Kenneth M. Craig (1947-2022) Memorial
In forty-five years of teaching at Boston College (1977-2022), Kenneth M. Craig inspired innumerable students to love the history of art as much as he did. Teaching the discipline seemed to bring him endless joy. A cornerstone of the Art, Art History, and Film Department, Professor Craig was a wealth of knowledge about the department and the history of art. He was a gifted and dedicated teacher, a rock star to his students, and a generous, kind, principled, and wise colleague.
Dr. Craig liked to tell his students that as an undergraduate at Ohio State University, he was an English literature major in the pre-medical program (B.A., 1968) and then attended the College of Medicine at Ohio State University (1968-69). But his love of art history, which he had discovered in an undergraduate course, caused him to change his plans. He left medical school and pursued an M.A. in the History of Art at Ohio State University (1972). He went on to Bryn Mawr College where he earned a Ph.D. (dual degree) in the History of Art and Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology (1979). Under his advisor, Professor James Snyder, he wrote his dissertation on the sixteenth-century Dutch painter, “Pieter Aertsen’s Inverted Still Lifes.”
In 1977, Ken Craig was hired as an Instructor at Boston College, and in 1979, he was promoted to Assistant Professor. At the time, the art history major was relatively new (established in 1970) and the Fine Arts Department had just been expanded with the addition of a studio art major, and placed under the leadership of Dr. Marianne W. Martin (1976). As one of a few art historians in the department, Professor Craig was critical to the early development of the art history program. In 1983, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. From 1982-85, he was elected to the Faculty Senate at Boston College. From 1985 to 1988 he served as the Chair of the Fine Arts Department; from 1988-96, as Assistant Chair; from 2014 to 2018 and again in 2021-22, as Director of Undergraduate Studies of Art History. Throughout his career, his knowledge, wisdom, academic rigor, and sound judgment contributed to ensuring the excellence of the art history program.
Professor Craig relished his time in the classroom with his students and the works of art. He spent numerous hours preparing his lectures and selecting the images, as he said, “to teach the best courses I can possibly teach.” His excellence in the classroom was present in every class he taught across his range of fields: Art from Prehistoric Times to the High Middle Ages, Art from Renaissance to Modern Times, Northern Renaissance Art, The Age of Rembrandt, Art and Archaeology of Egypt and the Ancient Near East, and Greek Art and Archaeology. Besides captivating his students in the classroom, Professor Craig was a generous mentor to his students, sharing his expertise and sage advice. His office door was always open to his advisees, the students in his classes, and many other students who came for good conversation and academic and career guidance.
As Historian (1978-2014) and then President (2014-2022) of Boston College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Craig further demonstrated his devotion to students and academic excellence. As President, he oversaw Phi Beta Kappa’s selection process and managed and hosted the induction ceremony attended by about 100 inductees and 400-500 parents and guests. His care, attention, and seriousness reflected the prestige of this honor.
Kenneth Craig’s scholarship on Pieter Aertsen is seminal to the field, and his articles on this and other Northern Renaissance and Baroque topics were published in the principal journals: “Pieter Aertsen and The Meat Stall,” Oud Holland, vol. 96, 1982, pp. 1-15; “Pars Ergo Marthae Transit: Pieter Aertsen’s ‘Inverted’ Paintings of Christ in the House of Martha and Mary,” Oud Holland, vol. 97, 1983, pp. 25-39; “Rembrandt and the Slaughtered Ox,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 46, 1983, pp. 35-39; and “Proverbs Progress: A Fool Looking Through His Fingers,” Dutch Quarterly Review, Studies in Literature, 1993. Craig was a lifelong member of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), College Art Association (CAA), and Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA).
The lasting legacy of Professor Kenneth M. Craig is best expressed by the testimonials of his colleagues, friends and students, which are below.
—Stephanie C. Leone
Ken Craig was the heart and conscience of our department. I had the pleasure of team-teaching with him in our survey course for four decades, and I always found his lectures wise and stimulating and totally engaging. His passion for art history and care for his students always came through. Ken was a model professor, and his exemplary teaching and thoughtful advising attracted more majors to the department than anyone. I will miss his sense of humor and warm Midwestern personality.
During the three years that I was lucky enough to work with Ken, he was a constant source of warmth, wisdom, and calmness. When our co-taught course was forced online during the pandemic, I especially relied on Ken’s equanimity and sage advice to get through all the turbulence and disruption. Talking to Ken always left me feeling more grounded. He has been such a stabilizing colleague and mentor.
Since the early days of the department on the Newton Campus, Ken has been the keystone, threshold and foundation of art history for us. His guidance for students on graduate art history programs was full of wisdom and solid practical advice. Collaborating with him on the Phi Beta Kappa awards, Susan also found him a wise counselor. Ken’s passing leaves a hole in the heart of the department.
