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Art History Professor's Book is Topic of N.Y. Times Article


By Briana Van Havermaat, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Caroline Murphy’s new book was the topic of interest in an August 28th New York Times article entitled “‘The Pope’s Daughter’: Ms. Machiavelli.” While the author comments that the book’s cover has the look of a thriller, it actually could be referred to as a historical crossover, weaving through some of the most important years in Roman history. Murphy, associate professor of art history, goes into her own rendition of the life of Felice, daughter of Pope Julius II.

The N.Y. Times article included in-depth descriptions of moments Felice encountered during her life. Professor Murphy characterized Felice as independent and strong. As she said in the N.Y. Times article, Felice exercised, “more authority over more individuals and more terrain than any other woman in Italy.”

When asked why she chose to write on Felice, Murphy replied, “When I came to UCR I found out that the special collections department at UCLA's library had some of her papers, including her dowry and will.  As an art historian, I was interested in her artistic patronage.” While Professor Murphy’s book portrays several messages to her audience she believes that, “Perhaps what is most important about Felice is her modernity. There are amazingly relevant lessons that one can learn from her about survival and success, standing one's ground, knowing when to compromise, and when not to give in.  She can be a role model of sorts, and I learned a lot from her.”

Professor Murphy received her Ph.D. in History of Art in 1996 from University College, London. Since then she has received several awards including a Getty grant for Yale University Press Books in the field of History of Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture, from the John Paul Getty Foundation, in 2002. She began teaching at UCR in 1998 and her areas of specialization include Renaissance art history from the 15 th-16 th century, and European gender and cultural history. She is also the author of “ Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons in Sixteenth-Century Bologna.” Currently, Professor Murphy is working on a book about Felice’s granddaughter-in-law, Isabella De’Medici.


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