In Memoriam | Christopher M. S. Johns (1955–2022)

Posted in obituaries by Editor on May 12, 2022

It is difficult to overstate Christopher’s generous and kind contributions to the HECAA community, collectively and individually, for so many members. And, of course, many readers were also just very fortunate to count him as a dear friend. From Vanderbilt:

Christopher M.S. Johns, the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Professor of Fine Arts and professor of history of art and architecture, died at his home on May 8 after a long illness. He was 67.

Johns graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with a bachelor of arts. He went on to earn both a master of arts and a doctor of arts from the University of Delaware, where his doctoral thesis was titled “The Art Patronage of Pope Clement XI Albani and the Early Christian Revival in Eighteenth-Century Rome.”

“Christopher was a groundbreaking scholar who made significant contributions in areas that included early-modern Italian art and culture, Asian art history, and relationships between art, politics and religion,” said John Geer, Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science and professor of political science. “However, he also was a friend and colleague who will be remembered for his dedication to mentoring students. Christopher’s legacy will live on in all those students with whom he worked. He will be deeply missed in our college.”

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  1. Molly Medakovich said, on May 12, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Christopher introduced me to the 18th century when he was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa my junior year (~2001). He was a gifted educator, and I found myself immediately beguiled by this period of art history because of him. He would go on to connect me with the one-and-only Mary Sheriff for my graduate studies. In addition to his engaging approach to teaching and his brilliant mind and scholarship, I’ll always remember his wry sense of humor and the accompanying twinkle in his eye.

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