Social History of Art


New Items Listed by Date



- Tahiti in French Colonial Discourse from Pierre Loti to Gauguin

- Poussin's Father Time and the Dance of the Seasons

- "The Allegory of Uncertainty: Gauguin's "Where are we coming from? What are we? Where are we going?"

- The Noble Savage

- Florentine, Worship of Venus, Desco da parto

- Pollaiuolo, Apollo and Daphne

- Raphael, Portrait of Leo X

- Reni, Samson Victorious, Aurora, and Nessus and Dejanira

- Rubens, Marie de Medici Part 1

- Pastoral and Gender Issues

- Love Letters in Dutch Baroque Art

- Fortuna in Renaissance Art  

- Jan Steen and the Comedy of Dutch Burgher Life



2/29/2016: Arts and Crafts Movement: An Outline

2/28/2016 2/9/2016 "Medievalism and Aestheticism in Pre-Raphaelite Art"

2/28/2016 Revises "Japonism vs. Orientalism in European Art"

2/24/2016  Revised "David's 'Death of Marat'"

2/12/2016 Revised "Thorvaldsen's Lion Monument"

1/27/2016 "Nocturne and Starry Night in Romanticism"

1/24/2016 Revised "Mythological Rape in Renaissance and Baroque Art" 

1/1/2016 Revised "Guide to Digital Cameras"

12/29/2015 Revised "Vigee Lebrun's Bourgeois Noblewomen: An Essay on the Portrait of Countess von Scholfeld and Her Daughter (1793)"

12/16/2015  Revised "Mythology in Western Culture"

12/9/2015 Revised "Guide to Art Photography in Museums"

11/30/2015  Revised "Piero's True Cross Frescoes in Arezzo"

11/23/2015 "The Protestant Word and the Common Herd: Religious and Social Values in Rembrandt's 'Annunciation to the Shepherds' (1634)"

11/18/2015 "Devotion, Artistic Vision, and Humanist Fame in Durer's Holy Trinity Woodcut (1511)"

11/02/2015 "Allegory as a Mode in Renaissance and Baroque Art" 

10/2/2015  "Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring, Kalf's Still Life with Nautilus, and Fabritius' The Goldfinch: Humble Subjects and High Aestheticism in Later Dutch Baroque Art"

9/25/2015 "Rubens' 'Perseus and Andromeda':  Classical Mythology and Medieval Chivalry"

9/21/2005 "The Aesthetics of Absolutism in van Dyck’s Court Portraits"

(discusses five portraits: 1) Charles I on a Horse, 2) George Villiers and Katherine Manners as Adonis and Venus, 3) Rachel de Revigny as Fortuna, 4) Queen Henriette Maria, and 5) George Digby and William Russell)

9/12/2015 "Cosmos and Microcosm: Body Politic, Monarchy, and Patriarchy in Western Culture from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century" (3 page essay under THEMES

9/3/2015 revised "Outline of the Golden Age Idea in Renaissance Europe"

9/2/2015 "Renaissance Humanism: A Sea Change in European Culture 1400-1700"

(a comprehensive revision and condensation of my earlier essay on humanism, shortening it from 35 to 13 pages) 

9/1/2015 Revised "Guide to Digital Cameras"

8/23/2015 "Humanism, Fame, and Triumph in 16th-Century French Art"

"Gender, Beauty, and Love in 16th-Century French Art"

 8/20/2015 revised "Bibliography of Jews in Western Culture"

8/12/2-15 Revised and slightly expanded  "Outline of Renaissance Humanism" (2 pp.)

7/19/2015 Index to Themes in Villa and Garden Decoration (1450-1800)

7/11/2015 "Socrates Ugliness Concealing His Inner Wisdom as a Paradigm for

understanding nature, mankind, literature, and the visual arts / under  ESSAYS THEMATIC page

6/20/2015 "Ingres' Apotheosis of Homer and Academic Art"

5/23/2015 "Nolde's Candle Dancers"

5/3/2015 Revised essay on German Expressionism

4/28/2015 "Pre-Raphaelites"

4/23/2015 "Velasquez's "Minerva and Arachne"

4/10/2015 "Fortuna in Western Art 1400-1700"

4/4/2015  Revised "Noble Savage in 18th Century Europe"

3/27/2015 "Vigee-Lebrun's Countess von Scholfeld"

revised "Family Values in18th Century French Art"

3/6/2015 "Fabritius' Goldfinch"

3/1/2015 "The Counter-Reformation and Art: An Outline"

               (4-page version of a 15 page essay)

2/28/2015 "Bronzino and Mannerism as Renaissance 'Art for Arts Sake'"

