Allison Sherman teaching the the Church of the Frari, Venice

Dr. Allison Sherman, doing what she was born to do.

Dr. Allison Sherman was an outstanding scholar of Renaissance art, an inspirational teacher, and the truest, most generous friend a person could ever hope to have. She died of breast cancer on April 26th, 2017, at the age of thirty-seven.

This week, on what would have been Allison’s 41st birthday, the blow of that loss to scholarship was slightly softened. Her doctoral dissertation, The Lost Venetian Church of  Santa Maria Assunta dei Crociferi: Form, Decoration, Patronage, was released on Tuesday as an e-book edited by Carlo Corsato, with a foreword by Peter Humfrey and a note on the author by her dear friends Sharon Gregory and Sally Hickson. Beautifully illustrated and designed, it is a virtuoso performance of archival sleuthing (notoriously challenging in Italy, but Allie was a genius at it), analysis, and historical narrative. This wonderful book is available as a free download at this link.

The photo above is my favourite picture of Allie, because it shows her doing what she was so clearly born to do. She is in the Church of the Frari in Venice, teaching a class for the Queen’s Venice Summer School. She taught with passion, authority, humour, charisma, and the flair of a born performer. And I have never known anyone who cared or gave more to her students. To this day, whenever I walk into a classroom, she is the standard that I hope to uphold. We lost a lot when we lost Allie, but that shining example is something I get to keep.

Here’s to Allie.

Venice dinner party with Allison Sherman

Peter Coffman