University of Virginia: School of Architecture

Cammy Brothers

Associate Professor
Mario di Valmarana Professorship in Architecture
Director, Venice Program
Cammy Brothers
Discipline Architectural History
Education BA Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges (1991); MA Courtauld Institute, University of London (1992); Ph.D. Harvard University (1999)
Phone 924-6463
Office 412 Campbell Hall

Personal Statement

Cammy Brothers specializes in Italian Renaissance and Mediterranean Architecture. Her book, Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture (Yale University Press, 2008; 2010 winner of the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association and the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians) argues that Michelangelo's architectural drawings are best understood in terms of his experience as a painter and sculptor. It explores the idea of drawing as a mode of thinking, using its evidence to reconstruct the process by which Michelangelo arrived at new ideas. She is currently completing a book on Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome, and working on another about architectural exchange between Italy and Andalusia.  

As Valmarana Professor, she has launched a semester long undergraduate program in Venice; a Valmarana Family Summer Internship in the Veneto with opportunities to intern at the Venice Biennale, the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, and in the field of historic preservation; and the Veneto Society Visiting Lectureship, which has brought Italian scholars to Charlottesville to share their expertise on Venetian topics. 


Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture, Yale University Press, 2008

Reviews: Caroline van Eck, Renaissance Quarterly 62 (2009): 915-16; William Wallace, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 69 (2010): 116-17; Michael Hill, Medievalia et Humanistica 35 (2009): 108-111; David Watkin, “Beauty Pleasure and Contrast” The Architectural Review Dec. 1, 2008; Paul Ranogajec, “Reconciling Invention with Tradition,” Italian Culture 27 (2009);Don Fry, Virginia Quarterly Review (2009): 216; Paul Glassman, “Arts and Humanities,” Library Journal 15 (2008); Tony McIntyre, “A Natural Progression Towards Architecture,” Building Design Online: The Architects’ Website, 29 August, 2008; Philip Drew, “Drawn into Life,” The Australian, 29 November, 2008; John Rosenberg, “Before the Cocktail Napkin,” Harvard Magazine, January-February 2009, p. 18;T. K. Kitao, Choice, March 01, 2009

Variety, Archeology, and Ornament: Renaissance Architectural Prints from Column to Cornice, co-editor with Michael Waters of catalogue for exhibition at the University of Virginia Art Museum, 2011

Exhibition reviews:  Calder Loth, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71 (2012): 404-05; Mari Yoko Hara, European Arch. History Network Newsletter 12 (2012): 68-71

Selected articles:

“What Drawings Did in Renaissance Italy,” in The Companion to Early Modern Architecture, ed. Alina Payne, Blackwell Press, forthcoming 2015

A Way Must Be Found to Broaden Our Perspective’:  James Ackerman in Conversation with Cammy Brothers, Art Bulletin 94 (2012): 362-67

 Designing What You Cannot Draw: Michelangelo and the Laurentian Library,” in Michelangelo und die Sprache der Architekturzeichnung / Michelangelo e il linguaggio del disegno di architettura, ed. Alessandro Nova and Golo Maurer, 2012, pp. 153-68

 The Laurentian Library: Affect, Music, and Architecture,” in Das Auge der Architektur.  Zur Frage der Bildlichkeit in der Baukunst, eds. Matteo Burioni, Johannes Grave and Andreas Beyer, Munich, 2011, pp. 321-52

Drawing in the Void: The Space between the Sketchbook and the Treatise,Festschrift for Howard Burns, edited by Maria Beltramini and Caroline Elam, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 2010“Michelangelo, Architecture, and the Stingray,” in Subject as Aporia in Early Modern Art, eds. Lorenzo Pericolo and Alexander Nagel, Ashgate, 2010

“Figura e Architettura nei Disegni di Michelangelo.”Michelangelo: Disegni di architettura, ed. Caroline Elam, catalogue and exhibition, Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, Vicenza and Fondazione Casa Buonarroti, Florence (Marsilio, 2006), pp. 81-94

Reconstruction as Design: Giuliano da Sangallo and the ‘Palazo di Mecenate’ on the Quirinal Hill”, Annali di architettura 14 (2002): 55-72Architecture, History, Archeology: Drawing Ancient Rome in the Letter to Leo X and in Sixteenth-Century Practice,” in Coming About…A Festschrift for John Shearman, ed. Lars Jones and Louisa Matthew (Harvard University Art Museums, 2002), 135-40

Architecture, Texts, and Imitation in Late Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-Century Rome,” Architecture and Language, ed. Georgia Clarke and Paul Crossly, (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 82-101 

 The Renaissance Reception of the Alhambra:  The Letters of Andrea Navagero and the Palace of Charles V,” Muqarnas, vol. 11 (1994):  79-102


“Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini,” exhibition review of “Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini: Sculptors' Drawings from Renaissance Italy,“ Gardner Museum, Boston, for The Wall Street Journal, November, 2014

Michelangelo in Boston,” exhibition review of “Sacred and Profane: “ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for The Wall Street JournalMay, 2013

 A Teachable Moment from the University of Virginia,” Boston Globe, June 29, 2012

Ideology through Geometry” exhibition review of “Building the Revolution: Soviet Art & Architecture 1915-1935 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, for The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2011

Leonardo’s Optics in Action, in Paint,” exhibition review of “Leonardo da Vinci, Painter at the Court of Milan,” at the National Gallery of Art, London, for The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2011

 Michelangelo, Radical Architect,” feature about the Laurentian Library, The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2010“The Frugal Genius,” exhibition review of “Michelangelo, Anatomy as Architecture, Drawings by the Master” at the Muscarelle Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, for The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2010

Selected Awards:

2011  Renaissance Society of America Kress Research Travel Award

          Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow, Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts, 

2010   Charles Rufus Morey Award, for a distinguished book in the history of art, College Art Association

          Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, Society of Architectural Historians

2008   Graham Foundation Award, in support of edited book, Renaissance Architecture and the Antique: Selected Essays by Howard Burns 

2007    Visiting Senior Fellowship, Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts 

2006-07  Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Fellow 

2006   Canadian Centre for Architecture Fellowship, Montreal, May-September 

2003    Fellow of Yaddo, writers’ residency in Saratoga Springs, New York, July and August

2001-02  Villa I Tatti Fellow, the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence

1996-7 Rome Prize Fellow, American Academy in Rome 

1991-92 Fulbright Fellow, England


Personal Gallery

1 of 5 Yale University Press, 2008
2 of 5 ed., with Michael Waters, 2011
3 of 5 Ornament and Variety, Conference organized, 2011
4 of 5 Sea Crossings, Conference organized with Sheila Crane and Lisa Reilly, 2010
5 of 5 Intention and Improvisation, Conference organized with Dean Kim Tanzer, Jeana Ripple, Ghazal Abbasy-Asbagh