2/28/2015 "Bruegel's 'Labors of the Months' as Burgher Cosmos"

2/27/2015 "Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Judith and Holofernes'"

2/25/2015 "Orpheus in Western Art Through 1800: An Outline"

2/2/2015 "Humanism: An Outline" (one page outline to Renaissance humanism and its three main variants in European court, church, and burgher culture, 1400-1700)

1/25/2015 Revised "Versailles and Absolutism" and spun off a mini essay defining "Absolutism"which is under ESSAYS THEMATIC

1/21/2015 Revised "Mythology in Western Art:  A Fourfold Tradition" (under ESSAYS THEMATIC)

11/5/2014 revised "Orientalism in Delacroix and Ingres"

10/27/2014 Expanded "Tips on College Admissions" with new section comparing colleges vs. universities

10/16/2014 "Rhetoric and High Renaissance Art: An Outline"

10/6/2014  Revised "Guide to Art Photography in Museums" (under "Misc Info")

10/3/2014  Outline to the Golden Age Idea in the Renaissance 

9/29/2014 "The System of Art in Seventeenth-Century Europe" (on the hierarchical system of art as a series of ranked categories from History Painting to Portraiture, Landscape, Genre Painting, and Still-Life at the bottom) 

9/24/2014 Revised "Titian's Assumption of the Virgin: Colorism and Politics in Venice"  / added new sections on Venetian colorism as a distinct aesthetic tradition and on High Renaissance artistic originality as artistic self-consciousness, ambition, fame, and wealth.

9/21/2014 Revised "Late Medieval Prejudice and Persecution" with new section on the "Living Cross" where the Crucified Christ reaches down to stab to death a Hell-bound Judaism while crowning a Paradise-headed Christianity.  

9/8/2014 "Leonardo's Major Innovations: An Outline" 

9/4/2014  "Leonardo's 'Vitruvian Man' and 'Madonna of the Rocks' - an Outline"

9/1/2014 "Botticelli's 'Woman in White' and the Renaissance Courtly Beauty Aesthetic"

8/19/2014  "Camerino's 'Madonna of Humility' and a Naked Eve" (painting from 1400 in Cleveland)

7/3.2014 "Basic Photography Problems and Solutions"

5/9/2014 Combined two essays on "Versailles and Absolutism" into one with further revisions

1/19/2014 "Japanism vs. Orientalism and Western Aesthetics in Late 19th-Century Art

11/14/2013 "Outline of Mythological Rape in Renaissance and Baroque Art" 

8/7/2013   new essay, "Van Dyck's 'Images of Great Men' as Apotheosis of Flemish Art"

8 / 5 / 20013   new essay, "Fouquet's Melun Diptych: Madonna with Etienne Chevalier" 

7/22/2013  Uploaded 1,100 PP slide shows of art by artist - covering most major painters and sculptors between 1300-1920 and a few architects (1400-1700).

6/5/2013  Assembled into one 120 page document all of the new Study Guide Outlines for the 150 Required Works in my survey course on Western Art from the Renaissance to the Present. I wrote these outlines during the spring semester of 2013. I have completed the outlining of major issues for all of the works of art in this course through Surrealism (1945) and have written detailed comments on all of the major issues of these works for 15th, 16th, and 17th century art. I wonlt have time to finish this project with detailed comments for 18th, 19th, and 20th century art until the spring of 2015 when I teach this course again..  

4/6/2013 Revised essay on Fragonard's The Swing and Rococo Art

4/3/2013 Revised "Durer and the Reformation" which is now retitled, "Durer's All Saints and Four Apostles"

3/24/2013 "La Tour's Penitent Magdalen in Los Angeles and Catholic PenitentialPiety" 

3/15/2013 / posted 45 details of Cole's "Course of Empire" in a new album under ART GALLERIES

3/12/2013  high res scans of 137 woodcuts from "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" in one uncompressed 60 meg PP slide show / listed under "IMAGES BY SUBJECT" 

2/10/2013 / added new Art Galleries on Campin's Merode Altar (23 images) and Filarete's Bronze Doors at St. Peters (66 images)

2/4/2013 Revised "Fra Angelico and the Monastic Early Renaissance" 

1/22/2013 Revised syllabus for Survey History of Art II: Renaissance to Present

1/21/2013 revised "Renaissance Humanism,  A Broad Overview" with new section defining the burgher class

1/20/2013 Revised "Perspective and Humanism in Renaissance Art," and created separate essay on "Mantegna's 'Dead Christ' and Perspectival Devotions" / both essays under ESSAYS BY PERIOD / 15TH ITALY

1/16/2013  Revised "Orientalism in Delacroix and Ingres" with an expanded discussion of Byron and Delacroix's Death of Sardanapalus"  

11/18/2012 "Guide to Art Photography in Museums" (tips for art historians) / under MISC INFO / with info on new mirrorless cameras and small DSLRs

11/2/2012 new slide show on "Gauguin and the Western Artistic Tradition" / under IMAGES BY SUBJECT

10/22/2012 Posted under PRIMARY TEXTS various writings on Native Americans, and Manifest Destiny by Chateaubriand, Catlin, Greeley, and Andrew Jacksaon

10/20/2012  New page "17,000 Images by Subject"  in 239 Power Point slide shows Also includes 3 thematic slide lectures on the Madonna, Mystical Marriage, and Categories of Western Landscape

10/19/2012 "One-Point Perspective in One Page"

10/13/2012  New page on PRIMARY TEXTS and added 3 readings on Manifest Destiny and Native Americans in 19th-century American art: 1) Berkeley's poem on Arts and Learning in America, 2) sections on Daniel Boone, Indians, and Kentucky as Manifest Destiny from John Filson's The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke (1784), 3) a shortened version of Frederick Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History (1893)

9/30/2012 Posted slide show of Palladio's illustrations to Daniele Barbaro's edition of Vitruvius (under page "15,000 Images by Subject")

9/28/2012   added new section of 200 major art woks in Italy arranged in slide shows by city to help travelers plan art visits,

9/27/2012   revised lecture on Raphael's frescoes in the Stanze della Segnatura with new sections on Humanist Educational themes

8/30/2012 Picasso's Women as Muses on the Altar of Genius

8/29/2012 Thematic Index to Pierre Loti's "Le Mariage de Loti"

4/23 revised "Bibliography of Music in Western Culture and Society"

4/14/2012 revised "Monet: From Modern Life to Nymphaea"

2/16/2012 "From Formal Analysis to Cultural Studies: The Major Methods of Art History" (history of art history methodology, discusses formal analysis and connoisseurship, iconography, social art history, and cultural studies)

2/15/2012 "A Sea Change in Art History: The Decline of the Past and the Rise of Contemporary Art" (discusses 9 reasons why American undergraduates and graduate students are turning heavily towards contemporary art and away from every period before 1900.)

2/7/2012  "Ghirlandaio's Old Man and Grandson as Humanist Consolation and Familial Paradise"

2/6/2012 "Simone Martini's Frontispiece for Petrarch's Virgil"  (a short essay on pagan pastoral and landscape in late medieval art and on the confluence of allegory and naturalism)

"Lorenzetti's Last Supper with Kitchen Scene"

"Botticelli's Mystic Crucifixion and the Gendered Apocalpyse of Savonarola"

Revised "Botticelli's Mystic Nativity and the Impact of Sanonarola"

 2/4/2012 Revised "Pico, Medicean Humanism, and the Renaissance Allegory of Nature" - a discussion of the taste for allegory and allegorical imagery in Medicean Florence  - useful for Bottiecelli's Primavera

1/29/2012 Revised "Guide to Job Searching in Art History" (under Misc Info)

1/26/2012 Revised "Mythology in Western Culture: a Four-Fold Tradition" (under "Essays Thematic")

1/5/2012 - added two essays on Bruegel from 1991 unfinished book ms.

    - "Burgher Values in Bruegel's 'Tower of Babel'"

    - "Economic and Political Issues in Bruegel's 'Census at Bethlehem'"

12/13/2011 revised "Versailles and Absolutism" / added 6 pages of discussion, mostly of the larger significance of illusion and theatricality at Versailles

11/30/2011 History Painting as a Ruling Category in Renaissance and Baroque Art /

(major revision of an earlier essay, listed under THEMES page)

9/26/2011 The Guardian Angel in Catholic Baroque Art

9/15/2011 List of Select Art Exhibitions for 2011-12

5/15/2011 Mondrian's Abstraction: Gender, Reason, and the City 

5/12/2011 revised Impressionism essay - expanded section on "Seeing and Knowing"

5/4/2011 The Picturesque

5/3/2011 Revised "Academic Art and Historical Genre"  (Ingres and Delaroche)

5/2/2011 Revised "Piranesi's Prisons and Architecture as Nightmare" which now stands as a separate essay as does "Wright of Derby and Mt. Vesuvius as Volcanic Sublime" 

4/30/2011  Revised "Romanticism" and "Romantic Sketchiness vs. Painterly"

