University of Pittsburgh
April 14, 2004

Travel into Art Symposium to Honor Retiring Chair of Pitt's History of Art and Architecture Department

Professor David Wilkins stepping down after 37 years at Pitt

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh Department of the History of Art and Architecture is hosting a symposium to honor retiring Art History Professor and Chair David Wilkins—an event that will reflect Wilkins' love of travel and his widespread contributions to his field, particularly Italian late-Medieval and Renaissance art.

Wilkins will deliver a lecture, "The Art of Travel: What I Didn't Know Until I Got There," at 4 p.m. April 23 in the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building, Schenley Drive, Oakland. The following day, April 24, Travel into Art: A Symposium in Honor of David G. Wilkins will take place from 9:30 a.m. until noon, also in the auditorium. Four speakers will participate, each addressing a topic relevant to Wilkins and his career:

Roger Crum, Graul Chair in Arts and Languages, University of Dayton,

"More Business Than Pleasure: Travel, Anxiety, and Art in Renaissance


Gerald Carr, author, consultant, Berry-Hill Galleries, New York City,

"It Is Not Too Late to Discover a New World: Frederic Church and the Philosophy of Travel";

Katheryn Linduff, professor of art history, University of Pittsburgh,

"Cultural Cartography: Mapping China's World"; and

Terence Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, University of Pittsburgh,

"Artists in Transit: How World Travel Made Modern Art Contemporary."

The April 24 symposium is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged. To do so, or for more information, call 412-648-2400.

Wilkins has coauthored several widely used textbooks, including History of Italian Renaissance Art (Prentice-Hall Press, fifth edition, 2002), Art Past/Art Present (Prentice-Hall College Division, fourth edition, 2000), and Donatello, (Abaris Books, 1985), and he has written for many professional journals, as well as museum and gallery publications.

According to colleague and Pitt Art History Professor Franklin Toker, Wilkins has

an "intimate knowledge" of all major museums in Western culture. "There is no major work of Renaissance art that he (Wilkins) does not know personally," said Toker. "His teaching and research are characterized by extreme care for the physical object, coupled with insightful research on the social and historical context that produced that object."

Wilkins, who began teaching at Pitt in 1967, has mentored many master's degree and Ph.D. degree candidates. "He is tremendously involved with the material and with his students," noted Toker. "He is one of those teachers who totally drops everything when a student comes into view."

Wilkins received the Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Oberlin College and both the Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in art history from the University of Michigan. At Pitt, he served three terms as his department's chair, served as director of the University Art Gallery, and taught in Pitt's Semester at Sea and Pitt in London programs.