Evelyn Lincoln Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Professor of Italian Studies

Evelyn Lincoln is an art historian specializing in the history of print culture and the book in the early modern period.  She received a BA in art and literature from Antioch College in 1973, and was a printmaker and curator in San Francisco before returning to school in 1989 to study the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.  She received her PhD in 1994, joining the faculty in the History of Art & Architecture at Brown University in that year.  She is also a Professor of Italian Studies, and a member of the faculty of the program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. She is the author of The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker (Yale UP, 2000) and Brilliant Discourse:  Pictures and Readers in Early Modern Rome (Yale UP, 2014).

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work


Brilliant Discourse: Pictures and Readers in Early Modern Rome, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014 

The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000



"Gospel Lessons:  Arabic Printing at the Medici Press," Art in Print, (Nov-Dec. 2014): 4-10.

“Brands of Piety,” co-author with Pascale Rihouet.  University of California Davis Law Review 47:2 (December, 2013): 675-703.

“Publishing, Secrecy and Curiosity in a German Conclave Print,” Art in Print, 2:4 (November-December) 2012: 3-8.

“The Studio of Camillo Graffico, Engraver and Fountaineer,” Print Quarterly XXIX:3 (September, 2012): 259-280

“Invention and Authorship in Early Modern Italian Visual Culture,” DePaul Law Review 52:4 (Fall, 2003): 1093-1119.

“The Jew and the Worms:  portraits and patronage in a 16th century how-to manual,” Word & Image 19: 1&2 (Jan-June, 2003): 86-99.


Book Chapters:

“Printing and Experience in 18th-century Italy,” in Peter Mack and Robert Williams, eds.,  Michael Baxandall, Vision, and the Work of Words, London: Ashgate Press (in press).

“Mattia Giegher ‘Living” in Medina Lasansky, ed., Reviving the Italian Renaissance: Popular Culture, Icons & Significant Anachronisms, Pittsburgh, PA:  Periscope Press, 2014.

“Invention, Origin, and Dedication: Republishing Women’s Prints in Early Modern Italy” in M. Biagioli, P. Jaszi, M. Woodmansee eds., Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective, Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 2011, 339-357.

“The Engraved Line and the Viewer’s Imagination,” in Emily J. Peters, ed., in The Brilliant Line, Providence, RI:  The RISD Museum (2009): 107-123

“The Devil’s Hem:  Allegorical Reading in an Illustrated Life of St. Benedict”, in Cristelle Baskins & Lisa Rosenthal eds., Early Modern Visual  Allegory: Embodying Meaning, London, Ashgate (2007):135-154.

research overview

I am interested in the networks formed by communities of readers (including artists, printers and patrons) that go beyond the usual social markers, demonstrating areas where boundaries of class, education or religious identity are penetrated by interaction with printed books and images.  To this end I am interested in investigating Roman printing and knowledge networks in the early modern period through the creation and use of a digital platform for the identification of contributors and the responsibilites of those involved in Roman printing at that time.

I am also writing about color in Renaissance art and theories of vision.

research statement

My interest in the history of printmaking and book illustration has led me into the larger visual, literary and scientific cultures of early modern Italy, and the roles and creation of imagery in other media. The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker (Yale UP, 2000) discusses the history of the technology and uses of printing in the formation of artist's careers in late 15th- and early 16th-century Italy, seeking to identify the roots of a common literacy in disegno, which was judged to be the basis of all artistic practice. By investigating the value of disegno in fields other than the fine arts, this book points out how modes of drawing that were developed in other trades and under different circumstances were brought to bear on the mythological, technical and religious imagery of Italian Renaissance prints in the first hundred years of printing.

Subsequent research has focused on the roles of book illustration and literacy in vernacular scientific and religious treatises printed in 16th- and 17th-century Italy, particularly in Rome. In a series of articles and a book, "Brilliant Discourse: Pictures and Readers in Early Modern Rome" (Yale UP, 2014), I explore the role of illustrations in creating authorial credit and claims for particular knowledge among a newly created community of authors, publishers, printers and their patrons. New notions of intellectual property and self-consciousness about the status of authorship, the development of printing, image-making and publishing conventions for the attribution of authorship in the face of Church censorship, the stated and covert relationships between objectivity and observation, the representation of truth claims in pictures and text, the creation of an authorial voice and the rise of professionalism in the arts in the early modern period (1400-1800) are all part of my more recent work. 

funded research

Brown University Humanities Research Funds (for publication, 2004-2012)
Clark Art Institute Fellow, Williamstown, MA, Fall, 2004
American Council of Learned Societies, Fellowship, 1997-98
Bunting Institute Fellowship, Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, 1997-98
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Stipend, 1997
Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1993-94
Fulbright Grant (Rome), 1992-93
Mellon Foundation Summer Research Grant, 1991
Graphic Arts Council Fellow, Graphic Arts Council, San Francisco, 1987-88

geographic research area