Associate Professor, History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies; Director, Program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies:
History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies
Phone 2: 401 863-3349
My research on printing and printmaking in early modern Europe pays particular attention to how images were made to obtain and display access to knowledge, power, and patronage for communities of readers with a common if sometimes unequal literacy in image and text. Concern for the currency of images as they interact with the read and spoken word has extended into research on early notions of intellectual property, and the visual representations of authorship, gender differences, and truth claims. Currently I am investigating color in early modern Italian art.
Originally from New York City, I earned a BA in Fine Arts and Literature from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1973. I was a printmaker and museum curator in San Francisco until returning to school at the University of California at Berkeley, where I received a PhD in the History of Art in 1994, joining the faculty of Brown University in that year.
My work on the history of printmaking and book illustration also comprises research into the larger visual culture of early modern Italy and the role and creation of imagery in all media. "The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker" discusses the history of the technology and uses of printing in the formation of artist's careers in late 15th- and early 16th-century Italy, seeking to identify the roots of a common literacy in the skill of disegno, which was judged to be the intellectual and practical basis of all artistic practice. By investigating the value of disegno in fields other than the fine arts, this project points out how modes of drawing that were developed in other trades and under different circumstances were brought to bear on the mythological, technical and religious imagery of Italian Renaissance prints in the first hundred years of printing by printmakers entering the new field from a variety of already established trades and professions.
Subsequent research has focused on the roles of book illustration and literacy in vernacular scientific and religious treatises printed in 16th- and 17th-century Italy, and particularly in Rome. In a series of articles and a forthcoming book, I explore the role of illustrations in creating authorial credit and claims for particular kinds of knowledge among a newly created community of authors and their patrons. New notions of intellectual property and self-consciousness about the status of authorship, the development of printing, imaging and publishing conventions for the attribution of authorship in an age of censorship, the stated and covert relationships between objectivity and observation, the representation of truth claims in pictures and text, the effect of gender differences in the creation of an authorial voice and the rise of professionalism in the arts in the early modern period (1400-1800) are all part of this project. Working through case studies centered on particular books or modes of publication, I look at opportunities offered by the new conventions of publication to otherwise voiceless minorities (e.g., women, artisans or Jews) as well as to established religious groups motivated to re-emphasize their orthodoxy after the Council of Trent.
Ph.D., 1994, University of California, Berkeley
see: Funded Research
Print Council of America
Renaissance Society of America
College Art Association
I teach lecture courses on the history of Italian Renaissance art, as well as a team-taught introduction to Italian Renaissance art, literature and history in the Departments of the History or Art & Architecture, Italian Studies, History, and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. I am also a member of the Committee on Science and Technology Studies. My thematic graduate and undergraduate seminars take up topics in the history of the book and print culture in the early modern period, often taught in the special collections libraries at Brown. I also teach graduate and undergraduate seminars in Italian visual culture in the Department of the History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies, as well as the graduate Methods seminar,and Graduate Practicum in the History of Art.
I have directed Honors Theses on subjects as diverse as the history of an atlas at the John Carter Brown Library, images of wet-nurses, patron saints in Tuscan cities, cassoni imagery, and Flemish portraiture. Graduate dissertations I have directed tend to be interdisciplinary in the fields of the history of collecting, history of science, anthropology and ritual, and gender studies, primarily centered in early modern Italy, but also in France and Portugal.
Brown University Humanities Research Funds (for publication, 2004-2012)
Clark Art Institute Fellow, Williamstown, MA, Fall, 2004
American Council of Learned Societies, Fellowship, 1997-98
Bunting Institute Fellowship, Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, 1997-98
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Stipend, 1997
Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1993-94
Fulbright Grant (Rome), 1992-93
Mellon Foundation Summer Research Grant, 1991
Graphic Arts Council Fellow, Graphic Arts Council, San Francisco, 1987-88
- Italian Studies
- Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
- Science and Technology Studies
- History of Art & Architecture
- Nature's Disciplines
- The Theater that was Rome
- Reading Ritual: Festival Books from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection