Barbara Lynn-Davis

B.A., Brown University; M.A., Williams College; Ph.D., Princeton University

Barbara Lynn-Davis
Visiting Lecturer in Art

Research focuses on how Venetians experienced, represented, and imagined the natural world.

My own area of passionate interest is the city of Venice. I was drawn to Venice because of how almost perfectly preserved it is as an historical entity: one can step into, fall into the past when you are there. I have a particular interest in the way that Venetians, given their singular environment built on water, experienced, represented, and imagined the natural world. For me, asking this question about Venice and other historical cultures deepens my understanding of our own relationship to nature: one of the most troubling questions of our time.

I am currently at work on an historical novel set in eighteenth-century Venice. The story is based on an account by Giacomo Casanova of a love affair he had with a fourteen year-old boarder at a convent in Venice. I tell the story from her point-of-view, because while Casanova did an extraordinary job telling his view of what happened between them, I felt there was much more to imagine about what she experienced at his hands.

I have been primarily working as a writer and editor, and am thrilled to be returning to the college classroom and especially, to Wellesley. I would ideally like to work with students closely on their writing about art, to illuminate for them the ways and joys of writing beautifully about beautiful things.

I also work as an editor of exhibition catalogues for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Isabella Stewart Gardner was also a passionate lover of all things Venetian, so this is a dream job for me, too!