At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
Bennington's approach to art history, like our approach to everything at Bennington, is highly interdisciplinary. Students are invited to make connections between historical and contemporary art, between what informs their own practice and what has shaped artistic practice across the centuries and across the globe. Students' work in other subjects—the social sciences, languages, sciences, studio art—enrich their exploration of art in a historical context, and vice versa.
In their junior year, students are eligible to apply for the College’s Museum Fellows Term, in which they spend five months living in New York City; gain professional work experience at a major cultural institution; visit exhibitions and study multiple aspects of the art world with Bennington faculty; and meet artists, curators, and other arts and culture leaders. Field Work Term and study abroad experiences also provide opportunities to extend their study.
Vanessa Lyon's teaching and research range from early Renaissance to modern and contemporary visual culture with a focus on European painting. She is especially interested in cross-cultural exchange, the intersectionality of gender, race, and theology in early modern visuality, and the legacies of the 'Old Masters' in subsequent art and its histories.