John Hunisak

Professor Emeritus of History of Art & Architecture


John Hunisak has taught the history of art at Middlebury since the fall of 1970. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Williams College, with an MA and PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. His scholarly interests involve mostly painting and sculpture, from the Italian Renaissance through early modernism in Europe and America. He co-authored The Art of Florence (Abbeville Press), along with Glenn M. Andres and A. Richard Turner. He wrote The Sculptor Jules Dalou: Studies in His Style and Imagery (also Abbeville Press, from the series “outstanding dissertations in the fine arts”) and Carvings, Casts & Replicas: Nineteenth-Century Sculpture from Europe & America in New England Collections (exhibition catalogue, Middlebury College Museum of Art), along with other essays and reviews (most recently, “Warhol and Opera: Andy’s Secret,” for the exhibition catalogue, Warhol Live, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts). After extensive research in the archives of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, he is currently engaged in a book-length study, called Andy Warhol: the Serious Side.

Hunisak has often taught courses for Middlebury’s Alumni College, at Bread Loaf, in Santa Fe (New Mexico), and abroad. He has lectured for several “Middlebury at the Met,” evenings in New York, prior to performances at the Metropolitan Opera. Most recently, he delivered a lecture entitled “Panis angelicus fit panis hominum (May the bread of angels become mankind’s bread): Images of food in representations of the New Testament,” for the Faculty Lecture Series and for the Vermont Council for the Humanities.

In addition to art and art history, Hunisak’s passions are cities, opera, and cuisine.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1174 - The Art & Era of Andy Warhol      

The Art and Era of Andy Warhol
During his lifetime, Andy Warhol was often regarded as a charlatan, but since his death in 1987, his art, life, and career have been the subjects of unceasing investigation and speculation. Was his art a put-on? How should we interpret his often-contradictory statements? What is his place in the history of art and of his era? We will study his art works closely, evaluate his own words, and consider the evaluations of others in an attempt to understand his significance. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2011

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HARC 0205 - Pa/Sculp. 19th Century Europe      

Painting and Sculpture of Nineteenth-Century Europe
During the 19th century, Paris was the capital of the art world, and the structure of this course will be based upon that central, undeniable fact. From the revolutionary 1780s until the Universal Exposition of 1900, we will consider 19th century painting and sculpture primarily as a Parisian phenomenon, with detours to other countries and cultural centers whenever appropriate. 3 hrs. lect. ART EUR HIS

Spring 2011

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HARC 0302 - Baroque Art Rome      

Baroque Art: Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Seventeenth-Century Rome
During the period to be considered, Rome was the undisputed capital of the art world. From the vast projects of Pope Sixtus V to the death of Bernini, we will investigate the richness, diversity, and splendor of artistic creation under a church triumphant. 3 hrs. lect. ART EUR HIS

Fall 2011

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HARC 0323 / HARC 0300 - Art and Texts      

Colloquium in Art History: Art and Texts
From antiquity through the 19th-century, most art in the Western tradition was derived from identifiable literary sources. Invention was calibrated by how well and with how much originality a visual artist depicted a scene from a textual source. In this course we will closely examine artistic interpretations of passages from the Old and New Testaments, The Apocrypha, the devotional literature of the 13th and 14th-centuries, The Iliad of Homer, and the Metamorphoses of Ovid. We will conclude with a case of parallelism, rather than direct influence: Zola's novel Nana and representations of prostitution in 19th-century Paris. (Not open to students who took HARC 0300 in Spring 2011) 3 hr. lect. ART EUR HIS

Spring 2011, Spring 2012

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HARC 0326 - Biography Of Artists      

Biography of Artists and Art History
Giorgio Vasari presented the history of art as “lives of the artists” in his publications of 1550 and 1564, but in modern times art historians and critics have often regarded the use of biographical evidence with suspicion. In this course we will examine the lives of three Italian artists who lived during the 16th and 17th centuries: Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71), and Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610), all of whom were homosexual or bisexual. The central question will be the usefulness of biographical data as a tool for interpreting their art. 3 hrs. lect. ART EUR HIS

Spring 2012

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HARC 0510 - Advanced Studies      

Advanced Studies
Supervised independent work in art history. (Approval Required)

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Winter 2014

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HARC 0711 - Qualif. Paper/Resrch/Writing      

Qualifying Paper, Research, & Writing
This course is a continuation of HARC 0710 which consists of ongoing, supervised independent research with an advisor, plus organizing, writing, and presenting a qualifying paper, which will be due on a Friday, two weeks before the end of classes. (HARC 0301 and HARC 0710)

Spring 2011, Spring 2012

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Department of History of Art & Architecture

Kirsten Hoving, Chair
Michaela Davico, Coordinator

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753