Sherman, Claire Richter 1930-
SHERMAN, Claire Richter 1930-
PERSONAL: Born February 11, 1930, in Boston, MA; daughter of Harry (a grocer) and Fannie (Chaifetz) Richter; married Stanley M. Sherman (an architect and planner), February 21, 1954; children: Daniel James. Education: Radcliffe College, B.A., 1951; University of Michigan, M.A., 1958; Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D., 1964.
ADDRESSES: Home—4516 Que Lane N.W., Washington, DC 20007.
CAREER: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, instructor in art history, 1958-59; independent researcher, 1964-66; American University, Washington, DC, lecturer in art history, 1966-72; independent researcher, 1972-76; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, visiting associate professor of art, 1976; independent researcher and consultant, 1977—; Center for Advance Study, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, senior fellow, 1981-82, senior research associate, 1986-1994. Consultant to the J. Paul Getty Trust, 1983, and National Endowment for the Humanities.
MEMBER: Mediaeval Academy of America, College Art Association of America, Women's Caucus for Art (member of advisory board, 1978-80), Women's Equity Action League, Southeastern Medieval Association, Baltimore Bibliophiles.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright scholar, 1951-52; grants from American Philosophical Society, 1968, 1974, American Council of Learned Societies, 1975, 1982, and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1985; honorable mention, Katharine Kyes Leab & Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current exhibitions, 2002, for Writing on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.
(Editor with Adele M. Holcomb, and contributor) Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1981.
Imaging Aristotle: Verbal and Visual Representation in Fourteenth-Century France, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1995.
(Editor with Peter M. Lukehart, and writer of foreword) Writing on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 2000.
Contributor to art history journals. Member of editorial board, Women's Art Journal, 1980—.
SIDELIGHTS: Claire Richter Sherman has published widely on medieval art and art historiography and has lectured throughout the United States and Europe. Her research into the illustrations by Nicole Oresme for fourteenth-century translations of Aristotle's works resulted in Imaging Aristotle: Verbal and Visual Representation in Fourteenth-Century France. Oresme was a noted mathematician, physicist, economist, and philosopher who wrote several treatises about Aristotle's views in science, philosophy, and economics. "In a painstaking analysis, Sherman shows how the illustrations devised for each of the books into which the text is divided achieve the political and moral goals of the translated texts," Alison Stones observed in Medium Aevum. In a review of Imaging Aristotle for Political Theory, Cary J. Nederman commented: "Composed with the art historian's eye for visual detail and textual precision, Sherman's book forms a complete guide to the Oresme manuscripts."
Sherman serves as coeditor and author of the introduction to Writing on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe. A catalogue created for the "Writing on Hands" exhibition staged in 2000 at several U.S. museums, the book takes a historical and artistic look at the Middle Ages, when there existed an emblematic relationship between the human hand and creativity, skill, intellect, and spirit. "In other words," explained Michael O'Sullivan in a review for the Washington Post, "we use our hands not only to do stuff but to think and remember." Essays in the book cover a wide variety of topics, delving into the hand's relationship with the brain, sensory perception, and the rhetoric of gestures. The artwork reproduced in the book includes miniatures, prints, and drawings that date primarily from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries and focus on acquiring and disseminating knowledge via anatomy, psychology, music, mathematics, and numerous other disciplines. Some disciplines, such as alchemy, are no longer considered a science.
On the Writing on Hands Exhibition Web site, Sherman was quoted as saying that "throughout the exhibition, images of the hand play a vital role in interpreting the search for achieving knowledge of the self and interpreting universal human experience." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that "academic-speak is kept to a friendly minimum" in the catalogue, noting that "the essays and catalogue entries combine erudition with accessibility." Isis contributor Richard S. Williams praised Sherman's essays as "particularly instructive," and concluded that Writing on Hands "is much more than merely a catalogue; it is an important work in its own right."
Sherman once commented to CA: "My research has centered on the relationship between art and politics. The Portraits of Charles V of France, 1338-1380 expressed these interests, as have my subsequent publications. My work on illustrations of Aristotle's work in the French translation of Nicole Oresme carries on these themes in the wider context of cultural history and manuscript studies. A second area of my research and writing concerns the roles of women in art history and criticism. I have written biographical essays on prominent women in the field and a history of their professional development."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1996, review of Imaging Aristotle: Verbal and Visual Representation in Fourteenth-Century France, p. 1194.
Burlington, September, 1971; January, 1984, review of Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, p. 48.
Choice, October, 1995, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 277.
Isis, March, 2002, Richard S. Williams, review of Writings on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, p. 121.
Medium Aevum, spring, 1999, Alison Stones, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 142.
Museum News, May, 1982, review of Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, p. 63.
Political Theory, October, 1997, Cary J. Nederman, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 716.
Publishers Weekly, June 4, 2001, review of Writing on Hands, p. 71.
Renaissance Quarterly, autumn, 1983, review of Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, p. 422.
Review of Politics, spring, 1996, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 351.
Speculum, April, 1999, Jill Kraye, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 505.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, June, 1998, Sachiko Kusukawa, review of Imaging Aristotle, p. 313.
Victorian Studies, summer, 1982, review of Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, p. 512.
Village Voice Literary Supplement, September, 1982, review of Women as Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, p. 18.
Washington Post, December 29, 2000, Michael O'Sullivan, review of Writing on Hands, p. T31.
Writing on Hands Exhibition Web site, http://www.writingonhands.org/ (January 28, 2002).*