Lisa M. Rafanelli

Lisa M. Rafanelli

Professor, Department of Art History

Brownson Hall, Room 214
Tuesday & Friday 10:30AM-12:00PM; Wednesday 10:00-10:30AM; or by appt.
1 (914) 323-7182

About Me

Lisa M. Rafanelli is a professor of Italian Renaissance art history. She joined the Department of Art History in 2004, after completing her dissertation The Ambiguity of Touch: Saint Mary Magdalene and the ‘Noli Me Tangere’ in Early Modern Italy at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She teaches a wide range of courses, from the introductory level Survey of Art History to courses on Medieval art and architecture, art in Italy during the early and high Renaissance, northern Renaissance art, and Baroque art and architecture. Her advanced seminars cover the life and work of Michelangelo, artistic production in 15th-century Florence, and women artists of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque. Prof. Rafanelli also teaches Decoding DaVinci as part of the Castle Scholars Program. She regularly co-leads the Art History Department's study tours to Italy, taking students to Florence, Venice and Rome. Prof. Rafanelli’s research interests include the relationship of early modern feminist theory to the visual arts, the senses in 16th-century European art, and the reception of the European Renaissance in modern American culture. She has published in a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals and edited anthologies, and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences.

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Current Courses
Art History Survey, Part I
Northern Renaissance Art
Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo
The Age of Castle and Cathedral: European Art and Architecture 400-1400
The Life and Times of Michelangelo
Ph.D., New York University Institute of Fine Arts
J.D., Columbia University Law School
Master of Arts, New York University Institute of Fine Arts
Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude), Queens College, CUNY
Feature Publications


Faith, Gender and the Senses in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art. Interpreting the Noli me tangere and Doubting Thomas

Ashgate, forthcoming June 2015

Touch Me, Touch Me Not: Senses, Faith and Performativity in Early Modernity

Open Arts


“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”

To Touch or Not to Touch? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Noli me tangere


“Noli me tangere: An Inquiry into the Visual Culture”

IKON: Journal of Iconographic Studies

“Thematizing Vision in the Renaissance: The Noli me tangere as a Metaphor for Art Making”

Sense and the Senses in Early Modern Art and Cultural Practice

“Michelangelo’s Noli me tangere for Vittoria Colonna, and the Changing Status of Women in Renaissance Italy”

Mary Magdalene: Iconographic Studies from the Middle Ages to the Baroque

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)