Lisa Rafanelli

Assistant Dean of Special Programs, School of Arts and Sciences


Brownson Hall, 210

Lisa M. Rafanelli is the Assistant Dean of Special Programs within the Schools of Arts and Sciences, where she directs the Castle Scholars Honors Program, the First Year Program, the Atlas Program, and General Education. Dr. Rafanelli earned her JD from Columbia University Law School, and her PhD from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She first joined the Manhattanville faculty in 2004 as a specialist in Italian Renaissance Art. Dr. Rafanelli teaches a wide range of courses on the art and architecture of the Middle Ages, art in Italy during the Early and High Renaissance, Baroque art and architecture, and Northern Renaissance art. Dr. Rafanelli also teaches regularly in the Castle Scholars Honors Program and First Year Program. Dr. Rafanelli has published articles in a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals and edited anthologies and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences. Her first monograph, co-authored with Dr. Erin Benay, Faith, Gender and the Senses in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art. Interpreting the ‘Noli me tangere’ and Doubting Thomas, was published with Ashgate in 2015 and is now available in paperback. Her second monograph, Michelangelo’s Vatican Pietà and its Afterlives was published by Routledge in December 2022. Her forthcoming publications include “Breaking the Silence: Depictions of Gender-based Violence and Sexual Violation in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art,” in Gender Violence, Art, and the Viewer: An Intervention (Penn State University Press, 2024). Dr. Rafanelli is a member of the College Art Association, the Renaissance Society of America, the Italian Art Society, and is an associate editor of the Open Arts Journal.

Art History, BA, CUNY, Queens College
Art History and Archaeology, MA, New York University Institute of Fine Arts
JD, Columbia University Law School
PhD, New York University Institute of Fine Arts

Michelangelo's Vatican Pietà and its Afterlives (Routledge 2022)


"Reproductions of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Vatican Pietà as Experiential Mediators," in Posthumous Art, Law, and the Art Market (Routledge 2022)


"From Imitazione to Musealization: the Afterlife of Michelangelo’s Pietà in the 16th-18th centuries," in Almas de Pedra. Escultura Tumular: Da Criação à Musealização/Souls of Stone. Funerary Sculpture: from Creation to Musealization (Lisbon 2019)


Faith, Gender and the Senses in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art
(Ashgate 2015; re-issued in paperback, Routledge 2017) (co-author, with Erin Benay)


"Touch Me, Touch Me Not: Senses, faith and performativity in Early Modernity," in Open Arts Journal Volume 4, Special Issue, Winter 2014-2015 (co-edited with Erin Benay)
Link to article


"To Touch or Not to Touch? The Noli me tangere and Incredulity of Thomas in Word and Image from Early Christianity to the Ottonian Period," in To Touch or Not to Touch? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Noli Me Tangere (Leuven 2013)
Link to chapter


"Thematizing Vision in the Renaissance: The Noli Me Tangere as a Metaphor for Art Making," in Sense and the Senses in Early Modern Art and Cultural Practice (Ashgate 2012)

Link to Chapter


"Michelangelo’s Noli Me Tangere for Vittoria Colonna, and the Changing Status of Women in Renaissance Italy," in Mary Magdalene: Iconographic Studies from the Middle Ages to the Baroque (Brill 2012)


“Sense and Sensibilities: A Feminist Reading of Titian’s Noli Me Tangere (1509-1515),” Critica d’Arte 35/36 (2008)


“Seeking Truth and Bearing Witness: The Noli Me Tangere and Incredulity of Thomas on Tino di Camaino’s Petroni Tomb (1315-1317),” Comitatus 37 (2006)

Manhattanville University Research Grants, 2014, 2012

Samuel F. B. Morse Fellow, Institute of Fine Arts, 1997-1998, 2000–2001

NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Travel Fellowships, 1996, 2000

Columbia University Law School, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 1989-1992

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, 1987-1989

Shelby and Leon Levy Travel Fellowship (NYU), 1988

Phi Beta Kappa, 1986 (Sigma Chapter)