J. David Summers

Professor Emeritus

David Summers is the Emeritus William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Art Theory and Italian Renaissance Art at the University of Virginia. He holds a B.A. from Brown University (1963) and a Ph.D. from Yale University (1969). He taught at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pittsburgh before accepting an appointment to the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia in 1981. In 1984, he was appointed William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Art and retired in 2014. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.

Summers is generally regarded as an expert on Renaissance art and a notable figure in the field of art historical research. Amongst his main contributions to art history is David Summers' publication Real Spaces: World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism. This almost 700 pages book is the result of twenty years of studies and it is an attempt to reformulate the disciplinary approach of art history.

Summers is the older brother of the writer Marilynne Robinson.