Expertise: Early Modern European Art
During academic years 2016–17 and 2017–18, I will be in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where I have been appointed the 2016–18 Andrew W. Mellon Professor.
I have just completed a book on the Tuscan sculptor Francesco Mochi (1580-1654), Mochi’s Edge and Bernini’s Baroque (forthcoming 2017); the study takes Mochi’s sculptures as the entry point for an inquiry into the historical and cultural forces reshaping sculpture at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Mochi’s determination to carry forward a Florentine and Michelangelesque tradition, while reconciling it with post-Tridentine religious imperatives, produced an extreme tension in his art that resulted in some of the century’s most breathtaking sculptures—though ultimately fracturing his career. The book will offer wholly new interpretations of Mochi’s major works and a new, historically-engaged account of the origins of “baroque” sculpture, one that situates both Mochi’s distinctive art and the rise to dominance of Gianlorenzo Bernini’s religious sculpture in relation to the specific challenges confronting the medium of sculpture in a climate of religious, political, and artistic change.
My first book examined the art of the seventeenth-century Flemish sculptor François Duquesnoy and his pursuit in Rome of a modern artistic practice in “the Greek manner.” The study reconstructs the understanding of Greek art from 1550 to 1650 and the contributions of Duquesnoy’s circle to the coalescence of the Greek ideal within European culture. This seventeenth-century vision of Greek art is shown to have formed the basis of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s early understanding of the formal perfections of Greek sculpture, overturning the longstanding assumption that no meaningful distinction between ancient Greek and Roman art was made prior to Winckelmann’s work.
My research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies; and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Though my publications to date have focused upon early modern sculpture, I am interested in all media and ephemera. My current research interests include Caravaggio's religious art and reconsidering the Grand Tour from the Italian perspective. I offer graduate and undergraduate courses in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European art.