Art History Program

Michael Yonan

Michael Yonan
Professor of Art History
Focus Area: 

Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Art


Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001

Research Description: 

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art, especially in Central and Northern Europe; the decorative arts; material culture theory and studies; art historical methodology and historiography.  Current projects include several essays on Meissen porcelain; on the arts in eighteenth-century Sweden; a study of the Austrian nobleman and court jeweler Johann Michael von Grosser; and a book-length analysis of rococo design in southern Germany.   

  • ARHA 2860 The Lives of Objects: Thinking about Design History, the Decorative Arts, and Material Culture
  • ARHA 3730 Eighteenth-Century European Art
  • ARHA 3740 Nineteenth-Century European Art
  • ARHA 4005/7005 Art and Cultural Exchange, 1650­–1850
  • ARHA 4120/7120 Gender and Art
  • ARHA 4710/7710 Arts of the Rococo
  • ARHA 4720/7720 Art circa 1800: Revolution and Romanticism

ARHA 8710 Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Art.  Recent topics have included “Ornament and the Ornamental,” “Theorizing Material Culture,” “Art and Biography,” “Global Art in the Early Modern World,” and "Collecting."

Selected Publications: 


  • Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds: Global and Local Geographies of Art, co-edited with Stacey Sloboda (Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • Messerschmidt’s Character Heads:  Maddening Sculpture and the Writing of Art History  (Routledge, 2018) 
  • Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art (Penn State Press, 2011)
  • The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain, co-edited with Alden Cavanaugh (Ashgate, 2010)

Articles and essays:

  • "Ornamentation."  In The Oxford Handbook of the Baroque, ed. John D. Lyons. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 409–426.
  • "Cats: The Soft Underbelly of the Enlightenment."  Co-authored with Amy Freund.  Journal18 Issue 7 Animals (Spring 2019).  Available here.  
  • "Mary Sheriff and ASECS." Co-authored with Jennifer Germann.  Eighteenth-Century Studies 52.2 (Winter 2019): 151–154.  
  • "The African Geographies of Angelo Soliman."  In Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds, ed. Sloboda and Yonan (Bloomsbury, 2019), 209–225.
  • "Mapping Global Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds."  Co-authored with Stacey Sloboda.  In Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds, ed. Sloboda and Yonan (Bloomsbury, 2019), 1–18.  
  • "Material Fictions: A Dialogue as Introduction." co-authored with Eugenia Zuroski.  Eighteenth-Century Fiction 31.1 (Fall 2018): 1–18.
  • “Dresden to Duchcov.”  In Casanova: The Seduction of Europe, ed. Frederick Ilchman, Thomas Michie, C. D. Dickerson III, and Esther Bell.  Published to accompany an exhibition held at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Boston: MFA Publications, 2017), 220–235. 
  • “Interdisciplinary Material Culture Studies and the Problem of Habsburg-Lorraine Representation.”  In Die Repräsentation der Habsburg-Lothringischen Dynastie in Musik, visuellen Medien und Architektur, ca. 1618­–1918/Representing the Habsburg-Lorraine Dynasty in Music, Visual Media and Architecture, ca. 1618–1918, ed. Werner Telesko. (Vienna: Böhlau, 2017): 21–37. 
  • “Materializing Empire in an Eighteenth-Century Lace Gown.” Textile: Cloth and Culture 14 (2016), 2–18. 
  • "Die Hinterlassenschaft Maria Annas und das Konzept einer fürstlichen Porträtsammlung.”  In Höfische Porträtkultur: Die Hinterlassenschaft Erzherzogin Maria Annas (1738–1789),, ed. Eva Kernbauer and Aneta Zahradnik.  (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2016): 25–36.
  • “Art in Eighteenth-Century Europe.”  Oxford Bibliographies in Art History, ed. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.  
  • “The Uncomfortable Frenchness of the German Rococo.”  In Rococo Echo: Art, Theory, and Historiography from Cochin to Coppola, ed. Melissa Lee Hyde and Katie Scott.  Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment.  (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2014), 33­–51. 
  • “The Suppression of Materiality in Anglo-American Art-Historical Writing.” In The Challenge of the Object/Die Herausforderung des Objekts. Proceedings of the 33rd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art (CIHA), Nürnberg, 15–20 July 2012.  Ed. Georg Ulrich Großmann and Petra Krutisch.  (Nürnberg: Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, 2014), I:63–66.   
  • “Material Transformations: Thinking about Objects and Spaces at the Wieskirche.”   Journal of Art Historiography 9 (9/MY1)(December 2013), 1–13.   
  • “Messerschmidt, the Hogarth of Sculpture.”  In Seeing Satire in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Elizabeth C. Mansfield and Kelly Malone.  Studies in Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century.  (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2013), 209–226.
  • “Kunsthistorisches Museum / Belvedere, Vienna: Dynasticism and the Function of Art.”  In The First Modern Museums of Art: The Birth of an Institution in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. Carole Paul.  (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2012), 167–189.
  • “The Wieskirche: Movement, Perception, and Salvation in the Bavarian Rococo.”  Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 41 (2012), 1–25.
  • “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies.”  West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 18, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2011): 232–248. 
  • “Igneous Architecture: Porcelain, Natural Philosophy, and the Rococo .”  In The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain ed. Alden Cavanaugh and Michael Yonan (Farnham, Surrey, and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2010), 65–85.
  • “Nobility and Domestic Conviviality in the Paintings of Archduchess Maria Christine.” Amitié, Convivialité, Hospitalité/Friendship, Conviviality, Hospitality. Proceedings of the 2008 ISECS International Seminar for Junior Eighteenth-Century Scholars, Pardubice, Czech Republic.  4 (2009): 135–154. 
  • “Portable Dynasties: Imperial Gift-Giving at the Court of Vienna in the Eighteenth Century.”  The Court Historian 14, no. 2 (December 2009): 177–188. 
  • “Ornament’s Invitation: The Rococo of Vienna’s Gardekirche.”  The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 50, no. 4 (Winter 2009): 285–308.
  • “The Man Behind the Mask? Looking at Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 42, no. 3 (Spring 2009): 431–451.  
  • “Pompeo Batoni Between Rome and Vienna.”  Source: Notes in the History of Art  26, No. 2 (Winter 2007): 32­–37.
  • “Veneers of Authority: Chinese Lacquers in Maria Theresa’s Vienna.” Eighteenth-Century Studies  37, no. 4 (Summer 2004): 652–672. 
  • “Modesty and Monarchy: Rethinking Empress Maria Theresa at Schönbrunn.”  Austrian History Yearbook  35 (2004): 25–47.
  • “Conceptualizing the : Empress Maria Theresa and her Portraits.”  In Widowhood and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe, ed. Allison Levy. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 109–125.