Renaissance and Baroque Art
Shawon Kinew is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. She is an art historian of early modern Southern Europe with a specialization in the art and theory of seventeenth-century Rome.
Her research on Roman Baroque sculpture focuses on the Maltese artist Melchiorre Cafà, who is the subject of a book manuscript in preparation, Baroque Softness: Melchiorre Cafà and the Sculpture of Mysticism. This monograph traces Cafà’s development of sensual, “soft” marble sculptures during the “Golden Age” of European sculpture, a period of colonial expansion and violence perpetuated by the evangelization of large swaths of the globe. A second book project is a cross-cultural study that looks at sixteenth-century erotic painting, emotion and trauma, and its place in North America. A related essay, “Sedlmayr’s Mother-of-Pearl: Further Notes on Rubens and Flesh Color,” appears in Selva.
Kinew has taught a range of subjects in Renaissance and Baroque art—monographic courses on Gianlorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio and Michelangelo, as well as thematic courses on the poetics of painting in the Cinquecento, motif, movement and emotion in the work of Aby Warburg, and new methods in the study of Old Masters. Kinew has taught courses on the California Missions and nineteenth-century portraiture of Indigenous Americans, an extension of her interests in Indigenous art history, the global Baroque and its legacy. As a faculty member, she is active in the Harvard University Native American Program and the Faculty Executive Committee of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, where, in the latter, she is committed to the care of her ancestors who reside in the museum.
Kinew has held residential fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Getty Research Institute and at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome, Italy, where she was a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Institutional Fellow. Her scholarship has been supported by numerous organizations including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fondazione Lemmermann in Rome, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard.
Raised in Winnipeg and on Lake of the Woods in Canada, Kinew received her Hon. B.A. from the University of Toronto and her A.M. and PhD from Harvard University. Before her appointment at Harvard, Kinew was a postdoctoral fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Scholars in the Humanities and a lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. From 2018- 2021, Kinew was a Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute.