Department of Art History and the College
Tamara Golan studies and teaches medieval and early modern art from northern Europe. She specializes in the visual and material culture of Switzerland and southern Germany, and her interests range among the intersections of art, science, and the law; paradigms of expertise; artistic fraud and deception; and questions of materiality.
She is currently at work on her first book, which investigates the role played by legal definitions of evidence in the development of pictorial naturalism in 15th- and 16th-century Swiss art. This project explores how artists from this region addressed the growing desire to test and verify the sacred through forensic examination of the natural world, charting the increasingly vexed relationship between human artifice and its evidentiary status on the eve of the Reformation. Her other research projects include studies of the relationship between juridical discourse on the body and the political lives of reliquaries; the fraught legacy of late medieval artists in East Germany; the impact of confessional reform on altarpiece production; and Swiss mercenary artists.
Golan received a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She has previously held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (Max-Planck-Institut).