aix_2History of Earth and Life in Provence: Nature, Buildings, and Society
Kevin Murphy and Betsey Robinson

This EOS Project will result in a truly transformative experience for students enrolling in a Maymester History of Art course based at Vanderbilt-in-France, in Aix-en-Provence. The class, to be developed with EOS funding, will explore the landscapes of southern France in geological time and across human history, sampling human inventions and experiences, from Paleolithic art in caves used for shelter to the Unité d’habitation in Marseille, Le Corbusier’s famous “machine for living.” The course will be grounded in the history of architecture and designed landscapes, surveying public and private (domestic) buildings, temples, churches, monasteries, ports, planned cities, and nature parks. We shall take time to consider Provence’s relation to the Mediterranean and fresh water management, manipulation of light in Romanesque and Gothic churches, the adaptation of modernist architecture to the environment, and the representation of all the elements on Mont Saint-Victoire. By preparing this Maymester course, which in the future could be taught by any number of faculty members who have interests in this region of France, the investigators will be creating a permanent component of the History of Art curriculum that explores the intersections between landscape and culture.