Cheryl K. Snay, Ph.D.

2010pe Ch0010 2

Name: Cheryl K. Snay
Position: Curator of European and American Art before 1900
Email Address: csnay@nd.edu

What is the most rewarding aspect of your position?:
The most rewarding aspect of my job is the sleuthing. Discovering connections between objects and people and reconstructing the past in a way that informs the present is very satisfying.

How did you get into museum work?: 
I got into museum work by accident. My undergraduate degree is in journalism and by the time I graduated I had enough elective credits in art history to have a minor. As part of my journalism degree, I had to do an internship so I chose to work in a community art center as their public relations person. Later I got a part-time job as a gallery attendant at a university art gallery. I liked the environment. I met interesting people and saw beautiful things and went to beautiful places. I also loved the research. Going to archives, libraries, and special collections and sifting through documents, reading letters written by Monet and Renoir among others, was magical. It still is.

Favorite work in the Snite Museum of Art?:
I have two. The first is Willem van Mieris's Bathsheba because it's like a precious jewel that glows. It's quiet and serene and yet there is a complexity and mystery that engages. The second is Alexandre-Hyacinthe Dunouy's View of a Landscape with a Grotto because it bucks your expectations of what a landscape should be. And where does that ladder go? That painting is as much about what is NOT there as it is about what can be seen. It sparks the imagination. Are you going down into the jaws of hell? Or have you ascended Plato's ladder of love to attain Beauty?