About Dr. Pilgrim
James Pilgrim (Colby College, BA; Williams College, MA; Johns Hopkins, PhD) studies the ways in which images helped early modern Europeans make sense of the rapidly changing world in which they lived. He is particularly interested in recovering artistic contributions to the emergence of a new environmental consciousness, a new global imaginary, and a growing skepticism about the reliability of the ‘visual’—themes that are as important today as they were in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Pilgrim’s research has been supported by the Renaissance Society of America, the New York Public Library, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). His current book project, “Pastoral’s End: Art, Agriculture, and Ecology in Jacopo Bassano’s Italy,” situates the work of this important sixteenth-century Italian painter within a context of aggressive agricultural expansion and environmental transformation on the Venetian mainland.
Before coming to Illinois, Pilgrim was an NEH Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at Vanderbilt University, where he was also co-organizer of the Environmental Humanities Seminar.
Research and publications
“Jacopo Bassano and the Flood of Feltre,” The Art Bulletin 104, no. 3 (2023): 115-137.
“Rubens’s Skepticism,” Renaissance Quarterly 75, no. 3 (2022): 917-967.
“On Sorte’s Osservationi nella pittura: Water, Fire, and Landscape in Early Modern Italy,” Grey Room 85 (2021): 6-17.
“Moretto’s Map,” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 62, no. 2/3 (2020): 297-309.