Academics / Faculty Dr. Helen
Watterson

"Art history is a constantly evolving field, where new ideas arise and transform our vision of the past." –Helen Manner Watterson

A leading expert in art history, Dr. Helen Manner Watterson has published many articles in her field and participated in the documentary Michelangelo: Artist and Man, part of the long-running documentary series Biography from A&E.

Dr. Helen Manner Watterson teaches Art History at SACI. Throughout her career she has received countless awards and accolades, including the Yale University Fellowship, the Roberto Longhi Fellowship, the Kress Travelling Fellowship, the Edmond James Scholar, Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Most Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in History of Art, University of Illinois.

Since 1980, she has taught Italian medieval, Renaissance, mannerist, and baroque art and architecture at American university programs in Florence. She has published many articles on Italian medieval art and architecture.

Dr. Helen Manner Watterson has a BFA, University of Illinois; MPhil and PhD in History of Art, Yale University. Her dissertation on "Romanesque Architectural Sculpture in Viterbo" was based on research she began in Florence in 1972.

Teaching Philosophy
My philosophy of teaching can be summed up in three basic points. First, I firmly believe in exploiting to the maximum the unique possibilities that art history in Florence offers in terms of holding classes on site in the museums and monuments of this extraordinary city.

Seeing the works in their original context helps students to more fully grasp their meaning, and also enables them to know their exact appearance far better than is possible from slides and illustrations in books.

Second, I believe that the art here should not be studied for a comprehension of style alone, but rather that it should be viewed as a mirror of the culture from which it developed, thus allowing it to become a way of looking into and bringing alive crucial periods of Italian history fundamental to the evolution of western civilization.

Third, I try to give students some idea of current issues revolving around the interpretation of works we study, thus showing them that art history is a constantly evolving field, where new ideas arise and transform our vision of the past.

"Art history is a constantly evolving field, where new ideas arise and transform our vision of the past." –Helen Manner Watterson

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