Robert Williams

Robert Williams


Italian Renaissance art and art theory; history of art theory; history and methodology of art history.


B.A., M.A. University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. Princeton University


Robert Williams is the author of Art, Theory, and Culture in Sixteenth-Century Italy: From Techne to Metatechne (Cambridge, 1997); and Art Theory: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2004; Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) which has been translated into Chinese and Korean; and Raphael and the Redefinition of Art in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge 2017). With Thomas Frangenberg he translated Francesco Bocchi's The Beauties of the City of Florence: A Guidebook of 1591 (Harvey Miller, 2006) and edited The Beholder: The Experience of Art in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate, 2006). With James Elkins he edited Renaissance Theory (Routledge, 2008) and, with Peter Mack, Michael Baxandall, Vision, and the Work of Words (Ashgate, 2015). His recent articles include "Virtus Perficitur: On the Meaning of Donatello's Bronze David," Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, 53 (2009), 217-28, "Das Eine im Wandel: Music and Kunstwissenschaft," Journal of Art Historiography, 1 (2009), and “Kunstwissenschaft, Bildwissenschaft, and Vasari,” in Vasari als ParadigmaTopoi, Ricezione (A, Nova & F. Joneitz, eds., Florence, 2015).  In 2012 he curated The Zodiac of Wit: Peter Meller and the Graphic Imagination, at UCSB's Art, Design and Architecture Museum and a related exhibition at the National Gallery of Hungrian Art in Budapest in 2017.


Undergraduate Courses (selected)

105L   Art and Society in Late-Medieval Tuscany
109C   Art as Technique, Labor, and Idea in Early Modern Italy
109E   Michelangelo
109F   Italian Journeys: The History of Travel to Italy
109G   Leonardo Da Vinci: Art, Science, and Technology in Early Modern Italy
185BB   Writing About Art (undergraduate seminar)
Raphael (undergraduate seminar)
Museum Practices (The Zodiac of Wit exhibition; undergraduate seminar)

Recent Graduate Seminars

2016   Warburg and His Afterlives: The Evolution of Art History
2013   Reformation and Counter-Reformation: Was There a Crisis of the Image?
2012   Fetishism
2002   Vasari: His Times and Ours
Ut Pictura Poesis: New Approaches to the Relation between Art, Language,and Knowledge in Early Modern Italy
The System of the Genres