Freemasonry and the Visual Arts
from the Eighteenth Century Forward
Historical and Global Perspectives

(Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020)

A book presentation and round table discussion with William D. Moore
(Director, American and New England Studies Program, BU),
Reva Wolf, co-editor of Freemasonry and the Visual Arts (Professor of Art History, SUNY New Paltz),
and Deborah Willis (Chair, Department of Photography and Imaging/Director of IAAA/CBVC, NYU).

Friday, January 31st, 2020
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Tisch School of the Arts
New York University
721 Broadway, 12th floor, Dean’s Conference Room
New York, NY 10003

Books will be available for sale.

Please RSVP: or (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email.

Co-sponsored by Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography & Imaging, NYU


With the dramatic rise of Freemasonry in the eighteenth century, art played a fundamental role in its practice, rhetoric, and global dissemination, while Freemasonry, in turn, directly influenced developments in art. This mutually enhancing relationship has only recently begun to receive its due. The vilification of Masons, and their own secretive practices, have hampered critical study and interpretation.

As perceptions change, and as masonic archives and institutions begin opening to the public, the time is ripe for a fresh consideration of the interconnections between Freemasonry and the visual arts. This volume offers diverse approaches, and explores the challenges inherent to the subject, through a series of eye-opening case studies that reveal new dimensions of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya and John Singleton Copley, and important collectors and entrepreneurs, including Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Baron Taylor.

Individual essays take readers to various countries within Europe and to America, Iran, India, and Haiti. Essays include:

      • “Picturing Black Freemasons from Emancipation to the 1990s”
        by Cheryl Finley and Deborah Willis
      • “Saint Jean Baptiste, Haitian Vodou, and the Masonic Imaginary”
        by Katherine Smith
      • “Freemasonry and the Architecture of the Persian Revival, 1843-1933”
        by Talinn Grigor

The kinds of art analyzed are remarkably wide-ranging-porcelain, architecture, posters, prints, photography, painting, sculpture, metalwork, and more-and offer a clear picture of the international scope of the relationships between Freemasonry and art and their significance for the history of modern social life, politics, and spiritual practices. In examining this topic broadly yet deeply, Freemasonry and the Visual Arts sets a standard for serious study of the subject and suggests new avenues of investigation in this fascinating emerging field.

“This pioneering collection of essays provides fascinating and tantalizing
illustrations of the rich artistic legacy of Freemasonry."
―Andrew Prescott, University of Glasgow

 "Wolf and Luxenberg have gathered a series of brilliantly insightful essays.”
―Edward J. Sullivan, New York University

 “This is a much-needed book on an important subject."
―Michael Yonan, University of Missouri

Follow us on social media @IAAACBVC