Craig Hanson

Craig Hanson


  • MA, The University of Chicago
  • PhD, The University of Chicago

Professional experience

Associate Director of the Calvin Honors and Collegiate Scholars Programs.

Academic interests

As an art historian, Craig Hanson is interested in how past and present interact in paintings, prints, decorative arts, buildings, and gardens. His research ranges from intersections of art, medicine, and antiquarianism (ca. 1600 to 1800); to the reception of rhinoceroses in early modern Europe; to French and British ideas about Chinese architecture. Central concerns include: collecting, patronage, national identity, art and fashion, and the history of taste.

Closer to home, Craig's intellectual passions include Frank Lloyd Wright and Bill Fyfe, the architect responsible for Calvin University's 1959 master plan who studied with Wright in the early 1930s as a fellow at Taliesin in Wisconsin. Craig is particularly enamored of historic houses and how they are interpreted for public audiences. He is a docent at the Sophie and Meyer May house here in Grand Rapids, one of the last Prairie style houses Wright designed (in 1909).


Essays and Reference Entries

“A Motto for a Museum: William Hunter’s Inheritance from Richard Mead,” William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum, edited by Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis with María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui, exhibition catalogue (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2018), 72–89.

“1823” and “1846,” The RA Summer Exhibition, 1769–2018: A Chronicle (Online publication from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, 2018).

“The Princesses and the Medical Practices of Their Time,” Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, edited by Joanna Marschner with David Bindman and Lisa Ford, exhibition catalogue (New Haven: Yale University Press with Historic Royal Palaces, 2017), 427–33.

“Anatomy, Newtonian Physiology, and Learned Culture: The Myotomia Reformata and Its Context within Georgian Scholarship,” Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500–1850, ed. Matthew Landers and Brian Muñoz (London: Pickering, 2012), 157–70.

“Representing the Rhinoceros: The Royal Society between Art and Science in the Eighteenth Century,” The Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 33 (2010): 545–66.

Revised bibliography for “Art and Science” entry in the online edition of The Grove Dictionary of Art (2010).

Entry for “Elgin Marbles,” in The Classical Tradition, ed. Anthony Grafton, Glenn Most, and Salvatore Settis (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010).

Entry for “Francis Wise,” in Eighteenth-Century British Historians (Dictionary of Literary Biography, volume 336), ed. Ellen J. Jenkins (New York: Thomson Gale, 2007).

“Between Rembrandt’s Shadow and the Glow of the Dutch Golden Age,” in Between Nature and Nationality: The Hague School in the Nineteenth Century, exhibition catalogue (Grand Rapids: Calvin College, 2007), 23–38.

“Dr. Richard Mead and Watteau’s Comédiens Italiens,” The Burlington Magazine 145 (April 2003): 265–72.

“Siting the Antique in Nature, the Academy, and Antiquarian Travel,” in The Place of the Antique in Early Modern Europe, exhibition catalogue, ed. Ingrid Rowland (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, 1999), 85–90.

Conference Presentations

“Before & After: Temporal Strategies for Effecting the Sublime,” Evoking the Incommensurable: Painting the Sublime, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (July 2023).

“The History and Present State of Before and After, The Origins of a Visual Convention,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, Baltimore (April 2022).

“Debating Dissent in Leiden,” Dr. Richard Mead: Physician, Philanthropist, Collector—conference held in conjunction with the exhibition The Generous Georgian: Dr. Richard Mead, The Foundling Museum, London (October 2014).

“From Ancient Paintings to Illustrious Persons: Antiquarian Patronage and Illustration in the 1740s,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Williamsburg (March 2014).

“Accounting for the European Tent-Theory of Chinese Architectural Origins,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Cleveland (April 2013).

“From 100 to 10,000 Readers: Enfilade as a Case Study for Rethinking Audiences,” Midwest Art History Society, Columbus, Ohio (March 2013).

“Looking to the Lowlands: Anglo-Dutch Relations and Artistic Continuities in the Decades after 1688,” Histories of British Art, 1660–1735, third conference for the Court, Country, City: British Art 1660–1735 research project, University of York (September 2012).

“Zoffany’s Virtuosic Ambitions and the Theatre of Natural History,” Johan Zoffany and his International Contexts, conference held in conjunction with the exhibition Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed, Royal Academy, London (May 2012).

“British Worthies at Goodwood: Anglo-Dutch Relations, Italian Painters, and the ‘Great Men’ of 1688,” Midwest Conference on British Studies, Terre Haute, Indiana (November 2011).

“From Scientific Illustration to the Painted Landscape: The Importance of Dutch Artists for British Visual Culture,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vancouver (March 2011).

“From the Netherlands to England: The Arts, Virtuosi Culture, and the Rhetoric of a National School in the Eighteenth Century,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Richmond (March 2009).

“Painting as Natural Philosophy in the Age of Feeling,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Portland (March 2008).

"Early Modern British Art and the Limits of Nationalism,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Atlanta (March 2007).

"Between Art and Science: Representation, Dr. Richard Mead, and the Royal Society in the Eighteenth Century,” Beyond Mimesis and Nominalism, London School of Economics, London (June 2006).

"Inspiring Reciprocal Emulation and Esteem’: The Case of Dr. Richard Mead and His Collection at Great Ormonde Street,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Montreal (March 2006).

"The ‘Royal Task’ of the History of Trades Program: Francis Bacon, His Legacy, and the Fine Arts in Seventeenth-Century England,” Renaissance Society of America, San Francisco (March 2006).

Professional services

Member of the editorial board for J18: Journal of Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture (2016–present).

Founding editor of Enfilade, an online, serial newsletter for the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture with 1800 subscribers and 9,000+ hits each month (2009–present).

President of the Historians of British Art (2015–17); after serving as Treasurer, First Vice-President and Second Vice-President (2009–15).

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Travel Grants Committee (2017), chair of the committee (2018).

Field Editor of Eighteenth-Century Art for (2012–16).

Reader for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Art History Exam (2006, 2008).

Book Reviewer for Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (2006–present).


Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2012–present).

Research Fellow at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California (January 2020).

Stewart Rosenblum Scholarship for tuition for the Attingham Royal Studies Program (2012).

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Research Support Grant (2011).

Dick Button Scholarship for tuition for the Attingham Study Program: The Dutch Historic House (2010).

McGregor Fellowship from Calvin (2009).

NEH Summer Stipend for From Leiden to London: Anglo-Dutch Relations and the Arts in Early Modern England (2007).

Historians of British Art Publication Grant to assist with illustrations fees for The English Virtuoso (2007).

Freeman Foundation Faculty Development Grant for travel in Asia in preparation for teaching an introductory course on Chinese art (2005).

Royal Oak Foundation Scholarship for tuition for the Attingham Summer School for the Study of British Country Houses (1999).

Edward Ryerson Fellowship in Archaeology from The University of Chicago for tuition for the summer program at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (1998).

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