Daniela Bleichmar

Professor of Art History and History
Daniela Bleichmar
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email bleichma@usc.edu Office THH 334 Office Phone (213) 821-6384

Research & Practice Areas

Early Modern Europe, especially visual and material culture, global exchanges, science, and print; Spanish Empire/Colonial Latin America; History of Collecting and Display

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute,
  • Visual Studies Graduate Certificate,
  • USC-Getty Program in the History of Collecting and Display,
  • USC research cluster in Science, Technology, and Society,
  • Visual Studies Research Institute,


Daniela Bleichmar is Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California. She is the founding director of the Levan Institute for the Humanities and the director of the USC Society of Fellows in the Humanities. Previously she served as Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities (2015–2020). She is a member of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and the Visual Studies Research Institute.

Professor Bleichmar grew up in Argentina and Mexico before immigrating to the U.S. She studied at Harvard University (BA, 1996) and Princeton University (PhD, 2005). 

Professor Bleichmar’s research and teaching address the histories of art and science in colonial Latin America and early modern Europe, focusing particularly on the histories of knowledge production; cultural contact and exchange; museums, collecting and display; and books and prints. 

She has received multiple prizes and fellowships for her scholarship, including a Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2004–2006) a Getty Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2008–2009), a Getty Research Institute fellowship (2013–2014), and an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship (2018–2019). In 2007 she was honored by Smithsonian Magazine as one of “37 under 36. America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences.” Her teaching and mentorship have been recognized with the USC College General Education Teaching Award (2008) and the Professor of Color Recognition Award from the USC Undergraduate Student Government (2015).

Her book Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American from Columbus to Darwin (Yale University Press, 2017) explores the intertwined histories of art and science, the Americas and Europe from 1492 to 1859. Visual Voyages shows that images of the natural world were not only works of art but also instruments for the production of knowledge, with scientific, social, and political repercussions. The book received the Alice Award (2018).

This publication accompanied a major international exhibition also entitled Visual Voyages, for which Professor Bleichmar served as guest curator. Held at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (September 2017–January 2018) as part of the Getty Foundation’s landmark initiative Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles/Latin America, the exhibition provided 34,000 visitors with a unique opportunity to experience first-hand treasures from the Huntington and other national and international collections.

Professor Bleichmar is also the author of Visible Empire. Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment  (University of Chicago Press, 2012; Spanish translation: El imperio visible: Expediciones botánicas y cultura visual en la Ilustración hispánica, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2016). The book is a study of five scientific expeditions funded by the Spanish crown to explore the natural history of the Spanish Americas and the Philippines between 1777 and 1808. These expeditions brought together naturalists and artists, who working collaboratively produced almost 13,000  illustrations. The book discusses the status and uses of images in eighteenth-century natural history; the importance of visual material in training the expert eyes and skilled hands of naturalists; the role of print culture in establishing a common vocabulary of scientific illustration; the interaction among visual evidence, textual evidence, and material evidence; and the ways in which colonial naturalists and artists appropriated and transformed European models, producing hybrid, local representations.

Visible Empire was recognized with the 2014 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for the best book in European history from ancient times to 1815 (American Historical Association); the 2014 Levinson prize for the most outstanding book in the history of the life sciences and natural history (History of Science Society); the  2013 Leo Gershoy award for the most outstanding book in 17th- and 18th-century European history (American Historical Association); the 2013 Tufts book award (American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies); the 2013 Phi Kappa Phi award for the best book by a faculty member of the University of Southern California; and the 2012 PROSE award for the best book in the history of science, medicine, and technology (Association of American Publishers). It also received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Arvey book award (Association for Latin American Art).

She has published widely on visual culture and natural history in the Hispanic world and early modern Europe, and co-edited four volumes: Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500–1800, with Paula DeVos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan (Stanford University Press, 2008); Collecting Across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World, with Peter C. Mancall (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World, with Meredith Martin (published in 2015 as Art History, vol. 38, no. 4 and in 2016 as a stand-alone book); and, with Vanessa Schwartz, a special issue of the journal Representations entitled Visual History: The Past in Pictures. A full list of publications appears on her CV.

She is currently working on two research projects: The Itinerant Lives of Painted Books: Mexican Codices and Transatlantic Knowledge in the Early Modern World and The Museum of Difficult Objects.


  • Ph.D. History, Princeton University, 2005
  • A.B. History of Science, Harvard University, 1996
    • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and USC Visual Studies, 2004-2006
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 2019 –
    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 2012 – 2018
    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 2006 – 2012

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Southern California,

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Visitor, History Department, Harvard University, 2008-2009
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    – The history of the Spanish Empire and early modern Europe, especially science, visual culture, and material culture