In all my years at BC, Ken has been a cornerstone in the growth and success of the Fine Arts Department. His memory will always stay with me.
—Josephine Von Henneberg
So sad to hear this shocking news. Ken has been a great colleague and friend. I will so miss stopping across the hall to say hello and check in.
Working as a grader with Ken's classes, I got insight into his teaching methods, and how he pushes students to work hard. Ken is serious about every detail of an artwork, and he expects his students to respond accordingly. It is a delight to see when they do. He adapted to online classwork, but when the pandemic eased, he returned to bluebooks. He writes detailed and highly encouraging responses to each student, however well they did.
I value him so much as a mentor and colleague. I will miss comparing COVID vaccination strategies, silly jokes, and family updates. Goodbye.
I have known and worked with Ken for decades. It has always been a pleasure to see him and speak with him. That may seem like a simple thing to say but seeing him would put a smile on my face every time. We had countless great conversations over the years. In one, many years ago, Ken explained to me aspects of Greek Vase paintings that I have paraphrased to classes ever since. Ken will be missed and not forgotten.
Ken was a person of many talents and passions. He was my go-to person if I had a dilemma about a student. But where we really bonded was, of all things, over comic strips. He was an inveterate follower of the funny pages. I'd introduced him to the comic 'Monty', and he'd often collar me in the hall and ask, "Did you see yesterday's strip? It had me howling!" He will be missed!
Ken was one of my teachers decades ago and remained, as Stephanie so aptly stated, a rock star to me and, I’m sure, to all his students. Later, when I started teaching in the department, if ever I needed guidance, he was always my go-to person. His advice was invaluable.
I will miss him dearly. I always ended my days teaching by stopping by and saying good night to him; or, if I stayed later, he'd stop by first. His friendship meant a lot to me. I will pass on this very sad news to my fellow alum. I'm very sorry for our loss.
In an email I received from Ken in July, he described what he was doing this summer to unwind and restore following another challenging year of pandemic teaching. Ken derived great pleasure from working in his garden. He would often send me photos of the gorgeous flowers in his yard, and he was always interested in the annual happenings and developments in my own garden. In his email, Ken also mentioned he was reading old Sherlock Holmes stories, and how doing so was a bit like “cleansing the palette,” which I took to mean a break from his usual literary menu of student papers and scholarly articles. But it occurs to me now that Ken’s summer activities aren’t as much a break from those of the academic year as they are emblematic of them. Ken was one of the most thoughtful scholars I knew. Like Sherlock Holmes, he was a careful observer, seeking out the tiniest clues within a work of art in his quest to formulate a theory about its meaning. Ken’s devotion to scholarship was equally matched by his devotion to his teaching; he enjoyed nurturing his students intellectually just as he delighted in caring for the plants in his garden. While he was a gentle inspiration to his students, I perceived Ken to be a firm foundation of the department, always reminding us of our primary mission, and doing much of the administrative work required to fulfill that mission. Finally, Ken was kind, always demonstrating interest in and concern for others. His passing leaves a sad void in the department, as well as in my heart.
I only knew Ken last year, when I came in at the last minute to cover medieval art history courses for Pamela. There was so much bureaucratic intake and so many glitches and then the differences at BC from the state university where I taught for my career that I was a bit daunted at first getting all underway. Stephanie was the first factor in my deciding to come out of retirement and commute from Amherst to do this but then Ken, in the office next door, was the only other art historian I met all year on my Tues/Thurs schedule and what a fortuitous circumstance! He made the corridor a welcome space. He was kind, interested in me, and very sympathetic when I broke my wrist in September. He also loved to hear stories about my chickens and purchased fresh eggs from me every other week. I will miss his greeting in the morning and farewell in the afternoon. The timing and location of my two courses next spring were set by Ken and will remind me of his understanding of my schedule. My sympathies to those who knew him so much better than me and to his family.
Ken was such a big-hearted colleague. He warmly welcomed me to the department two years ago and would always take an interest in things beyond research and teaching. We regularly discussed children and parenting, and I could tell how much his family meant to him. I really appreciated the way he cared about his colleagues as whole people, who lived lives beyond the academic world. It’s hard to picture a department without his kindness, poise, and sense of pedagogical responsibility. He introduced so many students to the field of art history and he was adored by so many. I will miss him.
In my last few years at BC, I would run into Ken crossing the campus wearing his signature ball cap. Not a BC cap or Red Sox cap but his grey “O” cap. Being a fellow Buckeye, I knew what it referred to, his beloved Ohio State. I would however tease him with Oregon or Oklahoma and sometimes “The Observer”. That is what he was and what he instilled in his students to become, The Observers. His approach, as was mirrored by all in Art History was: choose your object carefully, observe it closely, develop your questions, gather your evidence with great care, write up your conclusions, now and this was the part most missed, return to your choice and review your evidence. Don’t be a sloppy investigator. Demand the best even if the puzzle leaves questions. That is the beauty of art, there will always be questions to be asked, and puzzles to be solved. A process at times irritating, but ever necessary. He will be missed.
