What's New?

PUBLISHED (April 2022)

“The Longue Durée of the Borgo Fortifications,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 81 (2022).

TALK (April 2022)

"Tertiary Qualities," Lo Studio Sperimentale della Percezione da una Prospettiva Fenomenologica: Da Presente al Futuro - Simposio dedicato a Ugo Savardi, Macerata

PUBLISHED (December 2021)

“Right for the Wrong Reason, Wrong for the Right Reason: Gibson and Arnheim on Picture Perception,” Public Journal of Semiotics 9 (2021): 74-87.

“Guidobaldo II della Rovere and Titian, Witnesses to History,” in Anne-Marie Eze, Matthew Hayes, Ian Kennedy and Ian Verstegen, Titian, the della Rovere Family, & his Portrait of Guidobaldo II and his Son (London: The Klesch Collection, 2021), 69-91.

PUBLISHED (October 2021)

"Perspective, Space, and the Camera Obscura in the Renaissance," in Krešimir Purgar, ed., The Palgrave Handbook of Image Studies (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 75-91.

"A 'Rediscovered' Portrait of Vittoria Farnese, Duchess of Urbino, by Taddeo Zuccaro," Colnaghi Studies Journal 9 (2021): 43-54.

PUBLISHED (June 2021)

"Illusory Planes in Fred Sandback's Sculpture," Leonardo 54 (2021): 418-422.

“Bryson, Kuhn, and the Exorcism of Progress from Art Historical Discourse,” in Maria Giuseppina di Monte, Valentina Filamingo and Emilia Ludovici, eds., Arte e filofia del ‘900 (Rome: De Luca Editori d’Arte, 2021), 61-76

TALK (February 2021)

"Gestalt Psychology and the New School 'Miracle'" New School for Social Research, Gestalt Speaker Series; Click HERE for a link

TALK (January 2021)

"Rudolf Arnheim and the Disquieting Questions of Life and Art," History of Art Colloquium, University of Pennsylvania, January 29th, 2020; Click HERE for the recording of the event

PUBLISHED (December 2020)

"Common Scales in Military Maps from the Fortification Projects for Rome," Nexus Network Journal 23 (2021).

CONFERENCE (November 2020)

"Image Act Skepticism: Philosophical Challenges for Art Historians," 9th Budapest Visual Learning Conference, 26 November 2020, Budapest (virtual)

CONFERENCE (October 2020)

“The Dialectics of Realism in the Academy," The Real within Reach: Contemporary Realisms and the Arts, Bonn, Germany (virtual)

PUBLISHED (November 2019)

Federico Barocci and the Science of Drawing in Early Modern Italy (Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Library, 2019); https://books.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/arthistoricum/catalog/book/468?lang=en.

“Art and Science in the Thinking of Rudolf Arnheim,” in Shyam Wuppuluri and Dali Wu (eds.), On Art and Science: Tango of an Eternally Inseperable Duo (Cham: Springer, 2019), 87-100.

“Frondizi and Mandelbaum on the Ontology and Phenomenology of Value,” Gestalt Theory 41 (2019): 277-291.

“Otto Pächt, ‘Hegelian’ Exile in Cold-War England,” Konsthistorisk tidskrift (2019).

“Winckelmann and Pictoriality,” in Fabrizio Cambi and Gabriella Catalano, eds., Johann Joachim Winckelmann e l’estetica della percezione (Rome: Istituto di Studi Germanici, 2019), 63-80.

PUBLISHED (September 2019)

"Pictorial Continuous Narratives: Perceptual-Representational Strategies" (with Tamara Prest and Laura Messina Argenton), Art & Perception 7 (2019): 238-250 . (image above: Giusto de' Menabuoi, from the Baptistry, Padua Cathederal)

PUBLISHED (June 2019)

Alberto Argenton, Art and Expression: Studies in the Psychology of Art, edited by Ian Verstegen (London: Routledge, 2019).

PUBLISHED (January 2019)

Arnheim, Gestalt and Media: An Ontological Theory (Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag, 2019).

"Otto Pächt and 'National' Constants in Late Gothic Painting," Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 65 (2018): 135-153.

PUBLISHED (October 2018)

Translation and Commentary on Paolo Bozzi (with Carlo Maria Fossaluzza), “Tertiary Qualities,” in Ivana Bianchi and Richard Davies, eds., Paolo Bozzi's Experimental Phenomenology (London: Routledge, 2018): 345-364, 365-367.

PUBLISHED (September 2018)

“Doing Underlaboured Theory,” Journal of Critical Realism 17 (2018): 1-11.

