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Focus or Foci

January 23, 2013

Giorgione books

An academic colleague of mine recently described my career as follows “A first glance at her resume might suggest that it lacks a clear focus,…” it doesn’t matter that the same colleague went on to say a lot of nice things about me and my work the sentence above is what’s ringing in my ears.

That sentence has had me taking a look at my career.  Has it really lacked focus?   Academically I’m supposed to be an art historian with a concentration in 15th century and early 16th century Italian painting–up to the 1527 Sack of Rome.   After that, I’m not much interested.

My shelf in Ingalls Library has a core set of texts on Giorgione which are even now glaring at me across the reading room, their bindings taught with anger, or slack with despair at my current inability to focus on the project at hand.   I used them last summer to complete an article for a Festschrift, celebrating the academic career of my dissertation adviser, Dr. Edward J. Olszewski, and there they continue to sit because my research uncovered enough for a book on the subject–a purported Giorgione painting in the permanent collection of the San Diego Museum of Art–but no time settle down and put together my outline.  If/when I get around to writing it the story has everything: reclusive collectors, shifty dealers, mysterious appearances, disappearances, and reappearances of the work in question, and conservators who have declined to speak on or off the record about the painting (what’s that about?).  I’ll get to it someday, or I won’t.  It’s as simple as that.  Meanwhile, there are other projects and subjects equally as compelling in the pipeline.

Somewhere the road diverged and I became something other than the academic scholar I had originally intended to become.  All in all, I think I’d rather have foci than focus.   A tapestry with only one color might be beautiful but would it be interesting?

One Comment
  1. Just discovered your blog through a roundabout string of links – fun to read what you’ve been up to in recent years! I’ll follow you so I can stay updated on what you’re doing. My website is over at:

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