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Senior Julianna Struck (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) is journeying back to historic Pompeii through an independent study in art. She is examining a number of primary sources, including archaeological reports and texts, to gain insight into the life of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), a Dutch-born artist.

An art major, Struck is being guided by Diane Cole Ahl, Arthur J. ’55 and Barbara S. Rothkopf Professor of Art History.

Ahl has edited a groundbreaking collection of essays on an influential Florentine painter of the early Renaissance, The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, published this summer by Cambridge University Press, and contributed an essay to the volume. She also was co-curator for an international exhibition on Benozzo Gozzoli this summer. She is the author of Benozzo Gozzoli, named an Outstanding Academic Book of 1997 by CHOICE, the publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and co-awarded the 1998 Otto Gründler Prize for Best Book in Medieval Studies at the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Alma-Tadema was one of the most well known artists in Britain before World War I, and his works are some of the most technically exquisite to come out of the Victorian era, says Struck, who spent two semesters in Italy. During her stay, she studied art and architecture in Florence and visited Pompeii and Rome several times.

“I am fascinated by the profound influence Alma-Tadema’s travels in Italy had on his painting,” she says. “He was one of the first artists to see the ruins of Pompeii. With his own creative interpretations of the ruins, he shaped the impressions that Pompeii’s discovery made on people in Britain, helping set trends and develop tastes and sensibilities that now distinguish the Victorian legacy.”

Struck has applied for Fulbright, Gates, and Rhodes fellowships and hopes to continue her research under one of these auspices after completing the independent study. In the meantime, she is gaining valuable research experience working with databases and printed material.

Struck feels privileged to have Ahl as a teacher and mentor and calls her “an amazing, caring instructor.” She adds, “In spite of her demanding schedule, Professor Ahl is generous with her time and is always willing to listen to ideas and give advice. Her enthusiasm is highly contagious.”

Ahl says Julianna is an excellent student and researcher. “It is a pleasure to work with her. She is a good writer and is extremely diligent, persistent, and imaginative. She always seeks the primary source, and her fascination with the object speaks well for her future in art history.”

“Lafayette offers the ideal academic environment for independent projects,” says Struck. “I have come to know all of my professors well, and they have been most helpful. The college’s proximity to major cities and resources presents many opportunities. Students can easily travel to New York, Philadelphia, or Allentown for concerts, operas, exhibits, and shows and can take advantage of libraries and museums at nearby institutions. I couldn’t have picked a better school to study art.”

Struck interned for the curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she was able to research and maintain British period rooms. While studying in Italy, she led tours of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, served as an English tutor at the University of Florence, and was a member of the Opera/Theater/Prose Club.

A member of the College Arts Society, Struck is head usher and box office clerk at the Williams Center for the Arts. She is involved in intramural sports; plays piano, flute, and percussion instruments; and belongs to a cancer support group.

Categorized in: Academic News