—Michael W. Mulhern
Ken taught me so much about teaching and about working with students, but what I think of first when I think of Ken, is his kindness and humanity. He loved people and he loved to chat. He loved to share what he was up to, but he loved even more to hear about what others were up to. He loved hearing about the goings-on at Skinner (the dark side). He’d give assistance on works whose attributions I couldn’t nail down - who I should call or resources to check. But most of all I loved our chats. We talked about “just stuff.” Scotty, his son, came up the most and my son was a close second. And cats - he had a picture of himself with Licorice draped over his shoulders. Those two were best pals. I remember him sobbing when Licorice crossed the rainbow bridge. And once when, 5 minutes before my class, my husband called me and told me that our cat, Galla Placidia (yes, really…I know) had just had a seizure and died, Ken hugged me, asked me what the topic for today’s discussions was, said, “I’m teaching them” and sent me home. Just like that.
We talked baseball—both the Red Sox and whatever little league team my kid was on. We talked gardening, and especially about his hollyhocks. We talked about TV and Antique Roadshow and about all sorts of silly, minor things. He always remembered to ask me how things were going with whatever concerns or issues I’d brought up the week before.
When I had to leave after 19 years, it was a very hard choice for me. Ken came into my last class, together with Claude. Over the years I had included very silly antics in my discussion sections - Lego architecture, pendentives and domes carved out of citrus fruits, a human flying buttress demo that I borrowed from Whitney Stoddard to name a few. As a thank-you present they gave me a wonderful set of Classical archiblocks, complete with blocks to construct a Roman arch with individual voussoirs and all. It was the perfect gift - 13 years later I still play with them. Ken’s kindness, his heart, and his ability to listen to and understand people: these are the qualities that made him a great teacher, scholar, colleague, and friend. Ken - I know Licorice is waiting for you, and is probably already draped over your shoulders like old times.
—Robin S. Reynolds (Starr)
Ken was gracious & welcoming to me when I joined the Fine Arts Department staff. When I traveled to Egypt, he included some of my photos into his classes. I was honored. May his memory be a blessing.
Where to even begin? Ken was an absolutely delightful colleague, friend, and human being. I will remember him for so many reasons, but what stands out the most was what a great listener he was. He would often work late and the door to his office was always open. Countless times, I would go in there, sit down, and tell him about whatever was on my mind at the end of a long day. He would listen patiently, giving thoughtful advice and words of wisdom. I always left his office in much better spirits than when I came in. I will also remember how special Ken made me feel through his random acts of kindness. Knowing that I love my cats and my garden, he gave me hollyhock seed packets, left flowers from his garden and cat comics on my office desk, and put cute presents for my cats (addressed to them, c/o me) in my department mailbox. Ken would also email frequently with requests to send pictures of my cats and garden, which of course I was more than happy to do. In reading through other colleagues’ memories of him, I see now that he made everyone feel special in the same way—by identifying what was important in their lives and showing a genuine interest in whatever that was. What a truly exceptional quality to have! Sheila and I spoke many times this year about how we needed to have a “Ken Craig appreciation day,” where we take him out for dinner and let him know how much we cared about him. I deeply regret that we never got around to doing it or even telling him about it. I hope he knew how much he meant to us and what a wonderful colleague he has been all these years. He was, of course, equally as beloved by his students, many of whom he converted to the Art History major after taking one class with him. As others have said, his absence leaves a huge hole in our department.
I have only gotten to know Ken in the last year, but a year was long enough to see how extremely kind and helpful he was, and how much he cared about our students. I will miss his cheerful presence in the department hallway and his sage advice about teaching at BC. What a big loss for the department, for us his colleagues, and for his students.
For so many years, Ken and I both taught on Fridays. Each week I would visit his office and he would speak on subjects such as Rembrandt’s details and the space in Bruegel. He found so much in the smallest pictorial detail. He also welcomed hearing about my family and any art projects I might have. I looked forward to our visits.
Ken was so supportive of our Art History Workshop projects, and enthusiastically followed what we did during the semester. He loved to see examples of student work and welcomed hearing how those projects related to ideas in art history. My students who took Ken’s classes, raved about his teaching.
After I retired and through Covid, Ken and I corresponded in emails which included lovely photos of flowers from his garden. I will miss these emails and visits.
I am grateful to have known Ken. I will miss him.
I knew Ken since Marianne Martin first introduced him as her wonderful new “find” at the CAA meeting that year. We were all delighted to have a Northern Renaissance and Ancient Art specialist in our midst. We later learned that he could also teach African Art.
