Amy Knight Powell

Picture of Amy Knight Powell
Associate Professor, Art History
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Harvard University, Art History
M.A., Harvard University, Art History
B.A., UC Berkeley, Interdisciplinary Studies and Art Practice
Fax: (949) 824-2464
University of California, Irvine
Department of Art History
2220 Humanities Gateway
Mail Code: 2785
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Northern European Art and Visual Culture 1300-1700
Research Abstract
I teach and write about northern European art and visual culture from 1300-1700, with an emphasis on painting in the Netherlands. Within this field, my particular interests include allegory, iconoclasm, abstraction, morphology, repetition, landscape, untimeliness, and the ongoing challenge to art history posed by Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History.”

My first book, "Depositions: Scenes from the Late Medieval Church and the Modern Museum" (Zone Books, 2012) focuses on paintings and ritual re-enactments of the Deposition from the Cross. It describes how, on the eve of the Protestant Reformation, northern European images of the Deposition became allegories of the deposition of the image as such — allegories that gave measured form to the iconophobia of the late medieval church and prefigured the blows of Protestant iconoclasts. In the process, the book also traces the curious way in which this prefiguration prefigures in turn the repeated “deaths” of art since the invention of photography.

A second book, "The Whitewashed Image: Iconoclasm and Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscapes," is underway. It explores the belated impact of Protestant iconoclasm on the genre of landscape and uncovers evidence of the traumatic events of 1566 in the emptiness and illegibility of works by artists including Hercules Segers, Jan van Goyen, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Rembrandt van Rijn.
“A Short History of the Picture as Box," Representations, forthcoming.
“Images (Not) Made by Chance,” Art History 40.2 (forthcoming Spring, 2017).
“Squaring the Circle: The Telescopic View in Early Modern Landscapes,” Art History 39.2 (Spring, 2016)
“Bread/Head: Morphology of an Encounter,” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 7.1 (Spring, 2016)
“Segers’ Iconoclastic Vernacular,” Oxford Art Journal 38.3 (2015): 343-64.
“A Machine for Souls: Allegory Before and After Trent,” in The Sensuous in the Counter-Reformation Church, eds. Marcia Hall and Tracy Cooper, Cambridge University Press, 2013: 273-94.
"Late Gothic Abstractions," Gesta 51.1 (2012): 71-88.
Depositions: Scenes from the Late Medieval Church and the Modern Museum (Zone Books, 2012).
"Painting as Blur: Landscapes in Paintings of the Dutch Interior," Oxford Art Journal 33.2 (2010): 143-66.
"Caught Between Dispensations: Heterogeneity in Early Netherlandish Painting," Journal of
Visual Culture 7.1 (2008): 83-101.
"The Errant Image: Rogier van der Weyden's Deposition from the Cross and its Copies," Art History 29.4 (2006): 707-28. Reprinted in Location, (eds.) Deborah Cherry and Fintan Cullen. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
"A Point 'Ceaselessly Pushed Back:' The Origin of Early Netherlandish Painting," Art Bulletin 88.4 (2006): 540-62.
UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship, 2015-2016; Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Senior Fellowship, 2011-12, ACLS 2011-12, Getty Research Institute, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006-07; Columbia University, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Art History, 2004-06; Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington D.C., Chester-Dale Fellowship, 2003-04; Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard University, 2000-01
Other Experience
Graduate Programs
Visual Studies
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