Prof. Jonathan K. Nelson

Prof. Jonathan K. Nelson


Ph.D. in Art History,
Institute of Fine Arts,
New York University; NY.

Assistant Director for Academic Programs
and Publications at Villa I Tatti - The Harvard
University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
Professor, Italian Renaissance art history
at Syracuse University in Florence since 1994.


Via Matteotti, 42, Fiesole (FI), Italy 50014
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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· Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York
M.A., 1986, Ph.D., 1992; committee: Colin T. Eisler (chair),
Everett Fahy, John Pope-Hennessy
Ph.D. Dissertation: “The Later Works of Filippino Lippi from his Roman Sojourn until his Death, 1488-1504”

· Hunter College, City University of New York, New York
B.A. with honors, 1982; advisor: Janet Cox-Rearick

Biographical Profile
Professor Nelson has taught Renaissance art history at Syracuse University in Florence since 1994, and was named Faculty Associate in 2004. He currently teaches two undergraduate courses, “High Renaissance and Mannerism” (intermediate level) and “The Age of Botticelli” (advanced seminar), and with Barbara Deimling he team-teaches the graduate course “Renaissance Art: Contexts and Audiences.” Professor Nelson is co-coordinator of the Lecture Committee, a member of the Symposium Committee for the MA Art History Program, and was named coordinator of the Art History Department in Spring, 2007.
In his research and teaching, Professor Nelson has given particular attention to the ways in which art reflects and transforms society, to the relationship between image and text, to the importance of settings and audiences, and to images of and by women. Recent books include Filippino Lippi (Milan, 2004) and Michelangelo: Poesia e Scultura (Milan, 2003). Has also co-curated two major exhibitions with catalogues: Botticelli and Filippino Lippi. Passion and Grace in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Painting (Florence, 2004); Venus and Cupid. Michelangelo and the New Ideal of Beauty (Florence 2002). Other publications include two dozen articles on Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, and editing Suor Plautilla Nelli (1523-1588): The First Women Painter in Florence (Florence 2000). All are listed on the attached c.v., together with his other professional activities, education, and grants.
In April 2006 Professor Nelson gave the annual Leonardo lecture in Vinci, Leonardo and the Reinvention of the Female Figure: Leda, Lisa, and Mary. He is currently preparing this for publication, to appear in April 2007, and will give a related lecture at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Miami next March. Given this work on Leonardo, Professor Nelson was invited to speak on a BBC documentary on Leonardo’s Last Supper, which aired in April. This also included a few moments of Professor Nelson’s class on the subject, recorded here at Syracuse University in Florence; the segment appears on the SUF website. Over the summer Professor Nelson completed the manuscript of The Patron’s Payoff: Economic Frameworks for Conspicuous Commissions in Renaissance Italy. This volume, co-authored with the Harvard economist Richard Zeckhauser, and including an essay by SUF Professor Molly Bourne, will published by Princeton University Press. He gave two lectures about this research in July, at the University of Basel, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. More recently, in September, he presented Cristina Acidini Luchinat’s new book Michelangelo Scultore, at the Bologna Art Book Fair. He is currently preparing two book reviews: of the two recent monographs on Botticelli, by Alessandro Cecchi and Frank Zoellner, for Renaissance Quarterly, and of two volumes about art and economics, Michelle O’Malley’s The Business of Art, and Evelyn Welch, Shopping in the Renaissance, of the Oxford Art Journal.