Matthew Hunter

Associate Professor

On leave for 2016-2017 academic year

Matthew Hunter’s research focuses upon visual art and architecture of the long eighteenth century with special emphasis on their intersections with science and technology. As in his recent publications
Wicked Intelligence: Visual Art and the Science of Experiment in Restoration London (University of Chicago Press, 2013) and The Clever Object (Wiley, 2013; co-edited with Francesco Lucchini), Hunter’s work explores the interfaces between physical materials and cognitive processes—between making and knowing. He is an editor of Grey Room.

In addition to ongoing research collaborations on modeling in science and art and instrumentalities of architectural knowledge, Hunter is presently developing a book on Joshua Reynolds’s chemistry and the longer history of visual experimentation with temporally-evolving chemical objects in the British Enlightenment. His broader interests range between the early modern period and the contemporary moment to include theories of representation, models of artistic collectivity and “the artworld”, the limits of interpretive method, and the history and theory of photography. His work has been supported by Fonds de recherche du Québec–Société et Culture, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Kress Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Whiting Foundation, and The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Research Forum, among others. For more information, please see:


Selected Publications

“Graphic Making, Actuarial Knowing: Transfer and Countertransference in Frederic EdwinChurch’s South American Drawings,” West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 23, 1 (2016): 56-7

“Did Joshua Reynolds Paint his Pictures? The Transatlantic Work of Picturing in an Age of Chymical Reproduction,” in Picturing, ed. Rachael Z. DeLue (Chicago : Terra Foundation For American Art, 2016), 44-80

“Reynolds's Science of Experiment in Practice and Theory”, in Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint, ed. Lucy Davis and Mark Hallett (London: Wallace Collection/Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015), 100-111

“Joshua Reynolds’s ‘Nice Chymistry’: Action and Accident in the 1770s”, The Art BulletinXCVII, 1 (March 2015): 58-76

“Mr. Hooke’s Reflecting Box: Modeling the Camera Obscura in the Early Royal Society of London”, Huntington Library QuarterlySpecial Issue: “Curiously Drawn” 78, 2 (2015): 301-328

Wicked Intelligence: Visual Art and the Science of Experiment in Restoration London (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013)

“Picture, Object, Puzzle, Prompter: Devilish Cleverness in Restoration London,” Art History: Special Issue “The Clever Object” 36, 3 (May 2013): 546-567

“The Clever Object: Three Pavilions, Three Loggias, and a Planetarium,” Art History: Special Issue “The Clever Object” 36, 3 (May 2013): 474-497; with Francesco Lucchini

Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science (New York: Springer, 2010); edited with Roman Frigg

“Experiment, Theory, Representation: Robert Hooke’s Material Models,” in Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science, eds. R. Frigg and M. Hunter (New York: Springer, 2010), 193-219

“The Theory of the Impression According to Robert Hooke,” in Printed Images in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Interpretation, ed. Michael Hunter (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 167-190

“Hooke’s Figurations: A Figural Drawing Attributed to Robert Hooke,” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 64 (March 2010): 251-260

“Iconoclasm and Consumption; or, Household Management According to Thomas Cromwell,” in Iconoclasm: Contested Images, Contested Terms, eds. R. Clay and S. Boldrick (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 51-73

Course Offerings and Supervision

Closely interwoven with his research, Hunter’s teaching aims to integrate analysis of visual artifacts with broader historical, theoretical and interpretive problems. Hunter welcomes students at the M.A. and Ph.D. level who are interested in pursuing projects on relations between art and science, the early modern period/“long” eighteenth century or in other areas of his research interests. Some recent courses offered include "Time out of Mind: Material Duration in the Long Eighteenth Century" (Winter 2015), "Michael Fried and his Interlocutors" (Fall 2014), “Liquid Intelligence: Thinking the Fluid Image in the Long Eighteenth Century” (Fall 2013), and “Making and Knowing: Art and Science in Early Modern Europe” (Fall 2012).