Rona Goffen, Board of Governors Professor of Art History at Rutgers University, died on 8 September 2004. Professor Goffen was among the most distinguished art historians of the Italian Renaissance. Her innovative scholarship opened new critical prospects on major art and artists. In her first book, Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian, and the Franciscans (1986), a focus upon the pictorial monuments in Santa Maria dei Frari expanded to offer a rich image of the religious, civic, and family culture of Venice. Interest in the Franciscans led to Spirituality in Conflict: Saint Francis and Giotto’s Bardi Chapel (1988), taking its author to late medieval Florence. Her next book, a monograph on Giovanni Bellini (1989), stands as the definitive study of the painter. Her research into the gynecological lore of the early Renaissance culminated in Titian’s Women (1997), a book that significantly reoriented feminist scholarship. In Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian (2002), she explored the competitive vitality of the artists’ world with her own blend of firmly based scholarship and historical imagination. Her last book, Renaissance Women: Art and Life in Italy, 1300-1600, was published posthumously in December 2004. [Excerpted and paraphrased from a biography by David Rosand, originally printed in Renaissance News and Notes, vol. 17, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2005): 5-6.]
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