Unglaub, Jonathan

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Unglaub, Jonathan


Education: University of Michigan, B.A.; Columbia University, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.


Office—Brandeis University, Fine Arts Department, 415 South St., Waltham, MA 02453. E-mail—[email protected]


Academic and art historian. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, assistant professor of fine arts, beginning in 2001, then associate professor of fine arts, chair of medieval and Renaissance studies. Also lectured at Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis; Getty postdoctoral fellow, 2000-01; fellow, Sterling and Francis Clark Art Institute, 2005.


Poussin and the Poetics of Painting: Pictorial Narrative and the Legacy of Tasso, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Arion, Burlington magazine, and Art Bulletin.


Jonathan Unglaub is an academic and art historian. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan before pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University. There, he earned a master of arts degree and a master of philosophy degree, leading up to completing a Ph.D. His Ph.D. dissertation, completed in 1999, dealt with the seventeenth-century French painter Nicolas Poussin and his works.

From 2000 to 2001, Unglaub served as a Getty postdoctoral fellow, and in 2001 he began working at Brandeis University as an assistant professor of fine arts. During this time he served as Sterling and Francis Clark Art Institute fellow. He was later promoted to associate professor of fine arts. Administratively, Unglaub also serves as the chair for the university's medieval and Renaissance studies section. Unglaub has also lectured at Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis. He is also a contributor to periodicals and journals, including Arion, Burlington magazine, and the Art Bulletin.

In 2006 Unglaub published his first book, Poussin and the Poetics of Painting: Pictorial Narrative and the Legacy of Tasso. The book examines the poetic concepts that Poussin employed in his artwork, blurring the lines between art and poetry. The first several chapters discuss how Poussin created paintings that mirrored writings of the sixteenth-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso and his scholarship on and understanding of originality in poetry and its composition. The middle five chapters look at all five of Poussin's paintings and three of his drawings that are derived from the Gerusalemme liberata, either individually or in comparative pairs, to break down the ways in which the artist incorporated Tasso's ideas of poetry into his visual art. Unglaub devotes an entire chapter to analyzing the Realm of Flora in the Gemaldegalerie, comparing the works to Giovan Battista Marino's Adone (1623) and Antonio Bruni's lyric ode, "La Rosa" (1630).

David Quint, reviewing the book in the Art Bulletin, remarked that "Unglaub correctly understands … the primacy in Tasso's theory of the idea of the (epic) poem." Quint noted, however, that "Unglaub might have given more attention to the differences between Tasso's theory and Tasso's practice; these, in turn, may point to dissimilarities between Tasso's poetry and Poussin's painting that reads that poetry through the theory." In conclusion, Quint stated that "Poussin's virtuoso art, whose studied pursuit of ideal forms Unglaub's excellent book allows us to read with new force and clarity, furthered this high-minded aesthetic in painting—and can share something of its coldness and the quality of being under glass, a chill that would intensify in Poussin's own late style and in the next generation of French painters who followed Poussin's example. Reading the poetry of Tasso's Liberata and viewing Poussin's art point up a difference that cannot simply be ascribed to that between the two media and their possibilities of communication."

Charles Dempsey, writing in Renaissance Quarterly, commented that "it is a pleasure to acknowledge the additional labors exerted by" Unglaub in finishing this book with its "highly successful conclusions." Dempsey also mentioned that "Unglaub is also very good in his analyses of the effects of Poussin's profound immersion in the arts of poetics in his paintings." Dempsey summarized that "Unglaub's book is a welcome addition. His intention is not only to treat [some] of Poussin's paintings of subjects from Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, which indeed he does, but more broadly to investigate how Poussin immersed himself in Tasso's poetics, drawing lessons from it that apply to his handling of other subjects as well, whether drawn from history or from the repertoire of classical literature and poetry."



Art Bulletin, December 1, 2007, David Quint, review of Poussin and the Poetics of Painting: Pictorial Narrative and the Legacy of Tasso, p. 821.

Renaissance Quarterly, spring, 2007, Charles Dempsey, review of Poussin and the Poetics of Painting, p. 250.


Brandeis University, Department of Fine Arts Web site,http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/fine_arts/ (July 2, 2008), author profile.

Sterling and Francis Clark Art Institute Web site,http://www.clark.edu/ (July 2, 2008), author profile.

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