James Harper

  • Associate Research Professor of Art History
  • Director of Museum Studies
  • Italian Art The Baroque Era European Tapestry Art and Politics

210 Borland

James Harper


A specialist in European art of the seventeenth century, James Harper holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. His research treats the intersection of art and politics and he has written on topics including monumental biographical imagery as a form of propaganda, materiality and meaning in tapestry, the image of the Turk in western art, the high baroque painter Pietro da Cortona, “art strategies” at the papal court, and the reception of art and architecture in the era of the Grand Tour.

His work has received the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Samuel Kress Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.

Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, Harper taught at the University of Oregon and worked in museums including the National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Harvard University Art Museums.

Collected Works