Published: September 19, 2004
Rona Goffen, a historian of Medieval and Renaissance art, died on Sept. 8 in Princeton, N.J. She was 60 and lived in Princeton.The cause was ovarian cancer, said Lucy Fremont, a cousin.
Professor Goffen's method paid careful attention to the social and economic context surrounding artists. Professor Goffen, who had been a distinguished professor at Rutgers since 1988, was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1966. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1974.
After teaching at Indiana University and Princeton University, she spent a decade at Duke University, serving as head of the art history department for three years, before moving to Rutgers.
Her books included Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans (Yale, 1986); Spirituality in Conflict: Saint Francis and Giotto's Bardi Chapel (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988); Titian's Women (Yale, 1994); and Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian (Yale, 2002). Her monograph on Giovanni Bellini (Yale, 1994) was translated into Italian.
At the time of her death, Professor Goffen was working on a book about women in the Renaissance and the Last Judgment as painted by artists from Giotto to Michelangelo.