Areas of Interest
Rembrandt; Renaissance, Baroque and Modern 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 Vice 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.
In my research, I like to focus on puzzles in need of solutions. Here is one example. In Rembrandt's painting of the ancient Queen Artemisia, one clue has been overlooked: a very large book resting on a table. Queen Artemisia is most famous for expressing her love of her deceased husband in an unusual manner: she cremated his body and daily drank a potion mixed with his ashes. This indicated that his final resting place was her own rather prominent belly. But another way in which she demonstrated her devotion was to hold a literary contest in her husband's honor. The book in Rembrandt's painting is Artemisia's copy of the eulogies. Artists tended to concentrate on the more sensational act of her love, rather than the literary contest. Rembrandt was an exception, and his Artemisia is, uniquely, both ash drinker and patron of the literary arts.
I am writing a series of articles about the art in Williamsport, which has some remarkable pieces, all unknown in the wider world. My students have researched art in Williamsport, and presented their findings at conferences. With support from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and in collaboration with the Lycoming County Historical Society/Thomas T. Taber Museum, we are completing a project to document the historically and artistically significant stained glass windows in Williamsport churches.
Among the unusual windows is Gutenberg printing the Bible, in Covenant-Central Church, by Frederick Lamb, 1910.
“Reflections on Caravaggio, Lastman, and Rembrandt,” in: M. C. Galassi and A. De Floriani, eds., Nord/Sud: ricezioni fiamminghe al di qua delle Alpi, Milan, 2008
“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
“Further Considerations of the Rembrandt Year,” Studies in Dutch Language and Culture, vol. 2, M. Lacy ed., 2008, 241-52
“Heemskerck’s Angel in Rembrandt’s Studio,” Canadian Journal for Netherlandic Studies, Fall 2007, 38-45
"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
"The Challenge of Reading: Observations on Bol and Rembrandt," Rembrandt-Zeichnungen in München: Symposion zur Ausstellung , Thea Vignau-Wilberg, ed., Munich, 2003, 83-93
Reception: Reflections on Rembrandt, a special issue of Dutch Crossing, vol. 25 , Winter 2001, guest editor and contributor
Please refer to CV for additional publications