Joseph M. Silva

Joseph M. SilvaSpecial Lecturer of Art History


Ph.D.- Brown University

Area(s) of Expertise:

Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture, Medieval Art and Architecture, Art History Survey

Biographical Information:

Joseph M. Silva received his Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from Brown University. He earned his M.A. in the History of Italian Renaissance Art at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy, where he was a Florence Graduate Fellow, and his B.A. at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.  While attending Brown, he held a Newberry Library Fellowship and an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Proctorship in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design.  Professor Silva teaches courses in Art History at Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.  In addition to his academic career, he worked in the private sector for the luxury goods firms Prada and Hermès of Paris.

Current Interests and Research:

Professor Silva’s research examines the visual programs that promoted, historicized, and mythologized the Holy Order of Saint Stephen and its founder, Duke Cosimo I de’Medici of Florence, Italy.  These early-modern crusaders “defended” Christians and Christendom from the expanding presence of Islamic privateers (Barbary pirates) and the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean Sea.  He is particularly interested in the interpretation/reception of Islamic material culture, from pennants to weaponry taken as war booty, displayed within the secular and sacred contexts of Christian space and public ritual in ducal Tuscany.

Courses Taught:

Italian Renaissance Art
Medieval Art and Architecture

Conference Papers:

“Christian Triumph and Cosimo I de’Medici’s Collection of Islamic Weaponry.”  Annual Meeting of the Southeastern College Art Conference, Roanoke, October 19-22, 2016.
“Art and Conflict:  Islamic Spoils, Christian Triumphalism and the Order of Saint Stephen in Pisa.”  Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Boston, March 31-April 2, 2016.
“The Art of Crusading:  Medieval Practices at the Medici Court.”  Annual Meeting of the Southeastern College Art Conference, Pittsburgh, October 21-24, 2015.