Art Faculty Retirements 



Four faculty members have recently retired from the art department after long and distinguished careers with us. 


Paul Barolsky earned his MA and PhD in Art History at Harvard University. He came to the University of Virginia in 1969, and here for 47 years he made his career as an internationally renowned scholar of Italian Renaissance art and as a beloved teacher and mentor. Barolsky’s fame as a scholar rests on his prodigious output of articles, many adapted and expanded to become a series of books whose titles suggest the distinctive combination of wit and deep learning that characterizes his teaching and writing: Michelangelo’s Nose: A Myth and Its MakerWhy Mona Lisa Smiles and Other Tales by Vasari; and A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso, are just a sampling of his titles. His work is perhaps most notable for his exploration of such themes in Renaissance art and literature as the nature of artists’ biographies, and the intertwining of the visual arts and poetry, from antiquity through Dante and to the present day. The title of his most recent book suggests the scope of his purview: Ovid and the Metamorphoses of Modern Art from Botticelli to Picasso. Among his many fellowships and honors, his being named the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professor recognizes his lifelong commitment to his students. His legacy is written in both his books and the lives of his students.  

He continues to write prolifically. “It’s All a Matter of Perspective” was published in Wordsworth Circle in 2016. He wrote “The Lambs of San Lorenzo,” for San Lorenzo: A Florentine Church (2017). “The Art of Writing about Art” appeared in 2017 in Source. His essay “Smiles of Delight and Pleasures of Play in Italian Renaissance Art” appeared in the 2018 book Rire en images à la Renaissance. Recent publications, among many, in Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics include “Michelangelo in Manhattan” (2018), “Three Ovidian Tails” (2019), “Ovid, Art, and Eros” (2019), and “The Art of Interpreting Art” (2020).  


John Dobbins is Professor of Art & Archaeology in the McIntire Department of Art, and has served 41 years on the University of Virginia faculty. Since 1995 he has been the Director of the Pompeii Forum Project. Other projects throughout his career concerned the Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia on the Athenian Acropolis, Roman numismatics, terracotta lamps, Antioch mosaics, and the Hellenistic theater at Morgantina in Sicily. Dobbins has been associated with the American Academy in Rome and with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, is a life member in the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), and has held local and national offices. For over 35 years he has been a lecturer in the AIA’s Visiting Lecture Program. Dobbins’s research has been supported by several grants including a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that helped to launch the Pompeii Forum Project. During his time at the University, he has been a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, a Mead Honored Faculty Member, a recipient of an All-University Teaching Award, the Richard A. & Sara Page Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professor, and a member of the UVA Academy of Teaching. His publications pertain to Pompeii, Roman architecture and urbanism, mosaics, domestic architecture, and sculpture; they also include Greek and Roman lamps, Greek architecture, and urbanism. Dobbins is also a field archaeologist who has excavated in Spain, Italy, Greece, Syria, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Dobbins’s collaborative work with 3-D modeler Ethan Gruber (formerly of UVA Scholars’ Lab; now Director of Data Science at American Numismatic Society) has demonstrated the utility of 3-D models in archaeological research and in presenting mosaics in museum collections. Dobbins’s models of two houses at Antioch and another at Pompeii have been presented at national and international conferences, as well as in public lectures in order to recontextualize mosaics that had been lifted from their original architectural settings. His seminar on Roman Numismatics resulted in the numismatic website of The Fralin Museum. Dobbins is especially proud of the numerous graduate students in Roman and Greek Art and Archaeology whom he has mentored as dissertation director or as second reader. 


Daniel Ehnbom received his undergraduate education from the University of Wisconsin and Delhi University, and earned his masters and doctorate from The University of Chicago. He is the author of the 1985 book, Indian Miniatures: The Ehrenfeld Collection, and, in addition to authoring numerous articles on Indian painting and architecture, has contributed to various exhibition catalogues. In 1996, Ehnbom worked with the Macmillan/Grove Dictionary of Art in London as a contributor and consultant, and as their South Asia Area Editor for Painting and Sculpture since 1988. His publications include “Visions of the Blue God: A Note on Composition (and Performance?) in Bhāgavata Purāṇa Illustrations,” for The Journal of Hindu Studies in 2018, the catalogue Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century, published by The Fralin Art Museum in 2014, and the 2011 essay “Masters of the Dispersed Bhagavata Purana,” in the edited volume Masters of Indian Painting: 1100-1900. Ehnbom taught undergraduate lecture courses on Indian and Buddhist art, as well as undergraduate and graduate seminars in specialized topics including sixteenth-century Indian painting and early Indian sculpture and architecture. He has served as adjunct curator of South Asian art at the University of Virginia Art Museum, and was a long-time Director of the UVA South Asia Center. He has held fellowships from Fulbright, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Weedon Foundation. During the University of Oxford’s 2018 Trinity Term, he was the J.P. and Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellow at The Centre for Hindu Studies. Ehnbom has traveled extensively in Asia and has lived for extended periods in both India and Pakistan. 


Philip Geiger was an art professor at the University of Virginia for over 30 years. He earned his BFA from Washington University and went on to complete his MFA at Yale University. Geiger’s lustrous light, loose brushwork and subtle color tellingly capture the nuances of mood and feeling that make up the more peaceful moments of contemporary family life. Geiger eschews a specific narrative in his paintings, challenging viewers to meditate on our society's daily rituals and settings, and the meanings which may underlie seemingly mundane moments. He has exhibited widely and has been the recipient of numerous art grants and awards. His paintings are represented in several prominent public collections and his work has been reviewed in the New York TimesArt in AmericaArtnews, and The New Criterion