Skip to content

John Decker

Associate Professor

Personal Website
Social Media

John R. Decker is an historian at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and specializes in the study of visual and material cultures. His research interests include the use of images and objects as technologies of self-fashioning (individual and collective) and the role of visual and material cultures in asserting, mediating, and sustaining claims about “truth” and “reality” in various socio-political contexts. He is also interested in the ways that data analysis, data visualization, and data-driven story telling can help make writing about and explaining complex socio-cultural phenomena more legible and accessible for non-specialist audiences.

PhD — University of California, Santa Barbara
MA — University of California, Santa Barbara
BA — California State University, Stanislaus

The Technology of Salvation and the Art of Geertgen tot Sint Jans. Series Title: Visual Culture in Early Modernity (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2009).

Death, Torture, and the Broken Body in European Art, 1300 – 1650. Series Title: Visual Culture in Early Modernity (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2015).

Audience and Reception in the Early Modern Period (New York: Routledge, 2021).

“Guides Who Know the Way,” in John R. Decker and Mitzi Kirkland-Ives, eds. Audience and Reception in the Early Modern Period (New York: Routledge, 2021): 324-357.

“By Stages Toward What We Mean to Say: Diegetic Rupture as a Tool of Devotion.” Word and Image, 36, 3 (2020): 284-298.

“Gifts of Devotion, Gifts of Friendship: The Role of Jewelry in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves,” Renaissance Quarterly, 71, 1 (Spring, 2018): 33-76.

“Dürer’s Feast of the Rose Garlands and the Scuola dei Tedeschi as Strategies for Mediating Foreign, Masculine Identity,” in Carlee Bradbury and Michelle Moseley-Christian, eds. Gender, Otherness and Culture in Medieval and Early Modern Art (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2017): 121-150.

“More Strength for Contemplation: Spiritual Play in the Amsterdam Holy Kinship,” Journal of the Historians of Netherlandish Art 8:1 (Winter, 2016).

“‘Practical Devotion.’ Apotropaism and the Protection of the Soul,” in C. Brusati, et. al. (eds.), The Authority of the Word (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011): 357-385.

“Between Conversion and Apostasy, Moriens’ Struggle and the Fate of the Soul,” in Stelling, et. al. (eds.), Turn of the Soul (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011): 249-280.

“Civic Charity, Civic Virtue, the Master of Alkmaar’s Seven Works of Mercy,” Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Spring 2010): 3-28.

“Engendering Contrition, Wounding the Soul: Geertgen tot Sint Jans’ Man of Sorrows,” Artibus et Historiae, XXIV, 57 (2008):59-74.

“‘Planting Seeds of Righteousness,’ Taming the Wilderness of the Soul: Geertgen tot Sint Jan’s St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” in W. Melion, et. al. (eds.), Image and Imagination of the Religious Self in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Series Title Proteus, Brepols, Turnhout. 2007: 307-328.