History of Art and Architecture

Christopher J. Nygren

Assistant Professor; Director, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program



Constellation(s): Agency, Mobility/Exchange, Visual Knowledge

Christopher Nygren’s research examines how the heritage of Christian image-making was reconfigured in the early modern period. His current book project examines Titian’s career-long engagement with the tradition of Christian icon painting. This study couples intense visual analysis with an investigation of the theology and philosophy that underpinned the production of icons in early modern Europe. Examining Titian’s half-length paintings of biblical subject matters within this context demonstrates how Titian sought to leverage his distinctly modern, self-referential style against a Christian understanding of how images operate as conduits for Revelation. He is bringing this book project to conclusion during the summer of 2016. His next book-length project will examine the emergence of paintings on stone in Renaissance Italy.

His teaching encompasses a wide array of themes, periods and geographies including Italian art from 1200-1700, German and Netherlandish Renaissance and Baroque art, and early modern Iberian art. His interest in the materiality of art and religious practice have led him to begin teaching Spanish Baroque art within a global context. This work focus on the frictions – cultural, religious, artistic – created by the enhanced flow of peoples and cultures in the Spanish colonial world.

Education Details

Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University (2011)

M.A. Johns Hopkins University (2005)

B.A. University of Notre Dame (2003)

Selected Publications

“A Role-Based Model for Successful Collaboration in Digital Art History,” co-authored essay written in collaboration with Tracey Berg-Fulton, Alison Langmead, Thomas Lombardi, and David Newbury. International Journal for Digital Art History 3 (2018), 152-180. https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/dah/article/viewFile/34297/43447

“Titian’s Ecce Homo on Slate: Stone, Oil, and the Transubstantiation of Painting.” The Art Bulletin 99:1 (March 2017), 36-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043079.2017.1265285

“Titian’s Christ and the Coin: Recovering the Spiritual Currency of Numismatism in Renaissance Ferrara.” Renaissance Quarterly 69/2, 449-88. (2016) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/687607

“Figuring Miraculous Agency Between Literature and Art:  An Analysis and Translation of Eustachio Celebrino’s Li stupendi et marauigliosi miracoli del glorioso Christo di San Roccho (ca. 1523).” MLN 131:1, 20-56. (2016) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mln.2016.0008

“The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and Italian Art Circa 1500: Mantegna, Antico, and Correggio.” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry, 31:2, 140-154, (2015) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02666286.2015.1023020

“Titian’s Miracles: Artistry and Efficacy Between the San Rocco Christ and the Accademia Pietà.” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut), LVII.3, 320-349. (2015) http://www.jstor.org/stable/43738211

“Stylizing Eros: Narrative Ambiguity and the Discourse of Desire in Titian’s So-Called Salome,” in Renaissance Love: Eros, Passion, and Friendship in Italian Art around 1500, edited by Jeanette Kohl, Marianne Koos and Adrian Randolph (Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, I Mandorli series), 23-44. (2014) https://www.academia.edu/8074326/_Stylizing_Eros_in_Renaissance_Love_Titians_Judith_Salome_

Selected Awards

American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for the project Matter and Similitude in Italian Painting and The Transatlantic Renaissance. 2017-18. https://www.acls.org/research/fellow.aspx?cid=c503b1b4-7e02-e711-9452-000c29879dd6

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, “Visual Exegesis: Images as Instruments of Scriptural Interpretation and Hermeneutics.” 2013-14.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum. 2011-13.

Samuel H. Kress Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the History of Art at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence. 2008-10.

Gladys Krieble Delmas Grant for Independent Research in Venice and the Veneto. 2008-09.

J. Clawson Mills Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2008-09 (declined).