Barbara Lynn-Davis

(781) 283-2055
B.A., Brown University; M.A., Williams College; Ph.D., Princeton University

Barbara Lynn-Davis
Visiting Lecturer in Art

Research focuses on the city of Venice, Renaissance to the eighteenth-century.

After graduating from college with a degree in art history, I worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and embarked on a life-long love affair with the lagoon city. In particular, I am interested in the ways 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 historic cultures deepens my understanding of our own relationship to nature: one of the most troubling questions of our time.

I am also finishing an historical novel set in eighteenth-century Venice, Casanova’s Secret Wife. The story is based on an account by Giacomo Casanova of an affair he had with a fourteen year-old girl, Caterina Capreta. 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: love, pregnancy, banishment, a terrifying miscarriage, and betrayal.

At Wellesley, I have been able to unite the two intellectual threads I care most deeply about—art, and writing—to bring out the best in students’ ideas. I am proud that my past students have been recipients of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis ’28 Art Prize; and twice, the Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing.