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 Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The New York Public Library, The Renaissance Society of America, and The University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities. Under contract with The University of Chicago Press, his book project “Pastoral’s End: Art, Ecology, and Disaster in Renaissance Italy” situates the work of the sixteenth-century Italian painter Jacopo Bassano within a context of aggressive agricultural expansion and dramatic 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.