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Art History 101 … no exam is a new book by former University of Texas at San Antonio professor Anne Rabat that brings readers a closer look at 20 artworks from 20 eras. Best of all, there are no exams in a typical Art History 101 course.
“One of the beautiful things is that when you look at all these things that are in front of you, they thematically connect us,” Rabat said. “The fact that someone painted their hand 30,000 years ago and left it on the wall of a cave still has that kind of art around us that is done with our hands or with our bodies. So I think that The connection is really beautiful.”
Former UT San Antonio professor Anne Rabat will present her new book, “Art History 101…Without Exams,” at The Twig Bookstore on September 27.
This book is a collection of 20 lectures Rabat gave at the San Antonio Museum of Art over a 2.5-year period from 2013 to 2015. What started out as a book club-like atmosphere where friends could study art over a glass of wine soon saw Rabat offer a “blueprint for art history” and theaters were packed.
“How can you get a bird’s-eye view of what we’re told is a masterpiece,” Rabat said. “What makes it a masterpiece? Like, why? You can’t just tell me that, I’ll just say ‘Oh, okay. “Why is the Mona Lisa worth spending hours in front of? Not everyone can jump right to Paris and stick their nose in to study it.”
Rabat is a native of San Antonio and studied in San Antonio. Mary Hall prior to her undergraduate degree at Barnard College, Columbia University. She went on to earn an MA at the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Byzantine Art History at the University of Chicago and Yale University.
Along the way, she spent time at The Met in New York City and took several summer research trips to Rome, deepening her knowledge in various fields of art.
Annie Labatt speaks at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Art History 101 Examine artworks from prehistoric cave paintings all the way to modern art from Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. But in each section, Rabat connects the examined pieces with San Antonio art as a way to demonstrate the Alamo City’s connection to numerous artistic styles and periods.
“It reveals what we see around us. It illuminates the environment around you,” Rabat said. “It’s about being aware and seeing with that intensity and that joy. San Antonio has so many treasures, and I think the more we appreciate these things and know they’re there, the more we can protect them. If we don’t notice them , we won’t take care of them.”
Rabat’s book also received special commentary from HEB Chairman and President Charles Barth. HEB is one of the main sponsors of her lecture series, providing themed food for each artwork. Rabat said she was moved to have the support of a company that means so much to San Antonio.
Upcoming, Labatt will be holding a reading and Q&A at The Pearl’s The Twig Book Shop on Tuesday, September 27th.
“I want them to be excited about the book, excited to read the chapters and learn about these incredible masterpieces, and inspired to look hard, to see with a new insight,” Rabat said. .