Featured Scholar: Thuvia Martin

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Featured Scholar: Thuvia Martin
Watson, Sara
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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L NI'P.SJl * FL'I'RID\ Featured Scholar
Journal of
Undergraduate Thulia Martin
Research 2006 - 2007 University Scholar

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ubl1ssIis one 18th century Spanish king's choice of portraiture.

Archives Martin's University Scholar's Program project analyzes the impact that paintings of Philip

Scholar Profiles V might have had on the Spanish national self-image during the 18th century.

Contact Et Staff "Coming from the court of Versailles, and seeing how effective Louis XIV's mode of
representation was, Philip V hoped to emulate that, but found that transferring that very
University Scholars Program rigid type of representation didn't work in a culture that was completely different from
the one that he had been raised in, a culture that was already going through a
Undergraduate Research tumultuous period with transitions of monarchies and trying to break through into
Resources modernity or what Europe was considering to be modern," Martin said.

Search: Martin said her research could open up questions about how the style continued to

develop in the Spanish Bourbon monarchy and eventually progressed to other famous

Enter Search Terms artists, such as Goya, towards the end of the 18th century.

Early Love of Art and History

Martin said she always loved history and enjoyed studio art. An Art History graduate,
with a minor in theater production and a certificate in Latin American Studies, Martin now
works as a production technician at the Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Gainesville.
When she began her studies at UF, Martin wanted to combine her two interests.

The deeper she got into the program, the more she "could appreciate Art History as a
field within itself, outside ofjust history or studio art," Martin said.

She chose art history because it allows her to combine historical fact and hands-on
artwork with a study of artists' choices of medium and their attempts to use art to
communicate with people.

Gender Studies in Art

Martin's idea for her University Scholar's Program project originated in a paper she wrote
her senior seminar course on 18th century French representation taught by Melissa Hyde
in the Fall of 2006.

"I fell in love with the era," Martin said. "The paper that I wrote for that seminar was
really about cross dressing and what kind of effects or end results people in positions of
power hoped to get from cross dressing."

When Martin designed her University Scholars Program project, she said wanted to look
more deeply at the same topic while concentrating on Spain so she could draw on her
language studies to use primary sources in her research. Martin's research took her to a
number of European museums and to New York's Frick Art Reference Library. She also
spent time at Versailles.

"It was important for me to go and get a sense of the grandeur of the place, exactly how
successfully Louis XIV conveyed his power and wealth and might as a king, in a structure
that kings across Europe have tried to imitate since he built it," Martin said.

Finding Philip V

Martin said that it took about four months for her to find that Philip V was the best
Spanish figure on which to focus the thesis of her research.

"Slowly but surely, I found Phillip V and all these questions that surrounded his reign
and the different problems that he had with his court and abroad, the issues that he
faced with his own people and how his portraits at the time made a bold statement to
everyone surrounding him."

Martin said when she visited the European museums she noticed how stark and dark the
Spanish portraiture of the period was. After the 18th century, the art got instantly
brighter and much more French. When she was researching at the Frick library, she
pulled all the books she could on Spanish art from the 16th-18th centuries and found
that same starkness.

"I fell upon Philip and realized that he was the one at this sort of juncture in the history
of Spanish art," Martin said. Philip tried to adhere to Spanish standards of masculinity,
but those standards seemed to be completely rejected by the Philip V portrait, after
which he faced even more problems in his reign.

Benefits of USP Research

For Martin, the advantages of her university scholars program project included both the
length of the project and the close working relationship she developed with her mentor.

"I am very grateful I had the opportunity to work so closely with Dr. Hyde. You have

ready and available advice but . . . you have so much freedom to develop the project in a
way that both the student writing the paper and the mentor are excited to see happen."

Working on a long-term project gave her the freedom explore her topic and thesis,
enabling her to choose a focus interesting to her and other people, she said.

Martin also feels that her experience on this project will help her secure a position doing
post-graduate work.

"Finding different resources that don't support what you thought you wanted to argue
and accepting that your argument has to change was an invaluable experience that will
unquestionably help me in graduate school where research is the primary goal," Martin


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