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Patricia Rubin

Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director; Professor of Fine Arts

Yale (B.A.); Courtauld Institute of Art (M.A.); Harvard (PhD)

Trained at Yale, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Harvard, Patricia Rubin taught courses in the field of Italian Renaissance art at the Courtauld Institute from 1979 until taking on the role of Director at the Institute of Fine Arts in 2009. She has published widely on Vasari’s Lives (including her 1995 book, Giorgio Vasari: Art and History) and fifteenth-century Florentine art (including the 1999 National Gallery exhibition, with Alison Wright, Renaissance Florence: the art of the 1470s and her 2007 book, Images and Identity in Fifteenth-century Florence) and on other aspects of Renaissance art and its history, such as drawings, artists’ signatures, sixteenth-century portraiture, and collecting and cultural patrimony.

Research Interests

Museums and collecting
Literature and art
Graphic arts
Botticelli: past and present
Bottoms: the motif of the male behind

Sample Courses

The Sculptural Imagination in Italian Renaissance Art
The Creative Touch: Drawing in the Italian Renaissance
Arts in Florence during the Age of Lorenzo the Magnificent
Italian Renaissance Art in New York Collections
Facing up to Fifteenth-century portraiture

Recent Publications

"Art History from the Bottom Up,” Art History, 36:2 (2013), pp. 280-309.

"‘The Outcry’: Despoilers, Donors, and the National Gallery in London, 1909,"  Journal of the History of Collections (2013) 25 (2): 253-275. [Read online]

Creative Writing and Art History, co-editor, with Catherine Grant (London, 2012).

“’The Liar’: Fictions of the Person,” Art History, 34:2, pp. 332-51; and co-editor, with Catherine Grant, of this special issue, Creative Writing and Art History, 2011. [Read online]

“Defining the Crisis in Art History,” Visual Resources, 27:4 (December), pp. 309-15, 2011.

“Understanding Renaissance Portraiture,” in The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini, ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelman, exhibition catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), pp. 2-25.

“‘Not…what I would fain offer, but…what I am able to present’: Mrs. Jonathan Foster’s translation of Vasari’s Lives.” In Le ‘Vite’ de Vasari: Genesi – Topoi – Ricezione, edited by A. Nova. Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence (2010).

“ ‘Che è di questo culazzino!’: Michelangelo and the Motif of the Male Buttocks in Italian Renaissance Art,” Oxford Art Journal, 32:3, 2009 pp. 427-46; and introduction to the issue. [Read online]

“The Cinderella Syndrome: Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Rome and Paris 2008.” Studiolo VII (2009): 4-13.

“Filippino Lippi, ‘pittore di vaghissima invenzione’: Christian poetry and the significance of style in late fifteenth-century altarpiece design.” In Programme et invention dans l’art de la Renaissance, edited by Michel Hochmann, Julian Kliemann, Jérémie Koering and Philippe Morel, 227-46. Rome and Paris: Académie de France à Rome/Somogy, 2008.

“Pictures, Privileges, and the Public Good.” In the “The Aesthetics of Publishing: The Art Book as Object from Print to Digital,” ed. Catherine M. Soussloff and William Tronzo, Visual Resources, 24:1 (2008) pp. 42-6.

Images and Identity in Fifteenth-century Florence (Yale University Press, 2007)
“Histoire de l’histoire le l’art en Grande-Bretagne grandes tendances et nouveaux débats: Réflexions et reactions,” with Stephen Bann, Nicholas Penny, Perspective: La revue de l’INHA (2007), pp. 207-30.

Portraits by the Artist as a Young Man: Parmigianino ca. 1524, Gerson Memorial Lectures Foundation, Groningen, 2007.

Recent Highlights

Rubin, Patricia, "Coming from behind: viewing the male nude in Italian Renaissance sculpture." Robert H. Smith Renaissance Sculpture Lecture, Patricia Rubin in conversation with Antony Gormley. Victoria and Albert Museum. London. October 12, 2012.

Listen to the lecture here.