Faculty Profile

Diana Strazdes
Associate Professor of Art History
American Art and Material Culture
Museum Studies

Ph.D., Yale University
M.Phil., Yale University
M.A., Yale University
B.A., Vassar College

Appointed 1997, Program in Art History




Diana Strazdes’ field of interest is American painting, sculpture, architecture, and material culture of the long 19th century, especially and transatlantic developments in 19th-century American art. She has published on a wide range of topics, from the professional identity of American artists to historical interpretations of the American Home. Most recently she published “John Trumbull’s Nude Venus: Life Drawing and Its Intentions” in the journal Master Drawings and “The Display of Ruins: Lessons from the Ghost Town of Bodie” in the international journal of conservation and the built environment, Change over Time. She is working on issues of reception and audience interaction in public art during the Early Republic, with her two current research projects involving the artists Washington Allston and Rembrandt Peale.  




Baroque to Modern Art: Introduction to visual analysis through study of Western art 1600 to the present, examining major artists and movements from Europe to North America. Study of the relationship of art and artists to political, religious, social change, and to changes in ideology, patronage, and audience.

Cultural History of Museums: Evolution of museums in the western world from the “cabinet of curiosities” of sixteenth-century Europe to the modern “art center.” The changing motives behind collecting, exhibiting, and interpretation of objects. Attention to museums’ historical legacies and continuing philosophical dilemmas.

The American Home: American domestic architecture and its responsiveness to changes in daily life from Colonial times to the present. Vernacular developments, effects of different socioeconomic conditions, and women’s role in shaping the home receive special attention.

American Art to 1910: Major movements in American art from the 17th-century English speaking colonies to the onset of World War I.




Historiography of American Art

Issues in Realism — Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins: Examination of two American artists, both trained in Paris, who reflected different aspects of Realism as it developed in French art during the nineteenth century.

Art and Professional Identity, 1860-1910: Examination of the changed definitions of the American artist’s role that occurred in the late nineteenth century. Investigates how artists thought of their ambitions, how they used their training, how they defined their professional challenges, and how they related to their audiences, among other issues.

Defining Landscape: Investigation of the development of landscape painting in America during the 19th century in comparison to the European landscape traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries that played an instrumental role in defining the standards of landscape beauty. Class sessions will emphasize discussions of readings—both art historical essays and primary documents—and the analysis of images, including etchings and drawings from the collection of the Nelson Gallery.

Research and Writing Methods in Art History: Development of research, writing, and editing skills necessary for producing publishable work.




“John Trumbull’s Nude Venus: Life Drawings and Its Intentions,” Master Drawings, Spring 2013, vol. 51, no. 1: 49-62

“Recasting History: Word and Image in Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Standing Lincoln Monument,” Word & Image, Spring 2010, vol. 26, no. 2

“‘Wilderness and Its Waters’: Professional Identity for the Hudson River School,” Early American Studies (Philadelphia: McNeil Center for Early American Studies) Fall 2009: 333-362

“Catharine Beecher and the American Woman’s Puritan Home,” The New England Quarterly (Boston: New England Quarterly) September 2009

“Style, Symbols, and Persuasion: Leland Stanford’s Sacramento Ball of 1872,” Decorative Arts (New York: Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts) 15, no. 2 (Spring-Summer 2008): 65-95

“The Millionaire’s Palace: Leland Stanford’s Commission for Pottier & Stymus in San Francisco,” Winterthur Portfolio (University of Chicago Press) 36, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 213-243

“Washington Allston: Great Painting as Mute Poetry,” in Redefining American History Painting, ed. Patricia Burnham and Lucretia Giese (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995): 139-157

The Visual Rhetoric of the Stanfords’ Sacramento Home,” Stanford University Museum of Art Journal, 25 (1995): 13-24

(contributor) The Taft Museum: Its History and Collections, ed. Edward J. Sullivan (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1995)

(contributor) Master Paintings from the Butler Institute of American Art, ed. Irene S. Sweetkind (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994)

“Washington Allston’s Beatrice,” Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 6 (1994): 63-75

American Paintings and Sculpture to 1945 at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1992)

“An Atelier of Drawings: the Collection at the Carnegie Museum of Art,” Drawing, 13 (July 1991): 25-28

“Educating the Water-Colourist,” Carnegie Magazine, 62 (Nov. 1990): 12-17, 42-44

View all UCD Arts departments and programs

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

Cinema and Digital Media

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

and Dance

Melody Chiang

Performance Studies

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

UC Davis Arts