CONFERENCE (August 2018)

“Pictorial Continuous Narratives: Perceptual-Representational Strategies” (with Tamara Prest, Laura Messina Argenton and Alberto Argenton ), Visual Science and Art, Trieste, Italy

CONFERENCE (February 2018)

“Getting the Metanarrative we Deserve,” Palpable and Mute as a Globed Fruit, College Art Association, Los Angeles

PUBLISHED (February 2018)

“Revisiting Arnheim and Gombrich in Social Scientific Perspective,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76 (2018): 45-56.

CONFERENCE (January 2018)

“Winckelmann e la percezione nella prospettiva della Gestalt,” Johann Joachim Winckelmann e l'estetica della percezione, Istituto italiano di studi germanici, Rome, Italy

CONFERENCE (November 2017)

“Tethered Agents: Labor Exports from the Duchy of Urbino,” Migrations: Body, Word, Spirit. A Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference, University of Maryland, College Park

CONFERENCE (August 2017)

“Illusory Planes in Fred Sandback's Sculpture,” Visual Science of Art Conference, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, August 2017

PUBLISHED (April 2017)

“Creating a Discipline: W. J. T. Mitchell and the Chicago School of Visual Studies,” in Kresimir Purgar, ed., W. J. T. Mitchell's Image Theory: Living Pictures (London: Routledge, 2017).

PUBLISHED (Summer 2016)

Website: Visual Art and Perception (Postmodern Arnheim).

PUBLISHED (December 2016)

“Guidobaldo II in European Perspective,” Yale Art Gallery Bulletin (2016), 43-52.

“Is Art History Still a Coy Science?” [Preziosi Tribute], Journal of Art Historiography 15 (2016); 15/IV1: https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/verstegen.pdf.

PUBLISHED (October 2016)

“Barocci’s Immacolata within ‘Franciscan’ Umbria,” Kunstgeschichte: Open Peer Review Journal (2016).


PUBLISHED (June 2016)

“Obscene History: The Two Sedlmayrs,” Studia Austriaca 24 (2016): 79-93.


PUBLISHED (May 2016)

“The Anti-Sign: Anti-Representationalism in Contemporary Art Theory,” Culture, Theory and Critique 57 (2016): 215-227.

“A Functional Theory of Post-Modern Art,” Art and Philosophy/Sztuka i Filozofia 44 (2014): 46-54.

PUBLISHED (April 2016)

“Crying Hegel in Art History," Journal of Critical Realism 15 (2016): 107-121.

PUBLISHED (January 2016)

“Britsch's Lesson: Synthetic Cubism as Gestalt-Perception," Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft 60 (2015): 245-255.

PUBLISHED (November 2015)

Arnheim beyond Formalism (special issue Gestalt Theory), with contributions by Alberto Argenton, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, Göran Sonesson and Ian Verstegen). Link to open access publication.


Alberto Argenton, "Is Arnheim Just a Formalist?"

Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, "Mind over Matter"

Göran Sonesson, "Signs and Gestalten: From Visual Thinking to Pictorial Concepts"

Ian Verstegen, "Lacan and Gestalt Theory, with Some Suggestions for Cultural Studies"

2015 BARONIUS LECTURE (November 2015)

The Pontifical Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Brooklyn, New York, November 12, 2015

PUBLISHED (July 2015)

Federico Barocci and the Oratorians: Corporate Patronage and Style in the Counter-Reformation (Truman State University Press, 2015).

PUBLISHED (June 2015)

“Conjugal Piety: Creusa in Barocci’s Flight of Aeneas from Troy,” in Marice Rose and Alison Poe, eds., Receptions of Antiquity, Receptions of Gender (Brill, 2015), 393-417.

CONFERENCE (April 2015)

“Seriality and Co-existence are Mutually Exclusive in Historical Consciousness,” Thinking Serially: Repetition, Continuation, & Adaptation, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, April 2015

PUBLISHED (January 2015)

Ragionamenti percettivi. Saggi in onore di Alberto Argenton, edited by Carlo M. Fossaluzza e Ian Verstegen

This is a Festschrift offered to Alberto Argenton, retired professor of the psychology of art at the University of Padua by a group of colleagues, friends and students. A presentation of the book took place in Milan on January 20th at the Libreria Coop Statale, via Festa del Perdono 12, at 6pm. For photos, click HERE.



Ugo Savardi e Ivana Bianchi, Ragionate percezioni allo specchio

Daniele Zavagno, Natale Stucchi e Olga Daneyko, Quando la psicologia della percezione incontra la storia dell’arte: il caso San Lorenzo

Caterina Malisano e Tiziano Agostini, Usi e abusi della prospettiva: osservazioni sperimentali sulle reverspective di Patrick Hughes

Wiesława Limont, Conceptual metaphor in visual art

Ian Verstegen, Arnheim on artistic symbolization (with some help from Argenton)

Laura Messina, Comics & closure

Gabriella Gilli e Francesca M. Rozzi, La fruizione di opere d’arte al museo

Mario Zanforlin, I fenomeni stereocinetici fra arte e scienza

Michele Sinico, Gestaltismi e fenomenologie nella Bauhaus

Tamara Prest, Design e espressione: Donald Norman e Rudolf Arnheim

Luca Farulli, La distanza dalla felicità. Note in margine al rapporto arte-felicità

Carlo M. Fossaluzza, Proposta per un approccio etico alla lettura dell’arte: il caso di Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Giovanni Bruno Vicario, Qualche testimonianza di immagini

PUBLISHED (November 2014)

"What can Arnheim Learn from Flusser (and Vice Versa)?" Flusser Studies 18 (2014): 1-11.

