Marilyn Aronberg Lavin

Marilyn Aronberg Lavin has taught art history at Washington University, the University of Maryland, Yale, Princeton, and the Università di Roma, La Sapienza.  She is one of the leaders in the use of computers and digitized imagery for research, teaching, and publication in the history of art.  In 1991, she created the first computer Listserv for Art and Architectural Historians which is still going strong with over 1000 members from 23 countries.

Her art-historical work covers a wide range of interests. For her Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art, she received the national Charles Rufus Morey award (1975) for distinguished scholarship. Her book The Place of Narrative: Mural Decoration in Italian Churches, 431-1600 AD, won First Place in the Chicago “Women in Publishing” award (1990).  With her husband, Irving Lavin, she published The Liturgy of Love: Images of the Song of Songs in the Art of Cimabue, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt (1999), in Italian and English. Her book, Artists’s Art in the Renaissance (2009), looks at the first painters and sculptors to collect the art of others, and her Fifteenth-Century Netherlandish Blockbook Canticum Canticorum (2014) reconstructs the form and meaning of one of the earliest illustrated printed books. Other interests include major articles on Federico Barocci, Pietro Cavallini mosaics in Sta. Maria in Trastevere, Bernini’s “Faun in Love,” in the Metropolitan Museum, and the Palestrina Pietà, “Started by Michelangelo.”

Her focus on Piero della Francesca has been life-long.  She has received international recognition for her publications on this artist, perhaps the best known being her books on Piero’s Flagellation (1972, & 1990, in English and Italian), and his Baptism of Christ (1981).  She directed the colloquium in honor of his quincentenaries (1992) at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.  Her monograph on his full career came out in 2002.  Her 3-D, walk-through computer model of Piero’s Arezzo fresco cycle of the True Cross is on line, with full analysis in English and Italian.

Following her husband’s death (2019) she edited and brought to publication two of his extensive lecture series and a number of important articles on Gianlorenzo Bernini.

A Festschrift in her honor: Medieval Renaissance Baroque: A Cat’s Cradle in Honor of Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, edited by David A. Levine and Jack Freiberg, was published by Italica Press in 2009.


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