Barbara Lynn-Davis

Barbara Lynn-Davis portrait
blynndav@wellesley.edu
(781) 283-2055
Art
B.A., Brown University; M.A., Williams College; Ph.D., Princeton University
Barbara Lynn-Davis
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. My pleasure is using the beauty and meanings of art, architecture and gardens as jumping off points for writing. 

My passion for writing eventually lured me into the world of historical fiction. I am the author of a novel set in eighteenth-century Venice, Casanova’s Secret Wife (Kensington Press, 2017). The story is based on an account by Giacomo Casanova of a fourteen year-old young woman whom he passionately loved, married in a secret ceremony -- and ruined. I am currently at work on Almost Breathing: Raphael’s lost self-portrait and the most important single art loss of World War II. The novel is based on the true story of a painting by the Renaissance artist that was stolen from the Czartoryski Collection in Poland by the Nazis, and never found. 

At Wellesley, I have been able to unite these two intellectual threads—art, and writing—to bring out the best in students’ ideas. I am most proud that one of my students has won the college-wide Three Generations Prize for First-Year Writing every year since 2014!