Delanie Linden

Historian of Eighteenth- & Nineteenth-Century European and Chinese Art | Professional Artist and Art Educator

Delanie J. Linden is a Ph.D. candidate in the History, Theory + Criticism of Art and Architecture program at MIT. Her work is broadly concerned with the global trade of art and art materials imported into Europe and how these objects and resources influenced taste, local materials science, art techniques, optical perception, and political economies in the nineteenth century. Technical Art History and conservation science guide Linden's art historical and history of science research.

In her dissertation, “Other Colors: Chroma, Chemistry, & the Orient in Nineteenth-Century French Painting,” chaired by Prof. Kristel Smentek, Linden charts the history of color, colorant chemistry, and color optics in French and Chinese paintings in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is currently a fellow at the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry. She was an Open-Research Award Fulbright Fellow in Paris, France hosted by Charlotte Guichard, Professor of Art History at the École normale supérieure (See MIT's News Story Here!) and also an Institut Français d'Amérique Harmon Chadbourn Rorison Fellow

Linden's research has been peer-reviewed and published in The Getty Research JournalNineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, and Refractand featured by The Art Newspaper, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, CNN, and others. She has two forthcoming edited-volume chapters on the ‘chromatic turn’ of early nineteenth-century French painting, in which she situates her research's chronological scope at the dawn of what Chromotope scholars have termed the 'chromatic turn' of the mid-nineteenth century. She has presented her work at the École normale supérieure, SECACS, ASOR, Rice University, Harvard, University of Cambridge, and numerous others, and has received funding support as an MIT Presidential Fellow, a Decorative Arts Trust research grant awardee, and an SMU art history scholarship recipient. Linden was awarded a CAMIT grant for her portraiture biometrics project.

Prior to MIT, Linden received an M.A. in art history at Southern Methodist University (advisor Amy Freund) and degrees in neuroscience and art history at the University of Michigan (advisor Susan Siegfried). At Michigan, her scientific research examined the effects of endocrine disrupters (Bisphenol-A) on sexually dimorphic brain regions of sheep. In her art history coursework, she was drawn to early modern artistic engagement with philosophies of the senses. She has since sought to forge her dual interests in science and art throughout her Ph.D. at MIT. Her art history course “Art & Perception in Eighteenth- & Nineteenth-Century Europe,” advised by MIT professor Caroline A. Jones, explores philosophies of perception and art history. Her publication, “The Future of Women is the Future of the Nation,” (Getty Winter 2022), advised by Professor Ewa-Lajer Burcharth (Harvard), examines the confluence of art and gender. Linden was also a research assistant for the laboratory Chromotope (2022), comprised of a team of scholars from around the globe whose research centers on color.

Linden’s academic service extends well beyond her career as a researcher. Her passions include mentorship, teaching, feminist activism, and graduate student professional advising:

  • Linden is a current Graduate Residential Tutor for New Vassar House at MIT, where she mentors MIT undergraduate students and organizes study breaks.
  • She co-founded the datafeminist curatorial collective Women21stCentury, which was awarded support by the EU Commission’s STARTs in Motion program. In 2021, Linden was invited to speak at Ars Electronica, where she co-moderated three workshops on “Activating the Archive,” and at Agora Digital Art, in which she led a series of panel discussions on AI gender bias with curators and contemporary artists.
  • She has been a teaching assistant for numerous MIT and SMU courses and led recitation sessions for Professor Mark Jarzombek’s “Global Architecture” Spring 2021 course.
  • She also writes a curatorial blog for MIT’s Out of Frame, which curates images and ideas about art and architecture centered on a weekly theme. 
  • She was also a CAPD fellow at the MIT Career Advising & Professional Development center, in which she created resources, lead workshops, and advised students about careers.
Delanie Linden art history color colorants mit painting
In Linden's recent essay published in Vernon Press, she argues that the discovery of paint on ancient Greco-Roman sculpture transformed French oil painting techniques in Paris from 1780 to 1830, in which artists began to embrace vivid and kaleidoscopic color schemes in their compositions.
Delanie Linden art history color history painting pigments massachusetts institute technology
Linden to become fellow at world-renowned Science History Institute in Philadelphia 2023-24.
Delanie Linden Art History Fulbright Fellow
Linden's Fulbright project in Paris under the mentorship of Professor Charlotte Guichard at the École normale supérieure will examine the politics of the colorant trade in post-Revolutionary and Imperial France. From 1780 to 1856, the quest for steadfast and saturated hues motivated the establishment of new trade routes, diplomatic missions, and the justification for imperial and colonial rule. In this context, I intend to chart how color came to be associated with exoticism and foreignness, particularly as French citizens sought to continuously redefine themselves amid political and national instability.
Delanie linden artist art historian art history Massachusetts institute of technology mit painting great basin grant pigments color
Art historian and oil painter Delanie Linden has been awarded a Large Grant by the Great Basin National Heritage Area board of directors for her research on 'natural' pigments and painting.
Chromotope Delanie Linden MIT Art History MISTI-FRANCE
Linden is a current research assistant for Charlotte Ribeyrol (Sorbonne) and Arnaud Dubois (ENSA Limoges) in Paris at their laboratory Chromotope (Sorbonne Université, University of Oxford, le CNAM).
Delanie Linden Art History Decorative Arts Trust Research Grant Recipient Chinese Export Paintings Chevreul
With support from the Decorative Arts Trust, I conducted archival research in Paris from January to March 2022 to write my dissertation chapter “Chevreul, Color Juxtaposition, & the ‘Flat Tints’ of Chinese Paintings.” In this portion of my dissertation, I examine Chinese export art which undergirded theories of color in Paris between 1800 to 1839.
Delanie Linden Women21stCentury W21 Datafeminism Gender AI
What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st Century?

W21 is a data-feminist participatory research platform focusing on post-feminism and intersectional practice in art, science, culture, and technology. We aim to map feminist practice and to write a collaborative manifesto for the digital era, with deep considerations of gender, class or race.
Delanie Linden Art History In the Frame MIT Out of Frame
Drawing from the museological act of framing, the curator column “In The Frame” compiles images of objects, peoples, and architecture that are united by a common theme, project, or motif. The curator columnist, Delanie Linden is inspired by the intellectual and creative happenings of the department and designs each column with the architecture community in mind. Her selection of subject matter is deeply motivated by her own artistic practice as an oil painter and her training as an art historian. The conditions of making, the contingencies of materials, and the artist's and beholder’s sensorial experience are the critical foundations of the column.