Nina Amstutz

Profile picture of Nina Amstutz
Associate Professor
Phone: 541-346-7313
Office: 219 Lawrence Hall
Research Interests: 18th- and 19th-century art; history of science

Professor Amstutz completed her PhD in the History of Art at the University of Toronto. Before joining the faculty in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at UO, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art, where she co-curated the exhibition "The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760–1860" (Yale University Art Gallery, March 6–July 26, 2015).

Her first book, Caspar David Friedrich: Nature and the Self (Yale University Press, 2020), considers how methods and ideas in the life sciences informed the relationship between nature and the human subject in the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich’s mature landscapes.

Professor Amstutz is also working on three new projects. The first uses the Australian and Papuan bowerbird's practice of collecting and arranging decorative objects to attract a mate as a point of departure to question the humanist commitments of art history as a discipline. The second explores the material and conceptual resonance of fossils in the visual arts since the eighteenth century, particularly in the British and German contexts. The third investigates the relationship between William Blake’s imagery and dance.

She welcomes applications from students interested in pursuing MA and PhD degrees in any area of eighteenth- or nineteenth-century European art, but particularly projects focused on British or German art, and/or issues surrounding landscape, nature, and the history of science.

Selected Publications

Nina Amstutz, Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken, Mareike Hennig, Gregor Wedekind, eds, Das Bild der Natur in der Romantik. Kunst als Philosophie und Wissenschaft (Paderborn: Brill/Wilhelm Fink, 2021)

  • Nina Amstutz and Gregor Wedekind, “Einleitung,” vii–xviii.
  • Nina Amstutz, “Transparente Bilder: Caspar David Friedrichs Umgang mit Optik und Naturkunde,” 119–145.

Nina Amstutz, Caspar David Friedrich: Nature and the Self. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020. (winner of the Novalis Prize from the Novalis Gesellschaft/Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

​Nina Amstutz, “Landscape and the Architecture of Light: John Constable’s Clouds at the Yale Center for British Art,” Journal of the History of Collections 30, no. 1 (March 2018): 167-178. 

​Nina Amstutz, “A Self-Portrait as Landscape Painter: Caspar David Friedrich and Phrenology,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 79, no. 1 (2016): 72–91.

​Nina Amstutz, “Caspar David Friedrich and the Aesthetics of Community,” Studies in Romanticism 54, no. 4 (Winter 2015): 447–475.

​Nina Amstutz, “Caspar David Friedrich and the Anatomy of Nature,” Art History 37, no. 3 (June 2014): 454–81. (Honorable Mention in the 2015 HGCEA Emerging Scholars Prize)

Selected Courses Taught

ARH 206 History of Western Art III

ARH 351 19th-Century European Art

ARH 352 Art of the Enlightenment (18th-Century European Art)

ARH 359 History of Photography

ARH 399 Making: History, Media, Technique

ARH 4|550 Romanticism in the Visual Arts

ARH 4|551 Topics: Art and Science

ARH 607 Art and Nature

ARH 607 Geoaesthetics (with Emily Scott)

ARH 610 Art and Empire