I have always been interested in the audience for Renaissance art: the people for whom a work was made or the people who would use it for political, religious or other purposes. I’m as much interested in how visitors to architectural monuments would experience space as I am to how the work was designed or who paid for it. With paintings and sculpture, I’m always interested in how accessible the works were, and the reasons why works might be made private or distributed to wider audiences. Sometimes that interest has led me into studies of patronage, reception, copies, visuality and viewer response.
Through much of m career, my research has focused on Michelangelo, but always with an eye toward how other people saw his work and what it meant for later artists. This was the subject of my first book, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment: The Renaissance Response. My second book, Michelangelo in Print, brought together my interest in prints and the reception of Michelangelo’s work. My most recent book, Michelangelo and the Viewer of his Time, was published by Reaktion Books in 2017.
My current research deals with the ways people used printed images in the era of religious change in mid-sixteenth century Italy. I am specifically interested in the ways religious prints were marketed and collected, the role they played in religious controversies, and how individual worshipers might have used printed images.
Click on the link at upper right for a more complete list of my publications.