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Cammy Brothers

Cammy Brothers specializes in Italian Renaissance and Mediterranean art and architecture. She is a Professor at Northeastern University, where she holds a joint appointment in Architecture and in Art & Design. She joined Northeastern in 2016 from the University of Virginia, where she held the Valmarana Chair and was Director of the Venice Program. In recent years, she has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University (2018) and a Guest Professor at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) in Zurich (2021). She is the author of two monographs, Michelangelo, Drawing and the Invention of Architecture and Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome.

Her first book, Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture (Yale University Press, 2008; recipient of the Morey Prize from the College Art Association and the Hitchcock Prize from the Society of Architectural Historians) argues that Michelangelo’s architectural drawings are best understood in terms of his experience as a painter and sculptor. It explores the idea of drawing as a mode of thinking and reconstructs the process by which Michelangelo arrived at new ideas.

Her new book, Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome (Princeton University Press, 2022) reconsiders the moment at which artists and architects of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries first turned to the study of the antique, demonstrating that all the major questions about how to respond to the quantity and variety of Roman monuments were still open.

In addition, in 2011, she was the co-curator of an exhibition at the University of Virginia Museum of Art and the co-editor of its catalogue, Variety, Archaeology and Ornament: Renaissance Architectural Prints from Column to Cornice (University of Virginia Art Museums, 2011). Her scholarly essays consider topics ranging from the reception of Islamic Spain to Raphael and the antique to theories of imitation in Renaissance literature and architecture. In addition to her scholarly work, she is a regular critic for The Wall Street Journal, primarily reviewing exhibitions of Italian Renaissance art. Other critical writing and interviews have appeared in Aggregate, Public Books, The Boston Globe and The Iowa Review. She has been the recipient of fellowships from The Fulbright Program, The American Academy in Rome, Dumbarton Oaks, Villa I Tatti, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts, the Italian Academy of Columbia University and the Collegium Helveticum.

She has a third book project under way, The Architectural Legacy of Islamic Spain, which focuses on the cities of Granada and Seville in the aftermath of the reconquest.

Research/Publications Highlights

Recent scholarly essays

“Architecture and Interiors” in The Cultural History of Colour: The Renaissance , ed. Sven Dupre and Amy Buono, Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019

“What Drawings Did in Renaissance  Italy,” in The Companion  to Early Modern Architecture , ed. Alina Payne, Blackwell  Press, 2017

“Un humanista italiano en Sevilla: Ciudades, Arquitectura y Paisaje,” in Arquitectura y jardines en el Alcázar de Sevilla , ed. Ana Maria Fidalgo and Carlos Plaza, 2015

“The High Renaissance,” in Architecture:  The Whole Story , ed. Denna Jones, Thames & Hudson, 2014, 196-203

“Designing  What You Cannot Draw: Michelangelo  and the Laurentian  Library,” in Michelangelo  und die Sprache der Architekturzeichnung   / Michelangelo  e il linguaggio  del disegno di architettura ,  ed. Alessandro  Nova and Golo Maurer, 2012, pp. 153-68


Recent Art Criticism

“He was More than a Mannerist”(Review of  Pontormo show), The Wall Street Journal , September 24, 2018

“Searching for a Master’s Hand” (Review of Leonardo, Verrochio show), The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 201

“Extreme Makeover: Renaissance Edition,” (Review of Uffizi rehang), The Wall Street Journal , August 2, 2018

“Pictures Fit for a Pope” (Review of Fra Angelico show), The Wall Street Journal , February 26, 2018

“Tracing the Education of Michelangelo,” (Review of Metropolitan show), The Wall Street Journal , November 11, 2017

“The Man who Baptized the Renaissance” exhibition  review of “Giotto e L’Italia ,” The  Wall Street Journal , November  25, 2015

“Neglected  No More, A Newly Rennovated  Museo dell’Opera  del Duomo,”   The Wall Street Journal , November  9, 2015

“Donatello,  Michelangelo,  Cellini,” exhibition  review of “Donatello,  Michelangelo, Cellini: Sculptors’  Drawings  from Renaissance  Italy,” Gardner Museum, Boston, The Wall Street Journal , December  3, 2014

“Michelangelo  in Boston,” exhibition  review of “Sacred and Profane: “ Museum  of Fine Arts, Boston, The Wall Street Journal , May, 2013


Recent Book Reviews

“Origins, Invention, Revision,” by James Ackerman, Annali, forthcoming 2018.

“ Renaissance Woman review: A Lady of Letters,” Review of book by Ramie Targoff, The Wall Street Journal , April 28, 2018

“ The Collector of Lives ’ Taught us the Art of Art History,” Review of book by Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney, The Wall Street Journal , October 14, 2017

“When Books Had Chains and Pages were Illuminated,” Public Books, July 28, 2017

“Questioning  Context in Renaissance  Art,” Review of Leonard Barkan, Michelangelo,  A Life on Paper and Michael Cole, Ambitious  Form: Giambologna,  Ammananti  and Danti in Florence , in Oxford Art Journal 35 (2012): 462-66

Review of Marvin Trachtenberg,   Building in Time: From Giotto and Alberti to Modern

Oblivion , in Art Bulletin 94 (2012):  299-301


Art + Design, Architecture


  • Ph.D, Harvard University