Divided Constable essay into two separate pieces: "Constable's Clouds and the Romantic Sketch"  and "Medievalism, Nationalism, and Tory Nostalgia in Constable's Salisbury Cathedral"

 4/28/2011 The Wisdom of Maternal Love in De Hooch and Rembrandt (revised and retitled version of essay posted earlier as "De Hooch's Nursing Mother and Rembrandt's Holy Family of 1654")

4/27/2011  revised essay on Greuze and the Modern French Family Drama with new section on the invention if the good father

4/25/2011 revised essay on Chardin 

4/24/2011 revised Dutch Baroque Still Life with expanded section on Kalf

4/5/2011 revised "Durer and the Reformation"

3/22/2011 revised essays on "Introduction to the Rococo" and "Chardin"

2/29/2011 Titian's Bacchanal of the Andrians, revised with discussion of Andros, Naxos, and Crete as Venetian empire in Titian's Bacchic imagery

2/16/2011 VIDEOS OF SELECT LECTURES ON RENAISSANCE ART (Donatello's David, Perugino's Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter, Botticelli's Mythologies, Campin's Annunciation, Van Eyck's Ghent Altar, Leonardo, Raphael's School of Athens and Disputa - all posted on my son's web site: and linked on the VIDEOS page of this web site - see top of home page here. 

2/15/2011 "Apocalypse and Revelation: Two Strains in Christianity Through 1700" (brief essay used for writing assignment on El Greco's "Opening of the Fifth Seal") - posted under "Essays Themes"

2/7/2011 / revised essays on Perugino, "Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter" and on Botticelli's mythological paintings; as well as the "Outline of Botticelli's Primavera"

1/26/ 2011 / revised syllabi for 2 courses: Northern Baroque and Survey II (Ren to Modern)

1/10/2011  Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel and Alberti's San Andrea (revised and separated from the essay on Michelozzo's Medici palace) 

12/16/2010  / Common Values Before and After 1700 (outline of European common culture  before and after the all-important 18th century)

12/15/2010  Outline of Social Art History Since the Renaissance (the big picture in 3 pages)

12/12/2010  Munch's The Scream and the End of Nature

12/07/2010  revised essay on German Expressionism with expanded section on Marc

11/08/2010  Thorvaldsen's Lion Monument and the Romantic Animal (2nd revision; work in progress)

10/23/2010  Mountain Sublime and Bards from Thomas Gray to John Martin

10/22/2010  I posted separately the six sections of my long essay on "Nature in Classical Antiquity". Those sections are: 1) Cosmology (discusses Hierarchy, Golden Age, Mythology), 2) Geography and Travel; 3) Pastoral; 4) Agriculture and Villa Life, 5) Gardens, and 6) Hunting

10/14/2010  "'We are self-sufficient like God': Art, Nature, and the Modern Self in the Romantic Age: The Travel Literature of William Beckford (1783)"  

10/11/2010  Digital art archive of Western art by subject matter: 30,000 images in 1,400 PowerPoint slide shows by subject matte / available for $75.00

10/10 List of art books for sale (esp Benesch, Drawings of Rembrandt & Friedlander, Early Netherlandish Painting, 14 vols)

10 /05 posted 1,060 of my photos of art works in the ART GALLERIES

9/29 syllabi for courses on "Gender and Art" and "Landscape and Art"  

9/27 Spring and Cultural Renewal in Wagner's Meistersinger

9/27 Guide to Job Searching in Art History

9/19 The Enclosed Garden and the Monastic Wilderness as Early Renaissance Landscape Modes: Domenico Veneziano's "St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness"

9/11 added new "Search" box on the homepage allowing visitors to search by keyword every document posted on this site for any topic.

9/09 Syllabus for course on "Gender and Art, 1300-1700" 

8/25 Vuillard and the "Feminine" Domestic Interior (latest revision has expanded sections on textile aesthetics, female sewing and male adultery, the intimist child, musical aesthetics (esp. Denis' "Our Souls in Slow Movements") and the potential narcissism of Nabis aesthetics) - my main summer project for 2010

8/13 Photoshop Commands (a 2 page guide, under web page "Misc Info")

6/30 Monet: From Modern Life to Nymphea (revised with new section on Wagnerism and Symbolist watery music)

6/30 Turner and the Romantic Sublime (Snow Storm off a Harbor's Mouth)

6/29 Van Gogh's Starry Night

6/1 Pico and the Medicean Taste for Allegory (a short note with passages from

     Pico on allegory as a universal religious and philosophical mode))

