Photo courtesy of Shawon KinewPhoto courtesy of Shawon Kinew
Shutzer Assistant Professor
Harvard University
Art History
Baroque Softness: Melchiorre Cafà and the Sculpture of Mysticism

Shawon Kinew is an art historian of early modern Italy at Harvard University, where she is an assistant professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture. Kinew is a Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. 

As a Radcliffe fellow, Kinew is completing the book manuscript “Baroque Softness: Melchiorre Cafà and the Sculpture of Mysticism.” In the 17th century, the Maltese sculptor Melchiorre Cafà carved sensual marble sculptures of ecstatic women and martyrs for Roman churches and liturgical celebrations. A golden age of European sculpture, the Roman Baroque was also a period of increasing expansion and violence by the Catholic Church in its evangelization and colonization. In their fervor, emotionalism, and spirituality, Cafà’s softly rendered sculptures are occasions to understand the machinations of the Baroque, its beauty and terror, its aesthetics and politics.

Before joining the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard, Kinew was a postdoctoral fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities and a lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. She has been in residence at the Getty Research Institute and at the Bibliotheca Hertziana–Max Planck Institute for Art History as a Kress History of Art Institutional Fellow. Her scholarship has been supported by numerous organizations, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lemmermann Foundation, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Kinew received her honours BA from the University of Toronto, and her AM and PhD from Harvard University.

2020–2021 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo courtesy of Shawon Kinew