PUBLISHED (November 2014)

"An Ontological Turn in the Philosophy of Photography" (with Carlo Maria Fossaluzza), Proceedings of the European Society of Aesthetics 6 (2014): 1-13.

PUBLISHED (July 2014)

Giambattista Nolli and Rome: Mapping the City before and after the Pianta Grande, edited by Ian Verstegen and Allan Ceen (Rome: Studium Urbis, 2014)

PUBLISHED (June 2014)

"The Tactility of Early Cubism," Konsthistorisk tidskrift (2014): 1-13.

Pioneering research by Marianne Teuber indicated the influence of William James’ theories of visual perception on early Cubism, transmitted via the personality of Gertrude Stein. This article takes up this research by qualifying that the complexity of James’ theories did not make them immediately applicable to painting practice and nominates instead the simpler theories of Bernard Berenson as the body of ideas about the necessity of touch to inform vision as underlying the earliest efforts of Braque and Picasso. In this way, one is able to better understand the way in which early Cubist critical writing incessantly notes how touch overcomes perspective distortion. Noting Berenson’s currency in French intellectual circles, it is clear at the same time that Berenson was the unwitting source of these ideas and did not promote them individually.


"An Ontological Turn in Photo Aesthetics" (with Carlo Maria Fossaluzza), European Society for Aesthetics, Amsterdam.

PUBLISHED (May 2014)

"Reforming Visual Semiotics: The Dynamic Approach," Semiotica (2014): 31-48.

A delayed publication outlining a non-static and dynamic approach to visual art based on the gestalt linguistics of Brandt, Petitot, and Wildgen.

PUBLISHED (April 2014)

Cognitive Iconology: How and When Psychology Explains Images (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014)

CONFERENCE (March 2014)

"One Man and a Sheet of Paper: An Ecological Approach to Federico Barocci," Beyond Disegno, Renaissance Society of America.

PUBLISHED (February 2014)

"Dispositional Realism and the Specificity of Digital Media," Leonardo 47 (2014): 167-171.

CONFERENCE (November 2013)

Remediating Flusser, University of Connecticut

PUBLISHED (September 2013)

"Padua Blue between Katz and Kristeva: A Naturalistic Third Way for Visual Studies," re·bus: A Journal of Art History and Theory

PUBLISHED (May 2013)

"A New Reattributed Painting by Francesco Vanni in Malta" (with John Marciari), Melita Historica 16 (2012). A painting in Gozo, Malta, traditionally ascribed to Barocci, is in this article given to Francesco Vanni. Through scale analysis, it is shown to be a variation of the God the Father and Virgin Mary grouping from Vanni's altarpiece in Santa Margherita, Cortona, and is almost identical to a painting in the Siena Pinacoteca.

PUBLISHED (May 2013)

"Burckhardt, Narrative and Objectivity," in Sabine Frommel Antonio Brucculeri, eds., L’idée du style dans l’historiographie artistique (Campisano, 2013).

Conference (February 2013)

College Art Association, chair of the panel, "The Changing Complexion of Theory."

PUBLISHED (October 2012)

“Teoria della gestalt, enattivismo, e la rettorica di ‘realismo,’” ["Gestalt Theory, Enactivism and the Rhetoric of 'Realism'"] in Fiorenza Toccafondi, ed. Fenomenologia e scienza. Punti d'incontro passati e presenti (Firenze, Le Lettere, 2012). This book, edited by the philosopher at the University of Parma - Fiorenza Toccafondi - includes essays by Carmelo Cali, Michele Sinico and Fiorenza herself. My essay reviews contemporary approaches to the philosophy of mind and in particular the question of mental representation and criticizes the "enactive" or sensorymotor theory of perception associated with Alva Noe and others.

Conference (October 2012)

International conference: I Barocci a Urbino tra arte e scienza. Organized by Enrico Gamba, this conference marks the 400th anniversary of Federico Barocci's death.

PUBLISHED (August 2012)

"Materializing Strukturforschung," in Dan Adler and Mitchell Frank (eds.) German Art History and Scientific Thought (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 141-160.

PUBLISHED (June 2012)

"Is William Epstein a Gestalt Psychologist?" [Special Epstein Issue], Gestalt Theory 34 (2012): 179-190.

