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How to find us dr. J.P. (Joost) Keizer

dr. J.P. (Joost) Keizer

Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Studies
dr. J.P. (Joost) Keizer



Joost Keizer is a historian of early modern European art. His current research investigates the ethical dimensions of art, mimesis, pre-modern ideas of authorship and style, and the absorption of life in art. 
His first book, The Realism of Piero della Francesca (Routledge, 2017) studies the unique coordination of a Renaissance artist’s experience of his own world with the depiction of a distant, long-gone world. Central to the book are the contradictions raised by a new definition of realism that emerged around the middle of the fifteenth century and the pressure it placed on traditional ideas about style.
A second book, Leonardo’s Paradox (Reaktion and University of Chicago Press, 2019) argues that the paradoxes at the heart of Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas and practice defined some of the Renaissance’s central assumptions about culture and nature: that there is a look to script, that painting offered a path out of culture and back to nature, that the meaning of images emerged in comparison with words, and that the difference between image-making and writing also amounted to a difference in the experience of time. 
And in Michelangelo and the Politics of Art (forthcoming 2019), his third book, Keizer studies the complicated relationship between Michelangelo’s art and politics. Instead of arguing that Michelangelo illustrated political ideas, the book submits that Michelangelo sought to define a new way in which paintings, statues, drawings and buildings criticized and recalibrated the traditional political function of art and architecture.  
He is currently working on a new project tentatively entitled Uncommon Lives: Art and the Ethics of Style in Early Modern Europe. The project asks why, with a sudden intensity, art and artists became ethical. At the core of the book is the large amount of early modern sources on the artist’s character and behavior. Instead of treating these sources as anecdotal or literary tropes, the project argues that they reveal a new way of thinking about the relationship between an artist’s lifestyle and the style in which she / he worked. The project works with early modern medical treatises that treat the relationship between styles of living and styles of making. The project connects a forgotten chapter in the history of art with a new chapter in the history of early modern science.  

In his courses, Keizer explores with his students the theories and methods of Art History and other cultural disciplines, the history of early modern art, the history of the museum and the intersection between art and science. In 2018, he and his students organized the exhibition Into the White: The Art and Science of the Arctic at the University Museum, which brought together objects of art and science that were made or found in the Arctic Circle.  

Before coming to the University of Groningen he held positions at Columbia University and Yale University. He was a Fellow at Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies) in Florence.

His research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Kress Foundation and the Kolleg-Forschergruppe BildEvidenz at the Freie Universität Berlin. 

Keizer is a member of the Young Academy Groningen ( and a board member of the Young Arts Network. He chairs the Master Program in Curatorial Studies, is the chair of the Program Committee of the Art History Department and is a member of the Master Program Committees Arts and Culture and the Research Master Arts, Media and Literary Studies.



Leonardo’s Paradox: Word and Image in the Making of Renaissance Culture (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press and Reaktion, 2019).   

The Realism of Piero della Francesca (London: Routledge, 2017). 

Michelangelo and the Politics of Art (forthcoming).    

Edited Volume:  

Co-editor with Todd Richardson, The Transformation of Vernacular Expression in Early Modern Arts (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011).  

Book General Public:     This Is Leonardo da Vinci, with the illustrator Christina Christoforou (London: Laurence King, 2016). With translations into Turkish and Japanese.   


“Towards a Typology of the Black on White Drawing,” in Zeichnen auf kolorierten Papieren in Süd und Nord von 1400 bis 1650, ed. Iris Brahms and Klaus Krüger (Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming, 2019). 

“Rembrandt’s Nature: Paint and Pedagogy in the Dutch Republic,” Netherlands Yearbook for the History of Art 68 (2018). 

“Leonardo’s Prophecy: Towards a Visual Culture of Dreaming in the Renaissance,” in Leonardo e gli altri, ed. Francesca Borgo, Rodolfo Maffeis, Alessandro Nova (Venice: Marsilio, 2019), 229-48. 

“The Truth of Sculpture,” Making and Unmaking Sculpture in Fifteenth-Century Italy, ed. Daniel M. Zoli, Amy Bloch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019).  

“Site-Specificity,” in Michelangelo: Scholarship for a New Millennium, ed. Tamara Smithers (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 25-46. 

“Albrecht Dürer, Drawing, and Allegory,” in The Aura of the Word in the Age of Print, ed. Jessica Buskirk and Samuel Mareel (London: Routledge, 2015), 130-50. 

“The Concept of Style in Early Renaissance Art,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 78 (2015): 370-85. 

“Portrait and Imprint in Fifteenth-Century Italy,” Art History 38.1 (January 2015): 11-37. 

“Leonardo and Allegory,” Oxford Art Journal 35.3 (October 2012): 433-55. 

“Michelangelo, Drawing and the Subject of Art,” The Art Bulletin 93.3 (September 2011): 304-24. 

“Michelangelo Out of Focus: Medievalism as Absent Life in Italian Renaissance Art,” in Early Modern Medievalisms: The Interplay between Scholarly Reflection and Artistic Production, ed. Alicia Montoya, Wim van Anrooij and Sophie van Romburgh (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), 391-425. 

“Giuliano Salviati, Michelangelo and the ‘David’,” The Burlington Magazine 150 (October 2008): 664-68.  

Book reviews: 

Review of Leonardo da Vinci on Nature, ed. Fabio Frosini and Alessandro Nova (Venice: Marsilio, 2015), Nuncius: Journal of the History of the Visual and Material History of Science (forthcoming 2019).  

Review of Barbara Tramelli, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo’s Trattato dell’arte della pittura: Color, Perspective and Anatomy (Leiden: Brill, 2016), History of Humanities 3.1 (2018): 223-25. 

Review of Michael Hirst, Michelangelo. A Life (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011), and Deborah Parker, Michelangelo and the Art of Letter Writing (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), CAA Reviews (August 2013). 

Review of Dennis Geronimus, Piero di Cosimo: Visions Beautiful and Strange (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006), Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 71.1 (2008): 136-43.  

Newspaper and other publications: 

“Venetiaanse veelzijdigheid: De stijl van Bellini,” Kunstschrift (December 2018): 20-27. 

“‘De bladeren luisterrijk door het zonlicht dat op hen valt’: over de droom van een universele kunst,” Kunstschrift (April 2017): 8-11. 

Letter to the editor, The Art Bulletin 95.4 (2013), 657-58. 

“Pleidooi ter verdediging van de geesteswetenschappen [= To the defense of the humanities],” Volkskrant (April 4, 2012).

Other positions

Director of Curatorial Studies
Chair Program Committee Bachelor Art History
Member Program Committee Master Arts and Culture
Member Program Committee Research Master Arts Media and Literary Studies
Member Admissions Committee Master Art History
Last modified:19 February 2021 1.40 p.m.

Contact information

Oude Boteringestraat 34
9712 GK Groningen
The Netherlands

History of Art + Architecture