Lange faculty portrait

Research Expertise and Interest

art, architecture, literature, afterlife of antiquity, middle ages & Renaissance / early modern age, Giotto, Donatello, Mantegna, Botticelli, Raphael, 19th/20th cent. historiography, Aby Warburg, total solar eclipses, theology, creativity and interdisciplinarity

Research Description

Henrike Christiane Lange, Ph.D. Yale University 2015, is a historian of art, architecture, and literature. Lange’s interests primarily focus on the late middle ages and the Renaissance, the historiography of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the afterlife of Greek and Roman antiquity.

Professor Lange's joint appointment in Berkeley’s Departments of History of Art and Italian Studies allows her to introduce her research in literature and linguistics into her art history classes and her historical scholarship on art and architecture into her Italian Studies courses. This integrative practice reflects Lange’s own academic path. After studying the History of Art and Romance Studies (Italian Language and Literature, Linguistics) at Universität Hamburg and Universität Wien (2000-2008), Henrike Lange finished her German Magister degree with exams in Italian on poetry (Ermetismo), the history of ekphrasis, and narrative theory. Lange’s Magister thesis Pisanello’s Perspective: Space and Narrative in his Mural Paintings deals with questions of textuality and visual narrative. At Yale, she completed a doctoral dissertation on Giotto’s Cappella degli Scrovegni, Relief Effects: Giotto’s Triumph, which argues that Giotto drew from specific ancient Roman sources for theological reasons in the context of the Jubilee of 1300. Lange’s dissertation includes thorough discussions of mimesis, of texts by Augustine, Dante, and Petrarch, and Trecento/Quattrocento mysticism.

Other current research projects include studies on Botticelli, Dante, relief in sculpture and painting as well as the historiography of relief, art and animals, art and creativity across the liberal arts, the legacy of exiled researchers such as musicologist Alfred Einstein, Berkeley throughout the twentieth century, and Aby Warburg in Hamburg, Rome, Florence, and Berkeley.

At Berkeley, Lange introduced a new Italian Renaissance art survey 1300-1600 (since 2015), a new series of Dante lectures (From Hell to Hope), and a new series of courses on Aby Warburg with innovative perspectives on medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art. Professor Lange teaching includes works by Giotto, Cimabue, Fra Angelico, Donatello, Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Mantegna, Benozzo Gozzoli, Signorelli, the Bellini, Artemisia Gentileschi, Dürer, the Limbourg brothers, Van Eyck, Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Rubens, and Velázquez in their respective historical context, and in relation to her students' experience and questions. Lange regularly offers courses on word and image, visuality, visual narrative in mural painting, psychologies of art, art and animals, Dante, the Divine Comedy, and on the cultural history of triumphs in art, architecture, and literature. 

Henrike Lange is the winner of the 2020 Prytanean Faculty Award. Through a competitive process, the winner is chosen by the Prytanean Honor Society Alumnae Association for her record as a distinguished teacher, her demonstrated scholarly achievement, and her success as a role model for students at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Lange's book with Cambridge University Press, Giotto's Arena Chapel and the Triumph of Humility, appeared in 2023; her longstanding interdisciplinary science-arts-humanities collaboration with Tom McLeish FRS on total solar eclipses (since 2017) resulted in an edited volume, forthcoming with Oxford University Press: Eclipse and Revelation: Total Solar Eclipses in Science, History, Literature, and the Arts

Latest and upcoming:

Art Sense podcast with Craig Gould available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and on all major podcast platforms.

Giotto book chat with Whitney Davis hosted by Director Stephen Best available on the Townsend Center’s website and on youtube.

Giotto ! Renaissance (June 12, 2024) at the ZI in Munich in person and live on zoom.

Forthcoming volume Eclipse & Revelation (McLeish/Lange eds.) with Oxford University Press in anticipation of the Great American Eclipse 2024. 

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