Hoisington said that an exhibition of prints was ideal for a student-curating project. Partly, that's because the Baltimore museum is acknowledged as having one of the most significant collections of works on paper in the nation.
And unlike watercolors or oil paintings, works on paper can be examined unframed, and viewed up close by her student helpers — some of whom had little background in the fine arts. For example, the class included a freshman studying mechanical engineering, as well as an aspiring lawyer.
"The students came in with fresh perspectives, and they had ideas about how to display the series that never would have occurred to me," Hoisington says.
"I was impressed with how much research they did. They would sometimes find out things about these works that I didn't even know."
Hayley Plack, 23, says that the opportunity to closely examine a series of prints in which artists developed visual ideas and solved problems will be invaluable as she pursues a career in art history.
In particular, she was fascinated by a series of 20 19th-century etchings by Ludovic Napoleon Lepic of views of the bank of the Scheldt River in France and Belgium. Today, Lepic's name is far less known to the general public than that of his close friend, the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas.
But it was Lepic who devised a method of variable etching, in which an artist creates "copies" that differ significantly from the original based on the amount and pattern of ink applied to the plate. And it was Lepic who taught the technique to his famous friend.
"I'm such a visual person, and for most of my classes I had to learn about art from textbooks and lectures," says Plack, who graduated from Hopkins in May with a degree in art history.
"Being able to examine the prints and see how they were created made the process much more real to me. It gave us so many practical skills. This class was more helpful than a lot of the internships I've had."
If you go
"Print by Print: Series from Durer to Lichtenstein" runs through March 25 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Free. Call 443-573-1700 or go to artbma.org.