Joseph Koerner

Joseph Koerner

Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Art and Architecture
Joseph Koerner
  • Region(s): Europe
  • Time Period(s): 15th century; 16th century; 17th century
  • Theme(s): Renaissance Art; Middle Ages Art


Joseph Koerner teaches and writes about the history of art from the late Middle Ages to the present day, with an emphasis on Northern Renaissance art.  He has written books on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, Albrecht Dürer, art and iconoclasm during the Reformation, Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, and word-image relations in Paul Klee, and is currently writing a book on art in states of siege.  He has curated exhibitions at Harvard, the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, and the Austrian National Gallery. 

Koerner wrote and presented the three-part series Northern Renaissance for BBC Television, as well as the feature-length documentary Vienna: City of Dreams, also for the BBC.  He has written, directed, and produced the documentary film The Burning Child, which explores, through interviews and visual explorations, the dream and nightmare of homemaking in Vienna from the city's emergence as a metropolis around 1900 until Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised there and in Vienna, Koerner studied at Yale, Cambridge University, and University of Heidelberg, before receiving his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. After three years at Harvard’s Society of Fellows, Harvard University,he joined the Harvard faculty, where he was Professor of History of Art and Architecture from 1991-1999.  From 2007 he has been the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture, an Affiliate of the Germanic Languages and Literatures Department, and a Senior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard.  He has also taught at Cambridge University, University of Frankfurt, University College London,Cambridge University, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Oxford University.

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