October 2013‎ > ‎

4. Faculty Spotlight - Rebekah Smick

Rebekah Smick, BA (Brandeis University), MA (Columbia University), PhD (University of Toronto), is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Arts and Culture at ICS.

Rebekah specializes in pre-Kantian art theory and criticism, in particular the relation of early modern visual arts theory to poetics and rhetoric in the Western tradition. Her research and teaching investigate the aesthetic values of beauty and grace in the early modern period, the link between knowledge and imagination, the aesthetic function of metaphor, and the place of compassion. She is especially interested in delineating the connections made during the early modern period between aesthetics, metaphysics, ethics, and theology. She is author of Antiquity and Its Interpreters (Cambridge UP, 2000).

Rebekah has been working on sabbatical since January on a book manuscript entitled “The Artist as Compassionate Soul: Aesthetic Theory in the Art and Poetry of Michelangelo.” Organiser of ICS' Art Talks! events, including last year's Imagination's Truth featuring Richard Kearney (see our Youtube channel), Rebekah is currently planning our next Art Talks! event, a joint endeavour with St. Michael’s College bringing the American novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson to Toronto. She is also an active member of the Advisory Committee for an upcoming exhibition (2016) at the Art Gallery of Ontario on the “religious turn” in late nineteenth century European art entitled The Mystical Landscape.

In addition to her teaching duties at ICS (see Junior Member News) Rebekah was a guest lecturer in April, 2013 on Renaissance conceptions of narrative and story-telling at Gordon College’s “Gordon IN Orvieto” program, an undergraduate semester abroad program in the arts offered in Orvieto, Italy "to inspire young people of faith to re-connect with the artistic traditions of the past, neither in a mood of nostalgia nor in a mode of academic dispassion, but to foster a creative response to the past in order to shape a humane future in the arts" (quote from the College's website).

Rebekah will also be offering an undergraduate version of her ICS course “Art, Religion and Theology: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Theologies of Art” at Gordon IN Orvieto in May of 2014 and in June she will be giving a paper on Renaissance periodization at “Rethinking Early Modernity: Methodological and Critical Innovation since the Ritual Turn,” a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies.