Vision, Touch, and Memory. Rembrandt’s Aristotle with the Bust of Homer.

Lecture by Jeanette Kohl as part of the exhibition Idols & Rivals at the Kunsthorisches Museum in Vienna.

Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653

Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653

A contextualized interpretation of Rembrandt’s famous Portrait of Aristotle with the Bust of Homer (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), this lecture discusses the importance of sculpture as a key medium of memory. A detailed analysis will show how Rembrandt transformed established thought patterns of competition (among the arts, among artists, with antiquity) and traditional art-historical dichotomies (seeing vs. feeling, materiality vs. intellect, presence vs. impermanence) into a remarkably complex play across genres creating a painted philosophy of touch.

Read more (in German) at
View Dr. Kohl’s entire presentation at


Professor Johannes Endres recieves fellowship at the IAS (Institute for Advanced Study) at Van Mildert College, University of Durham, January-March 2023

At Durham, Professor Endres will work on his current book project on “Style” as an interdisciplinary category of the study of texts, images and music. As part of his project, he will be in close collaboration with Professor Jonathan Long from Durham’s School of Modern Languages & Cultures. Professor Long is also the co-director of the Center for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham. The collaboration is based on their mutual research interest in German Literature, literary theory, and the study of visual culture in relation to literary artefacts.

Art History Doctoral Candidate, Cambra Sklarz, presented at the Getty Graduate Symposium on February 3, 2023

etty Graduate Symposium2023The Getty Research Institute hosted the fifth annual Getty Graduate Symposium, which showcased the work of emerging scholars from art history graduate programs across California. Organized into three sessions, the symposium included nine individual presentations, panel discussions moderated by faculty mentors, and Q&A sessions with the audience. 

Congratulations to Cambra Sklarz for being recognized for her outstanding work.

Cambra’s presentations, The Artist and the Ecosystem: Strategies for the Use and Reuse of Materials in Early America can be viewed online via the Getty Research Institute’s YouTube channel:

The full program can be found here.




It is our great pleasure to share that PhD candidate, Molly Bond, will present on her research at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 5:30 am PDT (2:30 pm GMT+2)
In person at the Palazzo Grifoni (Florence) and online
Meeting-ID: 954 7537 4245

Spaces of Relief Sculpture: Embodied Spectatorship and the Late Cinquecento “Recanati School”

Recanto School, Molly Bond TalkIn 1564 Florentine monk and intellectual Vincenzo Borghini deemed basso rilievo the ‘dolce amaro’ of the arts: ‘sweet’ because sculptors might approach the capacity of painting to depict elements of an istoria, but also ‘bitter’ because relief could neither render a convincing painterly illusion of depth nor offer the multiple views of sculpture in the round.  Borghini’s opinion of relief as a kind of ‘imperfect hybrid’ (Ostrow 2004, 336) is far from unique: indeed, such ambivalence typifies most writings on relief—themselves very few and far between—from the early modern period.  Yet, as uneasy as art theoreticians were with this art form, relief permeated the built environment and daily lives of contemporary Italians, as it invested objects ranging from monumental architectural façades to miniature plaquettes.  A partial and ‘imperfect’ amalgamation of painting and sculpture perhaps, but such in-betweenness allowed reliefs to use the means of both in order to engage viewers across an incredibly broad array of socio-spatial contexts.  Foregrounding the idea of embodied spectatorship, my presentation will examine both textual accounts and artifacts that respond to particular aspects of such interaction, including that of a spectator’s mobility, tactile engagement, and the changeable environments that conditioned their encounters with relief sculpture.  While similar, phenomenologically-oriented approaches have been fruitfully applied to the study of Renaissance sculpture in the round and even painting, these concerns remain underexplored with respect to relief sculpture.  Here the production of the late 16th-century ‘Recanati School’ of bronze casters will form my primary case study: not only did these artists develop an unusually strong tradition of bronze relief, but their work spanned a wide variety of different socio-religious spaces—from doors, to chapel walls, to statue bases—in and around the Basilica della Santa Casa di Loreto.

