Evonne Levy

Propaganda Book Cover

Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Undergraduate Appointment: Department of Visual Studies (UTM)
Graduate Appointment: Department of Art (St. George)


CCT 3063, UTM


1993                 Ph.D. Art History, Princeton University

1987                 M.F.A. Art History, Princeton University

1984                 M.A. Art History, Brown University

1983                 B.A. Art History & Studio Art, Brown University (magna cum laude)


I work in three interrelated areas of research: Baroque art and architecture, especially of the Jesuit order, the work and biographical legacy of GianLorenzo Bernini, and the history of art history.

My training was in the art and architecture of the Italian baroque and my first book Propaganda and the Jesuit Baroque arose from several years of archival research in Rome and some hard thinking after a post-doctoral fellowship in Berlin about what it means when an art historian calls a work of art “propaganda.”   This question, which is essentially about our motives as historians, piqued my interest specifically in the politics of the discipline of art history.  Over the past decade I have worked on the ways in which politics have shaped art history, specifically the concept of the Baroque in the German-speaking world.  This research is taking the form of a book, Barock: art history and politics (1844-1945) and in related shorter studies of art historians Ernst Kris and Meyer Schapiro.  My research has involved travel to libraries and archives in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and I have taught in this area as Guest Professor at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität in Frankfurt and at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

I consider myself a “baroquist.” My initial training was in Italian art but since then I have worked on the Baroque throughout Europe and now in Latin America. As a co-investigator in the SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Project “The Hispanic Baroque” I have expanded my research and my teaching into Colonial Latin America.  Out of this project has come The Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque, an interdisciplinary volume I am co-editing with historian Kenneth Mills of the University of Toronto, with essays on 43 topics (like “Animals,” “Engravings,” “Love,” “Miscegenation,” “Afterlife,” Dress,” “Rebellion,” “Dreams”). Each topic has an essay written starting from the perspective of Spain and one starting from the perspective of the Spanish Americas. Our authors are specialists in history, musicology, art history, anthropology and literature.

Teaching and Research

Research fuels teaching and teaching stimulates research. My seminars are a good reflection of my conviction that the best seminars – for undergraduates and graduate students alike - are the ones in which there is a live and open research question that we formulate together. My interest in intellectual history has found an outlet in my new undergraduate course, “The History of Art History.” I endeavor to make what could be an impersonal history of a discipline meaningful to students today by exploring the methods and writings of the important figures as motivated, as also personal. My publications on Bernini (Bernini’s Biographies: Critical Essays and a special issue of The Sculpture Journal,  no. 2, 2011, on Bernini’s Portraits) both arose from my seminars at UTM and the UTSG. Bernini’s Biographies started with a discussion in Toronto with Maarten Delbeke and Steven Ostrow and grew to a larger conference in Rome, then the book. The Bernini Portrait Seminar was occasioned by a major exhibition (at the National Gallery in Ottawa) which we visited together. We pursued the subject with Bernini specialists from all over the world at a conference in Toronto “Bernini Double-Take” (March 2009).

I am teaching a similar set of seminars in fall 2012 around the exhibition Bernini in Clay which we will visit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. An international conference, “Material Bernini: Clay, Ink, Stone”, is to take place Nov. 30-Dec. 1st in Toronto.

Current Research Projects

In addition to the above, I am currently working together with Tristan Weddigen (University of Zurich) on two projects on Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History (1915): a new English translation and critical edition of The Principles (Getty) and a reception history, worldwide over 100 years. I recently organized a workshop on the North American reception of The Principles at the Clark Institute in Williamstown Massachusetts. I continue to write essays on Jesuit topics and on Bernini.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

FAH 105H  Introduction to the History of Art and Architecture
FAH 274 Renaissance Art and Architecture
FAH 279H Baroque Art and Architecture
FAH 332H  Topics in Baroque Painting
FAH 353H  Rome in the Age of Bernini
FAH 441H  Reformation and Counter-Reformation Art and Architecture
FAH 449H  Renaissance Narrative Painting
FAH 470 The History of Art History

Graduate Courses

FAH 1285H Art & Architecture of the Counter Reformation
FAH 1288H Gianlorenzo Bernini
FAH 1290H  The Jesuit Baroque
FAH 1298 Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History @100: A Worldwide Reception History

Select Publications


Propaganda and the Jesuit Baroque. Berkeley: University of California Press (2004). 2nd printing June 2005.

Bernini and his Biographies: Critical Essays, co-edited with Steven F. Ostrow and Maarten Delbeke. University Park, Pa.: Penn State University Press, 2006.

The Sculpture Journal. Special Issue on Bernini’s Portraits, co-edited with Catherine Hess. No. 2 (2011).

Books in Progress

Barock: Architectural History and Politics from Burckhardt to Sedlmayr (1844-1945).

Co-editor with Kenneth Mills. Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque: Technologies of a Transatlantic Culture. Under contract with University of Texas Press.   70 contributors to a multi-disciplinary volume.  (expected publication fall 2013)

Selected Articles

“The Political Project of Wölfflin’s Early Formalism.October 139 (2012).

“Repeat Performances: Bernini, the portrait and its copy,” Sculpture Journal 2 (2011) 239-49.

“Bernini Double-Take,” Sculpture Journal 2 (2011) 197-206.