    – The history of natural history

    – The history of books, readers, print, and prints

    – The history of collecting and display

    – The history of cultural encounters, colonialism, and imperialism

  • Book

    Book Chapter

    • Bleichmar, D. (2013). “Science in the Spanish Americas”. pp. 298–300.in Kenneth R. Mills and Evonne Levy (eds.), Lexikon of the Baroque (University of Texas Press).
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). “Seeing the World in a Room: Looking at Exotica in Early Modern Collections”. pp. 15-30.Collecting across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic.
    • Bleichmar, D., Mancall, P. C. (2011). Introduction. Collecting Across Cultures in the Early Modern Atl pp. 1-15.University of Pennsylvania Press.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2010). “The Geography of Observation: Distance and Visibility in Eighteenth-Century Botanical Travel”. Histories of Scientific Observation pp. 373–395. University of Chicago Press: Histories of Scientific Observation.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2008). A Visible and Useful Empire: Visual Culture and Colonial Natural History in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish World. Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires (1500-1800)/Stanford University Press.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2008). “Looking at Exotica in Baroque Collections: The Object, the Viewer, and the Collection as a Space,” in The Gentleman, the Virtuoso, the Inquirer: Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa and the Art of Collecting in Early Modern Spain. pp. 63-77. Middlesex: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Atlantic Competitions: Botanical Trajectories in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish Empire. pp. 225-252.Science and Empire in the Atlantic World / Routledge.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Training the Naturalist’s Eye in the Eighteenth Century: Perfect Global Visions and Local Blind Spots. pp. p. 166-190.Skilled Visions. Between Apprenticeship and Standards/Bergahn Books.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). “The Trajectories of Natural Knowledge in the Spanish Empire (ca. 1550–1650)”. Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution / / Mas alla de la Leyenda Negra: España y la Revolucion Cientifica/Soler.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2004). Books, Bodies, and Fields: Sixteenth-Century Transatlantic Encounters with New World Materia Medica. pp. p. 83-99.Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Politics/Pennsylvania University Press.


    • Bleichmar, D. (2012). “Latin America: Battleground of Art,” review of “Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World,” exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The New York Review of Books, 59:2 (February 9, 2012).

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). “The Enlightenment and Its Visual Manifestations in Spanish America”. Ben Vinson (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Latin American Studies (New York: Oxford University Press).

    Journal Article

    • Bleichmar, D. (2021). The Cabinet and the World: Non-European Objects in Early Modern European Collections. pp. 11.Journal of the History of Collections.  available online 
    • Bleichmar, D. (2019). “Painting the Aztec Past in Early Colonial Mexico: Translation and Knowledge Production in the Codex Mendoza”. 4 pp. 1362–1415.Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 72 (4),
    • Bleichmar, D., Schwartz, V. R. (2019). “Visual History: The Past in Pictures”. 145 pp. 1–31.Representations.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2015). “The Imperial Visual Archive”. 2 pp. 236–66.Colonial Latin American Review. Vol. 24 (2),
    • Bleichmar, D. (2015). “History in Pictures: Translating the Codex Mendoza”. Fall pp. 682–701.Art History. Vol. 38.4 (Fall),
    • Bleichmar, D., Martin, M. (2015). “Introduction”. Fall pp. 604–19.Art History. Vol. 38.4 (Fall),
    • Bleichmar, D. (2012). “Learning to Look: Visual Expertise across Art and Science in Eighteenth-Century France”. 1 pp. 85–111.Eighteenth-Century Studies. Vol. 46 (1),
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). “Seeing Peruvian Nature, Up Close and from Afar”. pp. 82–95.Res. Vol. 59/60,
    • Bleichmar, D. (2009). “El imperio visible: la mirada experta y la imagen en las expediciones científicas de la ilustración”. Universidad de Salamanca: Cuadernos Dieciochistas. Vol. 9,
    • Bleichmar, D. (2009). “Visible Empire: Scientific Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment”. pp. 441–466.Postcolonial Studies. Vol. vol. 12, no. 9,
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Exploration in Print: Books and Botanical Travel from Spain to the Americas in the Late Eighteenth Century. no. 1 (March 2007): 129-151 Huntington Library Quarterly/Huntington Library. Vol. vol. 70 (no. 1 (March 2007): 129-151),
    • Bleichmar, D. (2006). Painting as Exploration: Visualizing Nature in Eighteenth-Century Colonial Science. no. 1 (June 2006): 81-104 Colonial Latin American Review/Taylor and Francis. Vol. vol. 15 (no. 1 (June 2006): 81-104),
    • Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship, held at the Huntington Library, 2018-2019
    • Professor of Color Recognition Award, USC Undergraduate Student Government, 2015
    • Getty Research Institute, Scholar, 2013-2014
    • USC Dornsife Distinguished Faculty Fellow, 2011-2013
    • Faculty Fellowship, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, Fall 2011
    • Getty Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009
    • General Education Teaching Award, 2008/12
    • USC “Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences” Research Grant, 2007-2008
    • 2007 Jerry Stannard Memorial Award for best article on early modern natural history or materia medica published by a young scholar, for “Books, Bodies, and Fields”, 2007
    • Franklin Pease Memorial Prize for best article published in the Colonial Latin American Review in 2005 and 2006, 2007
    • Honored by Smithsonian magazine as one of “America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences: 37 under 36.” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/innovators/bleichmar.html, 2007/10
    • Short-Term Research Grant, International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University, 2007/06-2007/07
    • USC-Del Amo Research Grant, 2007/06-2007/07
    • Award for the best dissertation on Latin American visual culture 2004-2006, Association for Latin American Art, 2007/01
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • , CSIC book series: Estudios sobre la ciencia”, 2015 –
    • , Journal18″, 2015 –
    • , Asclepio. Revista de la Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia”, 2014 –
    • , Brill book series: Cultural Dynamics of Science”, 2014 –
    • , Editorial Doce Calles book series: Pictura Mundi”, 2014 –
    • , Isis”, 2014 – 2016

    Professional Offices

    • Council Member, History of Science Society”, 2011-2015