My research has drawn upon art, architecture and other visual sources — from masterpieces and material culture — to address problems in early modern intellectual history, with special attention to Renaissance, Reformation and Baroque art, especially those objects produced by contact with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Portuguese and Dutch trading networks that situate European art in a world context. I would characterize my work as grounded in the object and original archival sources and leavened by a theoretical fluency across a range of humanist and social science disciplines.
Currently, I have been concerned with pressure points in cross-cultural contact and the challenges for a global art history with a single-authored monograph on the Jesuit Global Baroque and an edited anthology, with Prof. Christine Göttler (Universität Bern), dedicated to The Nomadic Object: Early Modern Religious Art in Global Contact (Brill, 2017). I am also overseeing the translation into Japanese of a selection of essays by myself and Prof. Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato (Mejiro University, Tokyo) for a volume entitled Dawn of the Global Age: Cultural Exchange between the West and Edo Japan (Koyo Shobo, 2017).
Recent articles have treated the importance of materials in religious art in Art History (Special Issue for the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, eds. Bridget Heal and Joseph Koerner, 2017); the role of place in cross-cultural interpretation in The Japan Review (vol. 29, 2016) in English and in The University of Tokyo Art History Journal (vol. 32, 2016) in Japanese; the changing status of copy and original initiated by the transmission of images overseas in Sacred and Profane in Early Modern Art (Kyoto University Press, 2016); a study of a “Republic of Images” along the Portuguese eastern trading network in Ellipsis. Journal of the American Portuguese Studies Association (vol. 12, 2014); and a summary essay on iconoclasm for the Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts (Oxford University Press, 2013).
My book, The Netherlandish Image after Iconoclasm, 1566-1672. Material Religion in the Dutch Golden Age (Ashgate, 2008), received the College Art Association Publication Award, the ACE/Mercers’ International Book Award for Religious Art and Architecture, and the Ashgate Editor’s Choice Award for a significant contribution to the field for its consideration of the delicate negotiation required to make art for a public hostile to imagery. I also edited, with Prof. Amy Golahny (Lycoming College) and Prof. Lisa Vergara (Hunter College, CUNY), In His Milieu. Essays on Netherlandish Art in Memory of John Michael Montias(Amsterdam University Press, 2006) on the archival and socio-economic study of art.
As part of my commitment to the importance of global perspectives, I have regularly participated in multi-year international workgroups, which include those sponsored by Yale University (New Haven, CT, USA), L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France) / L'École Française (Rome, Italy), the Institute for Reformation Studies at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland); the Universität Bern (Switzerland) / New York University Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates); and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Nichibunken (Kyoto, Japan).
Born in Tokyo and educated at Sacred Heart schools and Groton School, I trained as a historian of seventeenth-century Dutch art at Vassar College (BA), Yale University (PhD), and Leiden University. Prior to coming to NYU, I held previous appointments at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, the Jesuit School of Theology, the Graduate Theological Union, and the University of California Berkeley.
My engagement in the early modern culture of the Netherlands grew out of my abiding interest in other cultures. It was this same curiosity that shaped my commitment to a global art history of objects, ideas and audiences that takes the best of the traditional emphasis on depth of knowledge to help address the challenges that breadth and relevancy bring to the role of art history in the public square today.