Faculty Profile

Melinda Schlitt

Professor of Art History; William W. Edel Professor of Humanities (1990)

Contact Information


Weiss Center for the Arts Room 202


Professor Schlitt teaches courses in art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance and ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture. Her current research focuses on 15th and 16th-century Italian art and criticism. She has published several articles on Francesco Salviati, Giorgio Vasari, Michelangelo, and the relationship between language and imagery in the Renaissance, and has edited (and contributed to) two books of new essays: "Perspectives on Early Modern and Modern Intellectual History," (Univ. of Rochester Press, 2001) and "Gifts in Return: Essays in Honour of Charles Dempsey," (Univ of Toronto Press, 2012). Prof. Schlitt is currently completing a monograph on Francesco Salviati and a study on the Arch of Constantine. Awards include the Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome; Resident Fellowship, Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities; Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society; Fulbright Foundation Research Fellowship; Lila Acheson Wallace-Reader's Digest Publications Grant, Villa I Tatti, Florence.


  • B.A., State University of New York at Purchase, 1981
  • M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1983
  • Ph.D., 1991

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ARTH 101 Introduction History of Art
This course is a critical survey of western art beginning with the Ancient Near East (approximately 4000 B.C.) through the Gothic period in Europe (early 1300s). Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of style, subject-matter, and function within an historical context, and especially on the student's ability to develop skills in visual analysis. Developing appropriate vocabularies with which to discuss and analyze works of art and imagery will also be stressed, along with learning to evaluate scholarly interpretations of them.

Spring 2017

ARTH 202 Art History & Ancient Art
This course will examine major monuments in the history of ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture from the variety of interpretive perspectives with which they have been addressed in the scholarly literature. Students will study and analyze art-historical "readings" of these monuments and compare the strengths and weaknesses of the authors' arguments in terms of methodological approach and use of both textual and archaeological evidence. In addition, the authors' cultural assumptions, interpretive premises, and ideological goals (if any) will also be addressed in attempting to understand how these works of art have acquired meaning over time and what constitutes that meaning. Offered every other year.

ARTH 212 Michelangelo-Man & Myth
In this course, we will explore the figure and art of Michelangelo from a historiographic and critical perspective. Understanding his role as an artist and the effect of his art on his contemporaries and subsequent generations of artists, critics, and scholars through our own era will be a primary goal. Readings will be drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources, and will include writings by Michelangelo himself, critical and theoretical commentaries, historical narratives, and art-historical interpretations. Conflicts within the scholarly community about how we might understand and reconstruct his life will also be addressed, as well as how the idea of the creative process was constructed and enacted during the Renaissance in Italy.Prerequisite: 101 or 102, or permission of instructor.

ARTH 301 Ital Renaissance Art 1450-1563
A survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Italy from 1450 through 1580. The works of Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bramente, and Titian, among others, will be addressed. Issues of style, patronage, and function will be considered within the political and cultural contexts of the 15th and the 16th centuries. Critical and theoretical writings of the period will also be discussed. Prerequisite: 101 and 102 or permission of the instructor.

MEMS 490 The Senior Experience
Senior Projects and Research in Medieval & Early Modern Studies. Seniors in the major will work independently with a director and a second faculty reader (representing another discipline in the major) to produce a lengthy paper or special project which focuses on an issue relevant to the cluster of courses taken previously. Under the direction of the program coordinator, students will meet collectively 2 or 3 times during the semester with the directors (and, if possible, other MEMS faculty) to share bibliographies, research data, early drafts, and the like. This group will also meet at the end of the semester to discuss and evaluate final papers and projects.Prerequisite. 200; four-course "cluster."