Union University
Union University Dept of History

Department News

Graduating History Major Presents Honors Thesis Defense

May 4, 2011 -

Mary Alisa Techentin, a graduating history major, presented her honors thesis defense on May 4, 2011. The title of her thesis was “Image and Imagination in Devotion: The Impact of the Counter-Reformation on Religious Painting in Spain, 1577-1688.” Her thesis advisor was Dr. David Thomas of the history department, and he, along with Dr. Scott Huelin (English) and Dr. David McClune (music), served as her thesis committee. Dr. Randall Bush, the former Director of Honors, moderated the event which twenty people attended.

In her presentation, Mary Alisa looked at different themes that artists like El Greco and Diego Velazquez painted and what the expectations of the church and Spanish royal court were in how the themes were depicted. The most popular theme of the era in Spanish art was the Passion of Christ: in their many depictions of Christ on the cross, Spanish artists attempted to encourage the viewer to engage in meditation about the event and its meaning. Mary Alisa concluded that visual art as demonstrated in Counter-Reformation Spain could provide one with important insights into Christian truths and religious iconography, and that the Catholic tradition has been more successful than the Protestant one in integrating art and worship and using art to underscore theological points of view.

Mary Alisa answered questions from thesis committee members and the audience following her presentation. She handled all questions with dexterity, poise, and depth of knowledge.

Mary Alisa Techentin stands with Dr. David Thomas prior to her honors thesis defense on May 4, 2011.

Attendees at Mary Alisa Techentin’s honors thesis defense listen attentively as former honors director Dr. Randall Bush introduces her at the beginning of her honors presentation on May 4, 2011.

Mary Alisa Techentin begins her honors thesis defense on religious art in Counter-Reformation Spain on May 4, 2011.

Mary Alisa Techentin talks about a painting by El Greco titled The Disrobing of Christ during her honors thesis defense on May 4, 2011.

Dr. Randall Bush asks Mary Alisa Techentin a question following her thesis presentation on May 4.

Mary Alisa Techentin stands with her brother Chase after her successful thesis defense on May 4, 2011.