Jonathan Brown (art historian)

Jonathan Brown (born 1939) is an American art historian, known for his work on Spanish art, particularly Diego Velázquez. He is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts at New York University.[1]

Jonathan Brown
EducationDartmouth College, Princeton University
Known forArt historian
AwardsAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Philosophical Society; Guggenheim fellow; Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Slade Professor of Fine Arts, Oxford University; Gran Cruz, Order of Alfonso X el Sabio (Spain); Medalla de Oro de Bellas Artes (Spain); Catedratico, Museo Nacional del Prado (Spain)


Brown studied Spanish literature at Dartmouth College and spent a year abroad in Madrid. While in Spain, he became fascinated with the painter Velázquez, which inspired a lifelong interest in Spanish art.[1] He graduated from Dartmouth in 1960 and continued on to Princeton University, where he received his PhD in 1964 with a dissertation titled "Painting in Seville from Pacheco to Murillo: A Study of Artistic Transition."[2]

Academic careerEdit

Brown began his teaching career at Princeton in 1965. In 1971, he received the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize of the College Art Association of America and was promoted to associate professor. Two years later, he became the director of the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), New York University's graduate program in art history. He was appointed professor in 1977. At the IFA, Brown promoted the study of Spanish art, a relatively neglected field in the American academy.[1] During the last decade, he has expanded his interests to viceregal Latin American art, particularly the painting of New Spain.[3]


Brown has curated and co-curated several pioneering exhibitions throughout his career. While a faculty member at Princeton, he organized "Jusepe de Ribera: Prints and Drawings" at the university's museum, which featured several Spanish drawings from its collection. He has continued to organize shows focusing on Spanish drawings, including 1976's Murillo & His Drawings, also held at the Princeton University Art Museum, and "The Spanish Manner: Drawings from Ribera to Goya," held at The Frick Collection in 2010. Brown has had a long association with The Frick Collection, co-curating several shows at the institution, including "Goya's Last Works" of 2006. In his review of the exhibition, Andrew Schulz commented that: "Brown and [his co-curator Susan Grace] Galassi did a marvelous job of assembling works from public and private collections in North America and Spain that covered the full range of [Goya’s] late production: portraits in oil, ivory miniatures, black crayon drawings, and lithographs." Schulz concludes: "Their landmark exhibition and catalogue will provide the point of departure as we continue to gain insights into the last works of this singular artist."[4] Reflecting his more recent interest in the art of the Spanish viceroyalties, Brown organized the 2010-2011 traveling exhibition "Pintura de los reinos. Identidades compartidas en el mundo hispánico" on view at the Museo Nacional del Prado and Palacio Real in Madrid and the Palacio de Iturrbide in Mexico City.[5] In 2013, he co-curated "Chefs d'oeuvre de l'art mexicain au musée du Louvre" with Guillaume Kientz.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • (with Robert Enggass) Italy and Spain, 1600-1750: Sources and Documents, 1970
  • Jusepe de Ribera: Prints and Drawings [exh. cat.], 1973
  • Francisco de Zurbarán, 1974 (reissued 1991)
  • Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Painting, 1978
  • (with J.H. Elliott) A Palace for a King: The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV, 1980 (revised and expanded in 2003)
  • El Greco of Toledo [exh. cat.], 1982
  • Velazquez: Painter and Courtier, 1986
  • The Golden Age of Painting in Spain, 1991
  • Kings and Connoisseurs: Collecting Art in Seventeenth-Century Europe, 1995
  • (editor) Picasso and the Spanish Tradition, 1996
  • (with Carmen Garrido) Velázquez: The Technique of Genius, 1998
  • (with Marcus B. Burke) Velázquez in New York Museums [exh. cat.], 1999
  • (with Susan Grace Galassi), El Greco: Themes & Variations [exh. cat.], 2001
  • (edited with J.H. Elliott), The Sale of the Century: Artistic Relations between Spain and Great Britain, 1604-1655, 2002
  • (with Susan Grace Galassi) Goya’s Last Works [exh. cat.], 2006
  • Collected Writings on Velázquez, 2008
  • (with Lisa Banner and Susan Grace Galassi) The Spanish Manner: Drawings from Ribera to Goya [exh. cat.], 2010
  • Murillo: Virtuoso Draftsman, 2011
  • (with Luisa Elena Alcalá, editors) Painting in Latin America 1550-1820: From Conquest to Independence, 2014
  • In the Shadow of Velázquez: A Life in Art History, 2014


  1. ^ a b c Sorensen, Lee. [ Archived 2016-09-23 at the Wayback Machine Brown, Jonathan M[ayer]], Dictionary of Art Historians. Accessed 18 December 2012.
  2. ^ Princeton University (2015). "Department of Art and Archaeology, Research, Dissertations Completed." Accessed 13 January 2015.
  3. ^ Brown, Jonathan (2014). In the Shadow of Velázquez: A Life in Art History (New Haven: Yale University Press).
  4. ^ Schulz, Andrew (2006). "Jonathan Brown and Susan Grace Galassi Goya's Last Works (Review)." (November 14, 2006). Accessed 14 January 2015.
  5. ^ Rodríguez G. de Ceballos, Alfonso (2011). "Pintura de los reinos. Identidades compartidas en el mundo hispánico." Archivo español de arte LXXXIV, no. 333: 105-6.