Professor Coonin is an active scholar, specializing in the field of Italian Renaissance Art. He has authored two books, edited or co-edited four volumes of essays, and published dozens of articles, museum catalogue entries, and book reviews. On academia.edu his papers have been viewed thousands of times by scholars from 98 different countries. His book on Michelangelo’s David appeared in 2014 and was cited in the New York Times, as “the definitive recent history of the statue.” It was also the answer to a question posed on the TV show Jeopardy! His book on the sculptor Donatello is the first scholarly monograph of the artist to appear in 25 years. It explains both the man and his art within the context of Renaissance Italy. Professor Coonin’s articles cover a wide variety of subjects, including issues of gender and sexuality prompted by a drawing by Michelangelo, the important role of women in the iconography of the Portinari Altarpiece, one of the most important Northern Renaissance paintings, and focused research on various aspects of Michelangelo, Donatello, Desiderio da Settignano, Vittorio Ghiberti, and other Renaissance artists. All of Professor Coonin’s writings are both scholarly and written in an accessible way to find readership with the general public.
Professor Coonin teaches a wide variety of courses, including the introductory survey of Western Art, intermediate-level classes in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art, and advanced courses on Michelangelo, Current Topics, and the Senior Seminar. He also teaches an unusual variety of interdisciplinary courses, including The Art and Science of Early Italian Painting, Art Today, The Bible and Art, and most recently, Chemistry and Art. Professor Coonin has offered various faculty-student research opportunities, including investigations into paintings at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, a documentation of the oldest Jewish cemetery in the South, and researching art medals from the 16th century to the present commemorating Michelangelo. His students regularly present papers at undergraduate research conferences, both at Rhodes and nationally. He is also a firm advocate of International education, and periodically teaches abroad through the Rhodes College European Studies Program.
Professor Coonin lives close to campus with his wife, children, cats, dog, and an ever-changing number of fish. He volunteers for various local organizations trying to make Memphis an ever more hospitable and kinder city. He can be found each Tuesday evening playing music with the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob and on weekends rooting (often hopelessly but doggedly) for the Miami Dolphins.
Donatello and the Dawn of Renaissance Art, London, Reaktion Press (USA distribution by the University of Chicago Press), 2019. [See review in Choice Magazine, 2020]
From Marble to Flesh: The Biography of Michelangelo’s David, Florence, The Florentine Press, 2014. [See reviews in Choice Magazine, February, 2015; Notes on Early Modern Art, vol. 2, no. 2, 2015, pp. 36-39; Italian Art Society Newsletter, XXVII, 2, Spring 2016, pp. 6-7; referenced in The New York Times, August 17, 2016; Sixteenth Century Journal, 47, 4, 2016, pp. 1067-1068.]
Co-editor (with Molly Bourne), Encountering the Renaissance: Celebrating Gary M. Radke and 50 Years of the Syracuse University Graduate Program in Renaissance Art, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, WAPACC Organization, 2016.
Co-editor (with Lilian Zirpolo), Vanishing Boundaries: Scientific Knowledge and Art Production in the Early Modern Era, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, WAPACC Organization, 2015.
Editor, A Scarlet Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Sarah McHam, New York, Italica Press, 2013.
Editor, Old Masters in Context: Romanino’s Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
Exhibition Catalogue, Memphis, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 2003.
“Beyond the Binary: Michelangelo, Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, and a Drawing at Windsor Castle,” Artibus et Historiae, 28, 2018, pp. 255-266.
“Altered Identities in the Portinari Altarpiece,” Source: Notes in the History of Art, 36, 1, Fall 2016, pp. 4-15.
“Bellotto’s Blunder and Michelangelo’s David,” Source: Notes in the History of Art, 35, 3, Spring 2016, pp. 250-257.
“How the Giant of Florence became Michelangelo’s David,” Encountering the Renaissance: Celebrating Gary M. Radke and 50 Years of the Syracuse University Graduate Program in Renaissance Art, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, WAPACC Organization, 2016, pp. 115-124.
“Art and Science in the Early Modern Period: An Introduction to Vanishing Boundaries,” Vanishing Boundaries: Scientific Knowledge and Art Production in the Early Modern Era, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, WAPACC Organization, 2015, pp. xiii-xxvii.
“The Spirit of Water: Reconsidering the Putto Mictans Sculpture in Renaissance Florence,” in A Scarlett Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Sarah McHam, ed. A. Victor Coonin, New York, Italica Press, 2013, pp. 81-110.
“Donatello, Desiderio da Settignano, and the Martelli” in Desiderio da Settignano, eds. J. Connors, A. Nova, B. Paolozzi Strozzi, and G. Wolf, Venice, Italy, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz-Max-Planck-Institut and Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, 2011, pp. 43-60.
“Dedicated Spaces: An Introduction to Tuscan Chapels,” in Chapels of Italy From The Twelfth to The Eighteenth Centuries: Art, Religion, Patronage, and Identity, ed. Lilian H. Zirpolo, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, WAPACC Organization, 2010, pp. 129-154.
“The Most Elusive Woman in Renaissance Art: A Portrait of Marietta Strozzi,” Artibus et Historiae, 59, XXX, 2009, pp. 41-64.
“Vittorio Ghiberti and the frame of the South Doors of the Florence Baptistery,” Sculpture Journal, 18.1, 2009, pp. 38-51.
“Dopo Lorenzo: On the Ghiberti Family Workshop,” Italian Art, Society, and Politics: A Festschrift for Rab Hatfield, ed. Barbara Daimling, Jonathan K. Nelson, and Gary M. Radke, Florence, Syracuse University Press, 2007, pp. 83-98.
Syracuse University, M.A.
Rutgers University, Ph.D