This website is a product of a Barnard College seminar titled A Virtual Enlightenment, taught by Professor Anne Higonnet. Generously supported by the Mellon Foundation, the seminar enables students to reimagine the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Wrighstman Galleries’ period rooms with modern technologies. The proliferation of new knowledge and technologies during the Enlightenment parallels the application of technologies applied in this seminar. Students attended sessions at the Met to learn from Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide and Jeffrey Munger, curators in the European and Decorative Arts Department, about the museum’s collection of 17th and 18th century decorative arts and the installation of the Wrighstman Galleries. Another session was spent at the Frick Collection. These sessions inspired this group to reinvigorate objects and rooms seen by studying and visualizing their original use and space. 

Each member of this team contributed a different original use or space to the project. Alex resized the Varengeville Room and worked on the effects of lighting; Emma studied the gendered use of desks and its reflection of Enlightenment principles; Eugenie examined Madame de Pompadour’s toilette ritual; and Constance researched the symbolic use of lace. Read below to learn more about the team members. 

Alex Bass is a junior at Columbia College majoring in Art History and minoring in the Business Management Concentration. She has interned for artists such as photographer Robert Farber and at institutions such as Christie’s Auction House in their Museum Services department. At Columbia, she is a coordinator for Artists Reaching Out (ARO) through Community Impact where volunteers teach art in local elementary schools without arts funding. Alex does her own studio art in her spare time and is currently pursuing film photography. Check out her portfolio here.

Eugenie Pron is a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in Art History with a minor in Spanish. This seminar has inspired Eugenie to return to 1752 and be re-incarnated as Madame de Pompadour. 

Emma Snover is a member of the Barnard College Class of 2018 and is pursuing a major in Art History with minors in Economics and English. She has held internships at Christie’s Inc. and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. This seminar has inspired Emma to pursue how museums shape our understanding of the useable arts and how the humanities can be transformed through digital technologies. 

Constance Zhou is a member of Barnard College’s class of 2018 with a double major in Art History and Economics. Originally from Shanghai China, she spent one year in University of Virginia and transferred to Barnard to study Art History in this city. She is an active member of SGA Committee on Policy and is a dancer at CU China Dance. She has held internships at Sungari International Auction House in Beijing, China.