PUBLISHED (April 2012)

"When Are We Speculating on History? A Mandelbaumian Theory," Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (2012): 60-83.

April 2012

Byzantium/Modernism Conference, Yale University

March 2012

After the 'New Art History,' University of Birmingham, England

PUBLISHED (January 2012)

"Come dire oggetivamente che la prospettiva e' relativa," in Tiziana Andina and Carmelo Cali, eds., Arte, Psicologia e Realismo: Saggi in Onore di Lucia Pizzo Russo [special issue Rivista di Estetica], 48 (2011): 217-235.

"La 'seconde' ecole de Vienne et les sciences sociales," in Celine Trautmann-Waller, ed., Austriaca: Cahiers universitaires d'information sur l'Autriche 26 (2011): 159-187.

"Vasari's Progressive (but non-Historicist) Renaissance," Journal of Art Historiography (2011).

review essay of Scott Higgins, ed., Arnheim for Film and Media Studies, in Leonardo Reviews Quarterly (2011).

PUBLISHED (November 2011)

"Due Varieta' in Se: Practices of Engagement in Bronzino's Portraits," Source

"Eminem and the Tragedy of the White Rapper," Journal of Popular Culture

May 2011: lectures in Milan, Palermo and Verona

Verona, 5/12/11: Tribute to Creativity, Arte Programmata, Massironi, Bozzi ("Arte programmata, creativita' e la sfida del postmoderno")

Palermo, 5/11/11: Dottorato di Ricerca in Estetica e teoria delle arti ("L'arte secondo Arnheim")

PUBLISHED (Spring 2011)

Arnheim and Ingarden on the Ontology of Art,” Gestalt Theory 32 (2011): 307-322. This paper seeks an engagement between the rigorous ontological ideas of Ingarden and the less formal but more medially sensitive approach of Arnheim. Together they form the basis of a powerful theory of media.

PUBLISHED (Fall 2010)

“Francesco Paciotti, Military Architecture, and the European Geopolitics,” Renaissance Studies. This article uses the Urbinate architect, Francesco Paciotti, as a meas to establish the European ambitions and engagement of the ducal family of Urbino, the della Rovere. Following the tides of warfare and alliances, it explains the involvement of the little duchy of Urbino in many important European events and ends with a consideration of the benefits of nobility for an architect's social manouvering and the priority of military architecture in the scheme of things.

PUBLISHED (Summer 2010)

"A classification of perceptual corrections of perspective distortions in Renaissance painting," Perception 39 (2010): 677-694. This paper weighs in on debates in perspective studies and stakes out a middle ground between the scientistic approach of Edgerton, Kemp and Field and the poetic approach of Elkins by noting that deviations from true perspective are predictable based on simple perceptual mechanisms.

(Published December 2009) Maurice Mandelbaum and American Critical Realism (London: Routledge)

PUBLISHED (Fall 2009) "Prägnanz als Singularität von Zeichen: Das Beispiel Tizians" Zeitschrift für Semiotik (2009). In addition to my paper on Cubism with Roger Rothman, this is a further rehabilitation of visual semiotics, integrating observations of Gestalt theory with dynamic semiotics. An English version is available on the c.v. page.

October 2009 Lecture on Hans Sedlmayr and Strukturforschung at the colloquium on the Vienna School of art history, hosted by Richard Woodfield.

Simone Barocci? Reduction Compass, c. 1600, Cassa di Risparmio, Pisa.

UPDATE (Fall 2009): the findings of this article have appeared in a number of places, the newly found head by Barocci sold by Christies, the catalog for the Met show Raphael to Renoir: Drawings from the Collection of Jean Bonna, discussion of the Linder Gallery, and David Stork's research on Van Eyck and drawing with optical aids.

PUBLISHED (Fall 2008) (with John Marciari) "Grande quanto l'opera: Scale and Function in Barocci's Drawings" Master Drawings (2008). The role of mechanical devices has been hotly debated in art history since David Hockney's controversial claims. In this article, we provide evidence that Federico Barocci (1535-1612) developed a highly sophisticated method of developing an altarpiece in preparatory drawings based on an interlocking system of ratios, derived from the reduction compass (compasso di riduzione) like the one illustrated above.

Dirck Jacobsz., Portrait of his Father, Jacob Cornelisz. and Mother, c. 1550, Toledo Museum of Art

PUBLISHED (Fall 2008) "Between Presence and Perspective: The Portrait-in-a-Picture in Early Modern Painting," Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte (2008). How are we to interpret the way in which Jacobsz. has combined a fully frontal portrait of his mother with the after-thought of the canvas enframing her? It is not enough to say that perspective was 'poetic' at the time, for there is a very predictable trend in such pictures toward preserving the frontality and 'presence' of the sitter.

August 2008 Lectures on art and perception at the Alpbach Forum in Austria.