Hector Reyes

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Art History
Email hectorre@usc.edu Office THH 355 Office Phone (213) 821-1375

Research & Practice Areas

The history and theory of French Academic painting;

The development of early modern and modern history painting in Europe;

Interactions between image and text;

Poussin and Eighteenth-Century Studies;

The afterlife of Stoic Physics in European aesthetic theory;

Studio film as an Academic Practice


  • Ph.D. , Northwestern University
  • B.A. , University of California, Berkeley
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    My research focuses on canonical figures of artistic practice and theory, especially in France from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Extricating these French artists and theorists from conventional histories of early modern “Classicism” or antiquarianism, my research demonstrates how they were co-creators with classical antiquity, consciously forging new ideas about form, matter, affect, media, and history that bridged the gap between the “Ancients” and the “Moderns.” This spirit of co-creation was foundational to the histories of Modernism, I argue, in my two book projects “Poussin and the Tradition of Autonomous Painting” and “Methodical Fire: Stoic Physics from Zeno to Baudelaire.”

    My first book, currently under contract, offers new interpretations of canonical French paintings as case studies within two intersecting and related histories: the interpretation of Poussin’s paintings by Academic painters; and the development of an autonomous, self-defining painting within the French Academic tradition. My second project is a co-authored book entitled “Methodical Fire” about the long history of Stoic physics and its elaboration in art theory and practice from its first formulation in the Hellenistic period to the nineteenth century.

  • Book

    • Reyes, H.Poussin and the Tradition of Autonomous Painting (under contract). New York: Routledge.

    Book Chapters

    • Reyes, H. (2021). Marat’s Two Bodies. The Present Prospects of Social Art History New York: Bloomsbury.
    • Reyes, H., Habinek, T. (2018). Distributed Cognition and its Discontents: A Dialogue across History and Artistic Genre. Distributed Cognition in Classical Antiquity pp. 225-239. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    Journal Article

    • Reyes, H. (2019). Between Coloris and Dessein. Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles.
    • Reyes, H. (2013). Drawing and History in the Comte de Caylus’ ‘Receuil’. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Vol. 42, pp. 171-189.
    • Reyes, H. (2011). Ekphrasis and the Autonomy of Painting: On Charles Le Brun’s ‘Entrance of Alexander’. Classical Receptions Journal. Vol. 3 (1), pp. 77-108.
    • Reyes, H. (2009). The Rhetorical Frame of Poussin’s Theory of the Modes. Intellectual History Review. Vol. 19 (3), pp. 287-302.