Justin earned his bachelor's degree from Kenyon College (2009) and a masters in Art History from the University of Alabama (2014). His thesis, "Quod vocatur Paradiso: The Pigna and the Atrium of Old St. Peter's," focused on the monumental ancient bronze pigna, or pinecone, that was once the unifying water feature of a fountain located in the atrium of the church of Old St. Peter's in Rome. He studied the pigna's eighth-century incorporation into the church and examined how the sculpture's addition to the forecourt led to the creation of a new architectural term - the paradiso - that reflected Old St. Peter's emergent status as a center for pilgrimage and papal influence.
Prior to joining the Department of Art History at the University of Virginia as a doctoral student, Justin was a Eugene McDermott Educational Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art, a Teaching Assistant at the Pantheon Institute in Rome, an International Intern for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and a grant writer for the Nashville Cultural Arts Project: Seed Space. His ongoing research pertains to topics in late medieval and early modern art in Italy, specifically objects that are created, acted on, and restored many times - works that frustrate a study of the moment of creation and require an analysis that moves across time and geographic borders.
At the University of Virginia, Justin concentrates on topics involving art and cultural interchange between Italy and Byzantium, particularly as it relates to members of the Byzantine émigré Basil Bessarion’s (b. Trebizond c. 1408, d. Ravenna 1472) humanist academy in Rome, relics and reliquaries, and the art and architecture of Crusade. Justin is also a member of Tomorrow’s Professor Today, the Society of Fellows, the Praxis digital humanities program in the Scholars’ Lab, the Graduate Student Public Humanities Lab at UVA, and served as the coordinator of UVa’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Medieval Colloquium.
Italian art; Byzantine art
Late medieval and early modern art
Rome in the fifteenth century
Ars sacra; relics and reliquaries; liturgical objects
Religious ritual and procession
The Later Crusades
Politics and history of collecting; gift-giving; material culture of diplomacy
Digital and public humanities; history of humanism and the humanities