Art history research reveals surprising discoveries

Two Cornell College students are learning firsthand that exploring the world of art history can be filled with surprises.

Steven Coburn ’18 and Jessica Meis ’19 are getting their hands on a collection of 58 old, European drawings that many don’t even know exists. They were given to Cornell College in the 1950s but date back to the 16th through 19th centuries. Other than an appraisal in the 1990s, not many have had the chance to take an in-depth look at the art pieces. The student researchers are finding that some pieces even have unexpected, secondary drawings on the back of the original drawing.

Coburn and Meis are spending the 10 weeks of the Cornell Summer Research Institute working with Professor Christina Penn-Goetsch to examine the drawings that make up what’s called the Sonnenshein collection.

The students are exploring every facet of the drawings by removing the art from the frames, taking notes, and looking at the fine details. Coburn and Meis are photographing each drawing to create a website. They’ll also create a gallery show of the unique pieces.

Watch their video story:

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