Areas of Interest
Rembrandt; Renaissance, Baroque and Contemporary Art; interaction between the East and West; Word/Image studies; History of Printmaking
Ph.D. Columbia University: M.A. Williams College-Clark Art Institute; B.A. magna cum laude Brandeis University
I teach Art in the Dark at Lycoming College: from survey to specialized courses to the senior seminar. I have published several books and several dozen articles, mostly on and around Rembrandt. Currently, I am President of the international organization Historians of Netherlandish Art; and I served as president of the sister organization that promotes Dutch culture in the United States, the American Association for Netherlandic Studies. My research and publications have been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, CASVA at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Lycoming College and other agencies. I participate in national and international conferences, and regularly give special lectures on my research.
Williamsport has some remarkable art, all unknown in the wider world. My students have researched art in Williamsport, and presented their findings at conferences.
Three marbles are in the James V. Brown Library. One is of Beatrice Portinari, who reads a letter from her admirer Dante. The sculptor, Ferdinando Vichi, carved lace on her gown and purse.
Rembrandt’s grand painting of Bathsheba reading a letter at first seems an evocative study of a woman’s conflict between loyalty to her husband and obedience to a king, who has summoned her to the palace while her husband is away at war. However, it may be interpreted in light of the ancient relief that Rembrandt adapted for Bathsheba’s pose. The relief is of Psyche, whose father is marrying her off to an evil monster who will abandon her to death on a distant mountain. Psyche, bathing in preparation for this wedding, wipes her tears with a cloth. The parallel between Psyche and Bathsheba may have inspired Rembrandt to adapt the pose of Psyche for his Bathsheba: both are forced into relationships with men that they do not wish.
The parallels are more striking in terms of Rembrandt’s personal life. His mistress, Hendrickje, became pregnant during the year he painted the Bathsheba. Rembrandt, who would lose the income from his first wife’s estate should he remarry, was unable to wed Hendrickje. Some have seen Hendrickje’s features in Bathsheba’s face. Perhaps Rembrandt portrayed the family’s conflicted situation over adultery in the contemplative Bathsheba.
“Italian Art and the North: Exchanges, Critical Reception, and Identity, 1400-1700,” in Babette Bohn and James Saslow, eds., A Companion to Renaissance & Baroque Art, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, 106-126
“Elisabetta Sirani’s Timoclea and Visual Precedent,” Source, 30, 2011, 37-42 – LINK
“Rembrandt and Italy: Beyond the disegno/colore paradigm,” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, Neue Folge, vol. 51, 2009, 113-20, Special volume: Rembrandt – Wissenschaft auf der Suche. Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums Berlin 4/5 November 2006 - LINK
“The Marbles of the James V. Brown Library: Italian Neoclassical sculpture in Williamsport, Pennsylvania,” 19th Century: The Magazine of The Victorian Society in America, vol. 27, no. 2, Fall 2007, 19-26; reprinted in the Journal of the Lycoming County Historical Society, Fall 2008 - LINK
“Further Considerations of the Rembrandt Year,” Studies in Dutch Language and Culture, vol. 2, M. Lacy ed., 2008, 241-52 - LINK
“Heemskerck’s Angel in Rembrandt’s Studio,” Canadian Journal for Netherlandic Studies, Fall 2007, 38-45 - LINK
"Lievens' Reading: Some Observations on his Mucius Scaevola before Porsenna ," R. van Straten and M. Roscam Abbing, eds., Around Rembrandt/Rond Rembrandt , Leiden, 2006, 191-203
"Alberto Martini: Poe visivo in un contesto internazionale," Fantastico Poe , Roberto Cagliero, ed., Ombre Corte, Verona, 2004, 217-43
Rembrandt's Reading, Amsterdam University Press, 2003
Reception: Reflections on Rembrandt, a special issue of Dutch Crossing, vol. 25 , Winter 2001, guest editor and contributor
“Lastman's 'Dido's Sacrifice to Juno' Identified,” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis, 1998, 39-48
Please refer to CV for additional publications