5/19 Zimmerman's Wieskirche and the Bavarian Rococo

5/8 Munch's Madonna, the Femme Fatale and the New Woman

5/3  Puvis' Sacred Grove of Arts and the Muses

4/28  Monet's Impressionism: From Modern Life to Nymphea

       (earlier essay on Monet doubled with new section on the Nymphaeas as

       Symbolist landscape enshrined in a French national museum) 

4/26 Botticelli's Mystic Nativity (discusses Savonarolan piety and the Christian humanist ideas of the chaste, nymph-like, "angelic" woman and the feminized Paradise of Dante)

4/21 Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People (revised - a 2nd version doubling the discussion of 'the People" and gender issues )

4/13 Titian's Bacchanal of the Andrians 

4/4 Bellini's Madonna of Humility (humanist pastoral transforms Christian imagery; Venetian pastoral politics)

4/2 Table of contents to my anthologies of texts on gender and on nature from antiquity through the 17th century, comprising 8,000 pages of primary sources.

3/4 Arcimboldo's Fantasia and the Imperial Cosmos (with a section on gender politics in the erotic mythologies of Spranger and Hans van Aachen for Rudolph II) 

3/2 The Male Viewer and Class in Impressionist Scenes of Prostitution 

2/26 Mythology: A Four-Fold Tradition (discusses the four major traditions in Western mythology, 600-1700: a) cosmos and nature, b) courtly geneaology, flattery, world history, divine providence, c) moral, spiritual, and political allegory, d) myth as "pagan" body in nature, free from Christian morality, and tied to male power. Except for the last section which is new, this short essay is excerpted from my long essay on Botticelli's mythological paintings.)

2/23 (5 essays)

Charity and Poor Relief in 16th-Century Northern Europe (with a reading of Pieter Bruegel's Charity) / ESSAYS / 16TH / NORTH

Bruegel's Elck as Economic Allegory / ESSAYS / 16TH / NORTH

Bruegel's Tower of Babel as Economic Critique / ESSAYS / 16TH / NORTH

Food, Money, and Nature in the Art of Pieter Bruegel / ESSAYS / 16TH / NORTH

The Burgher Self in the Art of Pieter Bruegel / ESSAYS / 16TH / NORTH

2/21 St George, Perseus, and the Renaissance Damsel in Distress (Bordone, Titian, Tintoretto) / ESSAYS / 16th / ITALY / revised on 2/21/2010

2/20 Language and Power in Bruegel's Netherlandish Proverbs / Essays / 16th / North 

2/18Papal Politics and Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura (revised with expanded section on gender at the end) / ESSAYS / 16th / ITALY

2/16 Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks and Mona Lisa / ESSAYS / 16TH /  ITALY

Leonardo: An Introduction (revised with new section on sfumato as emotional expression and Renaissance rhetorical device) 

2/13 Medieval Vision and Renaissance Perspective in Fouquet's All Saints (Hours of Etienne Chevalier) / ESSAYS / 15th North

2/12 (2 essays)

Limbourg Brothers, Fall of the Rebel Angels / ESSAYS 15th North

Gardens in Art: 1700-1940 / ESSAYS / THEMES

2/11 (2 essays)

Rubens' Massacre of the Innocents / ESSAYS / 17th North

The Renaissance Nymph / ESSAYS / THEMES


2/10 (6 essays)

Donatello and Botticelli's Republican Images of Judith and Holofernes ESSAYS / 15th

Gozzoli's Procession of the Magi and Lippi's Mystic Nativity / ESSAYS / 15th

Mantegna's St. Sebastian and Christian Triumph / ESSAYS / 15th

Lotto's Portrait of Lucrezia Valier ESSAYS / 16th

Bronzino's Portraits: Eleonora da Toledo, Ludovico Capponi, Cosimo de' Medici in Armor, Laura Battiferri ESSAYS / 16th


2/7  (2 items)

Renaissance Art, "Genius," and the Market Economy / Essays / 16th / North

Outline to Botticelli's Primavera / Essays / 15th


2/4 Bellini's Drunkenness of Noah / ESSAYS / 15TH 


2/2  (3 items)

- Virgin Mary and Byzantine Imperial Ideology / ESSAYS / MEDIEVAL

- Rembrandt's Touch of Love, Part 1 & 2 (Prodigal Son, Jewish Bride) ESSAYS / 17TH

- Guide to Art Museums and Sites in Europe / MISC INFO



- Triumph of Death, Camposanto, Pisa / ESSAYS / MEDIEVAL 

- Memory Imagery in Medieval and Renaissance Religious Art ESSAYS / 15TH North

- List of Required Works (for 7 of my 9 courses) / SYLLABI