“Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ: the Artist as Evangelist” Aurora, Winter 2010 --Although the fleeing figure on the extreme left of Caravaggio's Taking of Christ has been called the Apostle John, this identification has often been denied, questioned, or ignored. I demonstrate this figure can only be St. John, the beloved Apostle, and thus provides a dramatic contrast within the picture to the traitor Judas. Also and more important, when understood with the figure on the extreme right, the fleeing John is only spatially peripheral; the two figures, when taken together form a pair that offers insights both into Caravaggio's spirituality and into his ideas on the mission of the painter.
“The poet in the Poem: Blake’s Milton” Studies in Philology, Spring 2015 --William Blake inserts himself both in the text and the illustrations of his illuminated book Milton as he does in no other of his works. This essay examines these instances of self-inclusion and argues that they serve as self-corrections within the overt function of the poem as a correction of John Milton.
"Taking Dictation: Plates 5 and 10 of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" Huntington Library Quarterly, Spring 2017, vol. 80, no. 1 --In this essay, I discuss two of the illuminations in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: an interlinear scene on plate 5 and a half-page illustration on plate 10. I argue that these depict episodes of dictation, referring to Milton and his dutiful amanuenses. They point to Blake’s later treatment of Milton in the poem named for him.
"Titian’s Flaying of Marsyas: Colorito Triumphant " Artibus et Historiae, 2018 --Titian’s painting of The Flaying of Marsyas in the archbishop’s palace in Kroměříž is possibly the last work touched by the brush of the master and it was probably still in Titian’s studio after he died in 1576. The painting depicts the punishment dealt to Marsyas, the loser in a musical contest between him and the god Apollo. In discussions of the painting, two aspects have occasioned significant disagreement: the identification of the figure of Midas as a self-portrait of Titian and the question of the facture of the painting as evidence of Titian’s late style or of simple lack of finish. These two issues are, I will argue, closely linked and can be illuminated by a consideration of Titian’s use of Giulio Romano’s composition of the same subject. My discussion of the identity of Midas, the facture of Titian’s painting and its relation to Giulio’s painting lead to an understanding of the Flaying of Marsyas as a contribution by Titian to the controversy between colore and disegno in sixteenth-century Italian art theory.