UMSL faculty member Jeanne Zarucchi (right) helped create an art website with assistance from the Saint Louis Art Museum. She received additional help from UMSL faculty member Anne-Sophie Blank and UMSL alumnus Jeremy Powers. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Jeanne Zarucchi hopes a website she helped create will be a new learning resource for art teachers and French language instructors in the St. Louis area.

Zarucchi, professor of art history and French at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, spearheaded the website with assistance from the Saint Louis Art Museum. The website features nearly 100 objects of French artwork from the museum, merely a fraction of the museum’s collection. New objects will be added to the website as they go on display at the gallery.

On the website, each artwork features a photo and is accompanied by information about the work, the historical moment, the artistic genre and the artist. All information is available in English and French. A Guide for Educators in each language is also included. The French site has audio recordings of each text.

Her own experience told her there was a need for such a website, which provides teaching materials for the benefit of French language teachers focusing on French artwork.

“I often teach French art and architecture, and when teaching this subject in French I was very much aware of the absence of supportive materials,” she said. “In teaching French art in English again there has been a vacuum of information.”

The site launched Jan. 1. It was funded by a grant from the French Consulate in Chicago, which had funds available to support projects that helped promote French language and culture in the Midwest region. She also received grant support from the Languages and Cultures program at UMSL.

Zarucchi enlisted the help of French native Anne-Sophie Blank, associate teaching professor of French at UMSL, who reviewed the French texts composed by Zarucchi and made the French audio recordings, and alumnus Jeremy Powers, BFA 2012, who designed the website.

Blank said she jumped at the chance to help out on the website.

“I love art, and the Saint Louis Art Museum is a gem,” she said.

It took about six months to develop the website and bring it online. Zarucchi said it took a full day to catalog each object.

“I learned an enormous amount that I didn’t expect to learn about artists I was not familiar with,” Zarucchi said. “I was not aware when I first started the project of how time consuming it would end up being, but I consider every moment well spent. I really enjoyed everything that I did.”

Zarucchi said the informational text accompanying the artwork is helpful in that it gives people a bigger picture of how life was lived during different time periods as opposed to only focusing on the sculpture or painting.

Blank said she thoroughly enjoyed working on the website and alongside Zarucchi.

“She is extremely knowledgeable,” she said of Zarucchi. “I knew that, with her, I would learn a lot of interesting details about what is actually part of my cultural heritage. I am very proud of the results.”

Click here to view the French art website.

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Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez

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