Professor Yonan
Professor Yonan

Empress Maria Theresa and the
Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art.
Published 2011

Yonan's book
The Cultural Aesthetics of
Eighteenth-Century Porcelain.
Published 2010

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace

Michael Yonan

Associate Professor of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Art
Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

phone: 573-882-6711
fax: 573-884-5269
personal website:

mailing address:
Department of Art History and Archaeology
102 Swallow Hall
507 South 9th St.
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211


  • AHA 2860 The Lives of Objects: Thinking about Design History, the Decorative Arts, and Material Culture
  • AHA 3730: Eighteenth-Century European Art
  • AHA 3740: Nineteenth-Century European Art
  • AHA 4005/7005 Art and Cultural Exchange, 1650-1850
  • AHA 4710/7710: Arts of the Rococo
  • AHA 4720/7720: Revolution and Romanticism: Art c.1800
  • AHA 8120: Theories and Methodologies in Art History and Archaeology
  • AHA 8710: Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Art. Recent topics have included “Ornament and the Ornamental”; “Theorizing Material Culture”; “Art and Biography”; and “Global Art in the Early Modern World”


My research engages with several aspects of art and culture eighteenth-century Europe, including court and monarchical art, the interpretation of rococo architecture, eighteenth-century material culture and decorative arts, Austrian and especially Viennese art, and Enlightenment thinking about gender and sexuality.

My last book project investigated the art patronage of Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780), the Habsburg dynasty's first sovereign female ruler, which I situate within early modern debates and discussions about gender, art, and monarchical power. Other current and long-term research interests include the ostensibly insane sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt; rococo ornament and its interpretation; eighteenth-century artistic relations between European and non-European cultures; and Enlightenment material culture. I also recently co-edited a volume of essays on eighteenth-century porcelain. My scholarship has been supported by the Getty Research Institute, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the DAAD.

Series editor for the series The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting 1700-1950 for Routledge Publishing. Click here for more information.

President of HECAA, Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture


  • "The Wieskirche: Movement, Perception, and Salvation in the Bavarian Rococo." Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 41, forthcoming.
  • "Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies." West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 18, no. 2 (Fall 2011), forthcoming.
  • “The Eighteenth-Century Genesis of Vienna's Belvedere Museum.” In The First Modern Museums of Art: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Formation of an Institution, ed. Carole Paul. (Los Angeles: Getty Publications), forthcoming.
  • "The Uncomfortable Frenchness of the German Rococo." In Rococo Echo: Art, Theory, and Historiography from Cochin to Coppola, ed. Melissa Lee Hyde and Katie Scott. Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment. (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2014)
  • Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics of Habsburg Imperial Art, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011. (introduction available online here)
  • The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain. Co-edited with Alden Cavanaugh. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010)
  • “Portable Dynasties: Imperial Gift-Giving at the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Court in Vienna.” The Court Historian, 14, no. 2 (2009): 177-188. Available online here (pdf)
  • “The Man Behind the Mask? Looking at Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 42, no. 3 (Spring 2009): 431-451
  • “Nobility and Domestic Conviviality in the Paintings of Archduchess Maria Christine.” ISECS conference proceedings. Theatrum Historiae 4, supplement, Univerzita Pardubice, Czech Republic (2009): 135-154.
  • “Igneous Architecture: Porcelain, Natural Philosophy, and the Rococo cabinet chinois.” In The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain, ed. Alden Cavanaugh and Michael Yonan (Aldershot: Ashgate,2010) 65-85.
  • “Ornament’s Invitation: The Rococo of Vienna’s Gardekirche.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 50, no. 4 (Winter 2009): 15–38.
  • "Pompeo Batoni Between Rome and Vienna," Source: Notes in the History of Art 26, No. 2 (Winter 2007): 32–37.
  • "Veneers of Authority: Chinese Lacquers in Maria Theresa's Vienna." Eighteenth-Century Studies 37, no. 4 (Summer 2004): 652-672.
  • "Modesty and Monarchy: Rethinking Empress Maria Theresa at Schönbrunn," Austrian History Yearbook 35 (2004): 25-47.
  • "Conceptualizing the Kaiserinwitwe: Empress Maria Theresa and her Portraits," in Widowhood and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe, ed. Allison Levy, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 109-125.