David Young Kim

David Young Kim

assistant professor in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania

In Residence

July 2018 – August 2018

Research Project

He is currently working on two research projects. The first is entitled Groundwork: the Field of Renaissance Painting. This book seeks to develop a model for thinking about the early modern picture from the viewpoint of the ground—the field in and around which figuration occurs. Beginning with gold grounds in the fourteenth century and concluding with the darkened grounds of Baroque tenebrism, Groundwork explores how painters embraced the multiple meanings and possibilities of ground (referred to in the sources as campo, or field) to achieve compositional and narrative aims.

The second project relates to his interests in art historical language through the lens of translation.  Entitled Lives Found in Translation: Giorgio Vasari, Global Art History, and Cultural Authenticity, this project takes as its starting point twentieth-century translations of Vasari’s Lives (1550/ 1568) into German, Portuguese, and Korean to reflect on scholarly customs and the lingua franca of current art history. Conceived as an experiment in art writing, this book blends the genres of textual criticism, historiographic analysis, and intellectual biography to interrogate unspoken norms regarding cultural authenticity in the Renaissance art historical field.

Research Interests

  • Early Modern Art Literature and Art Theory
  • Pictorial Composition
  • Art Geography
  • Transcultural Exchange


The Traveling Artist in the Italian Renaissance: Mobility, Geography and Style (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014) x, 293 pages

Matters of Weight: Force, Gravity, and Aesthetics in the Early Modern Era, edited volume. (Berlin: Edition Imorde, 2013) ii, 151 pages

Authenticity and Art as Object: A Handbook of Terms (Philadelphia, 2017) [compilation of keyword entries written by art history grad students as part of Mellon Object-Based Study Initiatives], 79 pages

“Lotto’s Carpets: Materiality, Textiles, and Pictorial Composition in Renaissance Painting,” in The Art Bulletin 98 (2016): 41-72.

“Gentile in Red.” I Tatti Studies 18 (special issue on Islam and the Early Modern Mediterranean) (2015): 1-36.

“Mal’aria: Artistic Mobility and ‘Influence’ in Italian Early Modern Art Theory.“ In kritische berichte. Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften 42.1 (2014): 82-98.

“Hospitality and Hostility in Sixteenth-Century Art Literary Sources on the Mediterranean.” In Portable Archaeology and the Poetics of Influence: Croatia and the Mediterranean. Ed. Alina Payne (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 183-210.

“The Horror of Mimesis.” Oxford Art Journal 34.3 (2011): 335-353.

“Uneasy Reflections: Renaissance Images of Venice and Tenochtitlan.” Res: Anthropology and

Aesthetics 49/50 (2006): 80-91.


David Young Kim

Kolleg-Forschergruppe BildEvidenz

Arnimallee 10
14195 Berlin