THOMAS PELZEL, Professor of Art History – In Memoriam

Thomas Pelzel Meng Title PageThomas Pelzel, a professor of Art History during the early years of the university, died on July 3, 2022. Born in West Virginia in 1927, he completed his PhD at Princeton University in 1968 before coming to UCR. Tom served for many years – by special demand and vocal entreaties by colleagues and students – as Undergraduate Advisor but also for a period as Chair. His dissertation on the German painter Anton Raphael Mengs and Neo-Classicism became a book, and he published several important articles on the subject as well. The study of European art and theory of the neoclassical period remained his main field of scholarly work.

Intensive research on his dissertation brought him to Europe, especially to Germany and Italy, and his life there for an extended time deeply shaped his work and cultural affinities. Speaking German almost like a local, he acclimatized easily to the history, art, and mores of Southern Germany. His lectures and seminars on Bavarian and Austrian rococo churches and castles became a highlight of his teaching at UCR. Gifted with a rich language and a lively, often witty, style of performance he became one of the most popular undergraduate teachers at UCR, always commanding a full lecture hall. No one could walk young students, then mostly from California and before the digital age, so vividly through a Bavarian rococo church or the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. His lectures and seminars were always based upon meticulous research and a broad knowledge of culture and history. Whenever he appeared in the offices of the department, Tom was immediately surrounded by clusters of students. He gave his advice and guidance generously and far beyond the narrow restraints of office hours. When news came of his planned retirement, students organized a petition to ask him to continue teaching.

During his years at UCR Tom was not only a devoted teacher, but served tirelessly on various university committees. As he had studied the eighteenth-century culture of Europe he now turned with the same enthusiasm to the history of California and became an avid connoisseur and collector of Stickley furniture and the arts and crafts of the period. His collection of chairs hung, neatly organized, from the ceiling of his garage, but he would generously loan one or another to newly arrived colleagues to help furnish their empty apartments. In addition to furniture, he was an avid collector of European prints and art nouveau ceramics.

Tom and his wife Suzanne, who also had taught for several years at UCR, retired relatively early and moved to Ashland, Oregon. In retirement, he developed his collection and walked to local productions of Shakespeare plays every season, while also witnessing from afar the expansion of the department that he had helped to foster early on.


Please join us for the in-person return of the Brink Carrot Forster-Hahn Lecture Series
Tuesday, April 26 at 5:15pm
ARTS 333

BrinkCarrotForsterHahn2022 Lecture Series


Sao Paulo Rexistir

Camilla Querin, 2021 Barbara B. Brink Travel Award

Though It is Dark, Still I Sing: Brazilian Art from the Military Dictatorship to the 34th São Paulo Biennial and Back

“Though It Is Dark, Still I Sing” is the title of the 34th São Paulo Biennial. It is a sentence that encapsulates also the somber atmosphere and the defiant attitude that artists displayed  during the military dictatorship in Brazil, producing artworks to illuminate the socio-political situation and express dissent. In this presentation I will talk about my visit to the Biennial and the interviews I conducted with artists and curators in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which allowed me to collect important information to conclude my dissertation that looks at artistic practices of resistance during the authoritarian regime.





Jesse Rocha, 2021 Richard G. Carrott Travel Award

Emotional Histories and Documentation in the ACT UP Archives

The Richard G. Carrott award allowed me to travel to New York City in September 2021, where I worked with materials in the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. These objects included posters, stickers, and video records from AIDS activist groups ACT UP and Gran Fury. In particular, the video objects sparked my interest, as they reflected the emotional histories, social textures, and documentary impulses of a generation of artists and activists. My presentation will discuss how this research trip has influenced my thesis work on gay male artists in 1980’s Brazil.



Ephemera from Gang of CarpHomer Charles Arnold,  2021 Françoise Forster-Hahn Travel Award

Popping up: How CARP Invented the Itinerant Gallery in Los Angeles

During the 1970s, the exhibition initiative Carp produced revolutionary pop-up exhibitions throughout California. Working in response to the decade’s pluralism, Carp’s directors Barbara Burden and Marilyn Nix jettisoned traditional exhibition practices utilizing singular gallery spaces in favor of multiple sites including television stations and Wilshire Boulevard. Their approach invented the postmodern curator by attending to both the artwork and its site. My project reveals how Burden and Nix generated an exhibition format that became standardized. Carp’s archive is currently held in Redding, California. Access to these materials, made possible by the Forster-Hahn award, revealed the scope of Carp’s projects.