Dr. Virginia Chieffo Raguin
Visual Arts Department
Distinguished Professor of Humanities
Fields: Medieval art history, stained glass
Both in teaching and scholarship, I am interested in religious art of all kinds, patterns of collecting, and intersections of the visual image and written culture. Most recently I edited Art, Piety, and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500-1700, Ashgate, 2010. I also worked with Sarah Stanbury, Department of English, and photographed East Anglian churches and guild halls to explore the physical context of medieval literary figures such as Julian of Norwich (Revelations) William Langland (Piers Plowman) Margery Kempe (The Book of Margery Kempe) and John Lydgate (poetry). See Mapping Margery Kempe. I have team-taught with many other professors, in Music, History, and Literature, and have been involved in both the Divine and the Natural World clusters of Montserrat. We actually created light installations in front of Hogan that reflected the diminishing hours of darkness and increasing hours of light leading to the March Equinox. In 2012, the Concentration Seminar traveled for a week in Cologne, where in addition to churches and museums, my German colleagues in stained glass provided an intensive tour of the restoration studio of the cathedral.
Many of my publications focus on stained glass, both historic and modern, as in Stained Glass from its Origins to the Present with Abrams (USA) and Thames and Hudson (GB) in 2003. A member of the International Corpus Vitrearum, I have co-authored Stained Glass before 1700 in the Midwest United States (Harvey Miller Press, London, 2002). I also wrote the catalogue essay for Kiki Smith's exhibition in the Pace Gallery, New York: Kiki Smith: Lodestar, 2010. I am currently at work on Stained Glass before 1700 in California (vol. 1, Los Angeles). Stained Glass: Radiant Art, a richly illustrated guide to the collection of medieval and Renaissance stained glass in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, was published in 2013. From an experience of over 30 years of collaborative exchange with colleague in 20 countries, I've been deeply involved in questions of conservation and the commitment of maintaining historic sites as essential aspects of culture.
My museum exhibits have included Glory in Glass: Stained Glass in the United States: Origin, Variety and Preservation 1998-99, and Reflections on Glass: 20th Century Stained Glass in American Art and Architecture, 2002-03, at the Gallery at the American Bible Society, Catholic Collecting, Catholic Reflection 1538-1850: Objects as a measure of reflection on a Catholic past and the construction of recusant identity in England and America: Cantor Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, 2006. Most recently I organized Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, a traveling exhibition with venues in Worcester, Chicago, Richmond, and The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, from 2010 through 2011.
My husband is French, and a software engineer for EMC. Both my sons are engineers, one in optics, working with fingerprint and iris recognition technologies and the other providing software systems for insurance companies. Both live in Acton and I am delightedly watching the lives of their five children.
I have a collection of 19th-century religious art, predominantly prints, many in their original frames. They include Lutheran baptismal certificates (in German), Catholic marriage and communion certificates (in French, German, and English), devotional imagery, including a Currier and Ives Sacred Heart of Mary, an Italian (Naples) image of St. Rocco, patron of victims of the plague, a Polish Virgin and Child, an Hispanic image of Christ in Gethsemane, and Currier and Ives prints, such as The Mother's Dream, Looking unto Jesus, and Bed Time (a mother teaching her young children to say their prayers).