Lisa M. Rafanelli

Lisa M. Rafanelli

Professor, Art History and Museum Studies
(914) 323-7182

About Me

Professor Lisa M. Rafanelli joined the Manhattanville faculty in 2004 as a specialist in Italian Renaissance Art. She earned her JD from Columbia University Law School, and her PhD from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She 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. Dr. Rafanelli’s research interests include the depiction of Saint Mary Magdalene in early modern Italian art, early modern feminist theory, the thematization of the senses in 16th century European art, and the reception of the European Renaissance in modern American culture. She 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. She is currently working on her second monograph, Michelangelo’s Vatican Pietà and its Afterlives (Routledge, anticipated 2023). Forthcoming publications include “Reproductions of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Vatican Pietà as Experiential Mediators,” in Posthumous Art, Law, and the Art Market, Sharon Hecker and Peter Karol, eds. (Routledge, April 2022); and “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, anticipated 2024). Dr. Rafanelli is a member of the College Art Association, the Renaissance Society of America, and is an associate editor of the Open Arts Journal.

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Current Courses
Art and Architecture of the Medieval World
Art in Italy 1200-1475
Art in Italy 1475-1600
Baroque Art and Architecture
The Body in Art and Visual Culture
Decoding DaVinci
Great Renaissance Masters
Learning to Look: Introduction to Visual Studies and Art History
Saints and Sinners: The Renaissance Papacy
Women Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque
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
Feature Publications


Reproductions of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Vatican Pietà as Experiential Mediators

Routledge, 2022


Co-Author, with Erin Benay
Faith, Gender and the Senses in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art

Ashgate, 2015; re-issued in paperback, Routledge, 2017

Edited Volume

Co-editor with Erin Benay
Touch Me, Touch Me Not: Senses, Faith and Performativity in Early Modernity

Open Arts Journal Volume 4, Special Issue, Winter 2014-2015

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

Leuven, 2013

Link to chapter


Thematizing Vision in the Renaissance: The Noli Me Tangere as a Metaphor for Art Making

Ashgate, 2012

Link to Chapter


Michelangelo’s Noli Me Tangere for Vittoria Colonna, and the Changing Status of Women in Renaissance Italy

Brill, 2012

Awards & Grants

Manhattanville College 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)