"The German Art Historians of World War I:  Grautoff, Wichert, Weisbach and Brinckmann and the activities of the Zentralstelle für Auslandsdienst,“ Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 3 (2011) 373-400.

“Sedlmayr and Schapiro Correspond, 1930-1935,” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte LIX (2010; appeared 2011)

"De la instrumentalidad del Barroco: Maravall, Argan y Wittkower." Anuario de Estudios Bolivianos, Archivísticos y Bibliográficos 16 (2010): 389-400.

Co-author with Jens Baumgarten, “Our Baroque Confection and the Baroque Survey,” Revista Canadense de Estudios Hispanicos  33 (2008) 39-64.

“Propaganda,” in Kritische Berichte (Special Issue: Anti-Mythen der Kunstgeschichte) (2007), pp.35-37.

Co-author (with Robert Levit), “Design will Save the World! On Bruce Mau’s Massive Change And the Mediatization of Culture,” Harvard Design Review (March 2006), pp.86-92.

“Architecture and Religion in 17th-Century Rome,” Studiolo 2 (2003), pp.219-253.

“Ottaviano Jannella: micro-sculptor in the age of the microscope,” Burlington Magazine (July 2002), pp.420-428.

“The Institutional Memory of the Roman Gesù: Plans for Renovation of the 1670s by Carlo Fontana, Pietro da Cortona and Luca Berrettini.” Römisches Jahrbuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana v.33, 1999/2000 (published July, 2003), pp.373-426.

"Reproduction in the ‘Cultic Era of Art’: Pierre Legros’s Stanislas Kostka,” Representations no.58 (Spring 1997), pp.88-114.

Recent Chapters in Books

“Jesuit Style to Barock:  Confessional Politics in the German historiography of Baroque Church Architecture,” Cambridge World History of Religious Architecture. Edited by Richard Etlin.  Cambridge University Press (expected 2012; 5000 words).

Co-author, with Kenneth Mills, Introduction: Technologies of Transformation in the Hispanic Baroque World,” Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque, University of Texas Press (forthcoming, fall 2013). 5300 words MS

“Church Interior, Spain,” Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque, University of Texas Press (forthcoming, fall 2013).

“Cornelius Gurlitt als ‘Barockmann’,” in Matthias Lienert, ed. Cornelius Gurlitt – Sechs Jahrzehnte Zeit- und Familiengeschichte in Briefen (Dresden, Institut für Sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde, 2008), 45-53.

Co-author, with Maarten Delbeke and Steven F. Ostrow, “Introduction,” to the reissued English translation of Filippo Baldinucci, The Life of Bernini, translated by Catherine Enggass. Pennsylvania State University Press (2007), pp.vii-xxxii.

“The Internationalist Jesuit Style, Evil Twin to National Styles,” in Spirit, Style, Story: Essays Honoring John W. Padberg, s.j., Edited by Thomas M. Lucas, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003, pp.181-202.

Papers in Selected Conference Proceedings

“The ‘perspectives’ of Baldinucci and Pascoli: publics, illusions, defects and judgment in the Vite of Andrea Pozzo,” in Artifizi delle metafora: Saggi su Andrea Pozzo , ed. Richard Bösel and Lydia Salviucci Insolera (Rome: Artemide, 2011) 23-31.

“Jesuit Identity Identifiable Jesuits? Jesuit Dress in Theory and Practice,” In Picturing Jesuit Identity: Räume, Funktionen und Medialität des Wissens im Jesuitenorden, ed. Volker

Remmert and Elizabeth Oy-Marra, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (2010)

 “Cornelius Gurlitt and the Jesuit Style, especially with reference to Prague,” Bohemia Jesuitica. St. Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic (2010)

 “Rhetoric or Propaganda? On the Instrumentality of Baroque Art,” Estetica Barocca, Acts of the Conference held at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Italiano di Studi Filosofici, Rome (2004).

Recent Conference Papers

“The Long Shadow of the Grundbegriffe in 20th century Art History.” Grundlagen der Kunstgeschichte in der Schweiz  von Rahn bis Wölfflin. Universität Zürich Kunsthistorisches Institut/ Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Zürich (16-17 Feb. 2012)

Early Formalism's Suppression of Content: Wölfflin on Hans von Marées and the modern homoerotic classical picture,” Das Problem der Form. Interferenzen zwischen moderner Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft (1890-1960). Kunstgeschichtlichen Institut der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität (25-27 November 2011)

“The Textilic Imagination?: The Elevation of the Genre of 'Shrine Paintings' in the Spanish Americas,“Contrapontos Transatlanticos. O Barroco nos Mundos Lusófono e Hispanico, Centro de História da Arte, Instituto de História, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro (16-20 May 2011)

“A.E.Brinckmann’ s Baroque at the intersection of art history and politics”, Barock-Perspektiven. Kunstwissenschaft und Barockforschung ca. 1880-1945. Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, 12 February 2011.

“The Iconoclastic Discipline: Art history, confessional politics and the Catholic Baroque,” Troubling Images: Some CrossCultural Reflections, Department of Religious Studies, Hixon Fund, Yale University (May 18-19-, 2010)

“On the Instrumentality of Baroque Religious Art” Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia, Sucre, Bolivia,Espressiones Religiosas en el Baroco, 3 May 2010

Propaganda and the Jesuits  Bernini's Biographies