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Professor in Early Modern Art, University of Pennsylvania

Richard von Weizsäcker Distinguished Visitor - Class of Fall 2021


Shira Brisman is assistant professor of art at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds affiliate appointments in the departments of History and Germanic Languages and Literature. She is the author of Albrecht Dürer and the Epistolary Mode of Address (University of Chicago Press, 2016), in which she argues that the experience of writing, sending and receiving letters shaped how Germany’s most famous printmaker conceived of the message-bearing properties of the work of art. In two dozen articles and essays on German, Netherlandish, and Dutch art, Brisman dedicates her research to ethical questions of how images and artifact participate in the creation of social bonds across the early modern world.

She is currently writing a new book, The Goldsmith’s Debt, which closely studies one craft trade for evidence of the different conceptions of property that were in play during the sixteenth century. Brisman received her B.A. (2001), M.A. (2008) and PhD (2012) from Yale University. Prior to her arrival at Penn, she taught at Columbia University and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Albrecht Dürer Scholarship at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, The American Philosophical Society, and the Kress Fellowship in the Literature of Art at the Clark Art Institute.

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