William Wallace

​Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art History
Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History
PhD, Columbia University
research interests:
  • Art and Architecture of 14th-18th Century Italy
  • Michelangelo and His Contemporaries

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1189
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

​Wallace is an internationally recognized authority on Michelangelo and his contemporaries. In addition to more than forty articles (as well as two works of fiction), he is the author and editor of four books on Michelangelo. He is currently writing a new biography of Michelangelo.

For more information, visit William Wallace's department profile.

 

From our podcast:

Hold That Thought Podcast

The many lives of Michelangelo

Art historian William Wallace shares the story of how an extremely rare document discovered in WashU's own library provides a window into Michelangelo's life and art.

Michelangelo, God’s Architect The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece

Michelangelo, God’s Architect The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece

The untold story of Michelangelo's final decades—and his transformation into one of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance

As he entered his seventies, the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo despaired that his productive years were past. Anguished by the death of friends and discouraged by the loss of commissions to younger artists, this supreme painter and sculptor began carving his own tomb. It was at this unlikely moment that fate intervened to task Michelangelo with the most ambitious and daunting project of his long creative life.

Michelangelo, God's Architect is the first book to tell the full story of Michelangelo's final two decades, when the peerless artist refashioned himself into the master architect of St. Peter’s Basilica and other major buildings. When the Pope handed Michelangelo control of the St. Peter’s project in 1546, it was a study in architectural mismanagement, plagued by flawed design and faulty engineering. Assessing the situation with his uncompromising eye and razor-sharp intellect, Michelangelo overcame the furious resistance of Church officials to persuade the Pope that it was time to start over.

In this richly illustrated book, leading Michelangelo expert William Wallace sheds new light on this least familiar part of Michelangelo’s biography, revealing a creative genius who was also a skilled engineer and enterprising businessman. The challenge of building St. Peter’s deepened Michelangelo’s faith, Wallace shows. Fighting the intrigues of Church politics and his own declining health, Michelangelo became convinced that he was destined to build the largest and most magnificent church ever conceived. And he was determined to live long enough that no other architect could alter his design.

Discovering Michelangelo

Discovering Michelangelo

This exceptionally produced art book with die-cut windows and overlays identifies, decodes, and explains symbols hidden in Michelangelo’s works. Discover the full meaning behind fifty featured paintings, drawings, and sculptures in this unique volume celebrating Michelangelo. This book’s innovative design pairs stunning art reproductions with a page of die-cut windows that help the reader focus on specific aspects and features captions that highlight the most important symbols and innovations of the Renaissance’s master painter, architect, and sculptor. Learn the secrets behind famous works such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling, The Last Judgment, Doni Tondo, and David, as well as Bacchus, Battle of the Centaurs, and Bruges Madonna. Each work featured in Discovering Michelangelo: The Art Lover’s Guide to Understanding Michelangelo’s Masterpieces tells a story that becomes more fascinating as layer upon layer of symbolic meaning is revealed.