founded in 1999, FRAME is a formal collaboration of museums in France, the United States and Canada. Vaccaro hopes the works she uncovers will eventually fill a future exhibition at a local museum.

“There are no public collections [of Old Master drawings] in North Texas, only private collections,” she said. “My trip is about going to see if there are enough drawings to build a show.”

Often, Italian painters, sculptors and architects like Raphael, Michelangelo and da Vinci made drawings before they began their seminal work. The advent of the printing press and other technology made higher quality paper more affordable. Vaccaro said these drawings attract interest from the general public and private collectors.

“You can have a much more intimate relationship with a drawing than a painting,” she said. “Each artist has a kind of handwriting for his or her work. You can hold the drawing in your hands [and] get so close to them. You get a sense of direct contact with an artist who was working 500 years ago.”

Beth Wright, dean of the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts, said Vaccaro’s international reputation in the field of Italian Renaissance art has been demonstrated throughout her career.

“This fellowship demonstrates not only her international standing but the contribution which she is making to educational excellence in her training of students, who are being prepared to take their place in the leading universities and museums,” Wright said.

Vaccaro will examine six different collections during her month-long research trip in July.

For more information about FRAME, visit www.framemuseums.org.

Dr. Vaccaro’s work is representative of the research under way at The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution with nearly 34,000 students in the heart of North Texas.

For more information, visit www.uta.edu.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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