Janna Israel

Mellon Curator of Academic Engagement


Since 2021, Janna Israel has held the position of Mellon Curator of Academic Engagement at the Princeton University Art Museum, where she teaches with the collections, promotes scholarly engagement with the Museum, and contributes to the interpretation of the collections. Previously, she served as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Advance Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, where she oversaw a range of exhibitions and book projects including Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia, Conservation Spotlight: Titian. Saint John the Baptist, and early modern drawings. At the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, she developed academic programs and education initiatives and worked on a range of exhibitions and installations including By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800, Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage, and several exhibitions of contemporary artists.

Dr. Israel’s research has been supported by the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Delmas Foundation, the Villa I Tatti, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received her Ph.D. for a dissertation on Early Modern Venice and the conquest of Byzantium. She is developing her dissertation into the book “As Though another Byzantium:” Ruins, Artifacts, and Conflict in Renaissance Venice. It examines the complicated response of the Venetian Republic to the Ottoman conquest of its former trading partner, the Byzantine Empire, through Venice’s appropriation and exchange of art and objects from the Byzantine Empire.

Her other book project is also concerned with the shifting value of objects under different cultural, political, and geographical conditions. The Nature of Ores: Early Modern Metalwork explores a flourishing textual discourse about mining and metallurgical processes. Through an evaluation of legislation, diplomatic reports, and treatises about metalwork, The Nature of Ores aims to generate a broader understanding of early modern casting techniques, empiricism, fraud, artistic identity, and the control of natural resources in the formation of state power.



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