Fields of Study: European Early Modern Art

Art History at Penn offers the student of Early Modern Europe a chance to range widely in terms of regions, periods, media, and methods.  Larry Silver is committed to the study in depth of the period from late medieval to eighteenth century in areas that encompass the Low Countries as well as German-speaking lands.  His published work, including monographs and exhibition catalogues, addresses prints fully as much as paintings. 

With the support of a two-year Mellon Fellowship, Christopher Nygren joins Penn to supervise teaching and research on Italian art.  Prof. Nygren’s dissertation “Titian’s Artistic Icons: Venetian Religious Painting between Theology and Devotion” was defended at Johns Hopkins University in 2011.

Students have ready access to additional Early Modern art historians owing to Penn’s consortium arrangement with several local universities: at Bryn Mawr (Gridley McKim-Smith on Spain, David Cast on Italy, Christiane Hertel on Northern Europe); Delaware (Linda Pelecchia on Italian architecture, David Stone on Italian painting, Perry Chapman on Holland, Monica Dominguez-Torres on Spain and New Spain), and Princeton (Thomas Da Costa Kaufmann, Christopher Heuer). Temple University also features noted scholars on Italian art and architecture, Marcia Hall and Tracy Cooper, who are accessible to Penn students.

These academic strengths are abetted by remarkable facilities in the Philadelphia area, as well as strong links to museums and curators in both Washington and New York City. Both the Johnson Collection of paintings and the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have been active collaborators on Early Modern projects and have hosted an annual intern from the Penn graduate program as the Zigrosser Fellow in Prints and Drawings. Additionally, several important print exhibitions have been staged on the Penn campus in the Ross Gallery of the Fine Arts Library and with the rare books division of the Penn Libraries.


Recent projects led or coordinated by Penn faculty:

- 2011, PMA exhibition, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus

- 2011, Penn Libraries exhibition of European city views from Brown and Hogenberg, Civitates orbis terrarum

- 2009, PMA exhibition, Grand Scale. Monumental Prints in the Age of Dürer and Titian

- 2006, Ross Gallery exhibition, The Early Modern Painter-Etcher (grad student entries; curatorial seminar)