Ken’s contributions were enormous. His presence was a kind of foundation for the whole Art History department. Since we taught the Introduction to Art History together for many years I was able to witness and appreciate his lively, humorous teaching style. He would have students grinning at his wry comments.
Since his office was next to mine, we got to see each other almost every teaching day. I heard how proud he was of Scott, and he indulged me when I wanted to chat about my family. Each time I got a new family photo for my office, I’d run into Ken’s office first to show it to him.
He was a dear friend and a wonderful colleague. It’s hard to think about the department without him. He will be sorely missed.
I was so sorry to learn about Ken. What a terrible loss for the BC community. I met Ken for the first time in January 2022, and during the spring semester, I had the pleasure of speaking with him on several occasions. He made me feel welcome in the department. I also know that he inspired several of the students I taught last semester to take more than just one art history course. I was looking forward to seeing Ken again in the fall. I will miss our conversations.
It hasn’t fully sunken into me that Ken is gone. When I walked down the department floor, even at weird times, I could be confident that office door #424 would be ajar, and Ken could be found sitting on his chair, reading or writing in the small blue booklets that art historians apparently use, or tending to his indoor flower garden. I usually leave my door open as well and he’d do the same in return, stopping by and just say hello followed by an exchange of quick sentiments about recent events at BC or about our sons, or the last faculty meeting. Often we a shared a chuckle. I appreciated his kind and supportive feedback that he so frequently gave to me about things I had said or wanted to say. He always wanted to know how my son Ben is doing at BC and interwove little stories about his own son, who, in his time as a BC student, made himself popular by doing things like taking peers to the grocery store with the car that he’d borrowed from his father while he was in class…
RIP Ken, I will miss you! My heartfelt condolences to the family.
What an honor it was to be Ken’s colleague on the art history faculty for more than three decades. Ken was our superstar teacher, attracting more majors and minors to the discipline than any other faculty member. He taught the most students for no other reason than everyone wanted to take his classes. Students in my seminars told me for years that they were attracted to take more art history courses in pre modern subjects because of previously studying with “Professor Craig”. Every year during our departmental reception for graduates and their families there was a bottleneck outside his office; Ken had his annual crowd around him blocking the hallway.
Ken was the most gracious, kind, principled, and generous colleague imaginable. His wisdom, thoughtfulness, and deep and broad knowledge of our discipline will be missed in the department.
I always considered myself fortunate for having Ken’s office across the hallway from mine. Ken always made himself available for quick chats or longer conversations to discuss anything from academic concerns to anecdotal trivial ones. No matter what I threw at him, he always had a thoughtful remark that made me see things from a different perspective. More recently we shared a common interest in gardening. I will deeply miss him. My sincerest condolences to his loved ones.
I was fortunate to have taught on days Ken had office hours. His was a warm welcoming presence, always willing to engage in conversation about many subjects, from his flower garden to sharing his delight and expertise in art. I’d often ask him about things in that realm that fascinated me and I learned a new dimension each time. I wish I’d taken a course with him.
I've only been working in the Art, Art History and Film Department for a few months now, but it was always a pleasure talking with Professor Craig. He was so kind, thoughtful, supportive and interested in me. I was really looking forward to talking more with him in the years to come. I saw a good example of how much he cared for his students when I was helping him mail Phi Beta Kappa certificates to students this past June. He put pieces of cardboard in each envelope to ensure the certificates wouldn't get bent while being mailed. He also neatly wrote on both sides of the envelope "Please Do Not Bend." The amount of care and thought he put into that mailing impressed me and showed me how much he cared for his students.
Over the long stretch of forty-plus years during which I was privileged to claim Ken Craig as a cherished colleague, I always prized our occasional encounters — whether planned or spontaneous — as a chance to be in the presence of a true Mensch. As everyone who knew him will recall, Ken excluded the calm — and calming — air of someone who was utterly comfortable in his own skin and who was always genuinely glad to see you.
Many were the times over the years when I would hear from my own students enthused reports of how very much they had delighted in Ken’s courses on Northern Renaissance art. Because his field of specialty overlapped ever so slightly with my own work in medieval German philology, he and I shared a good number of students in common over the years. Their accounts of Ken’s passion for teaching and of his marvelously quirky sense of humor underscored for me time and again my own high estimation of him as a colleague and friend.
But it was our many years of working together on the Boston College Phi Beta Kappa committee that afforded me new and different perspectives on Ken’s intrinsic gifts as a leader. Most notably, for the past number of years, Ken served as president of the Boston College PBK chapter. Much could be said about his gentle leadership and his unfailingly gracious way of running a tight ship. Most memorably for me, he had a gift for conducting our annual initiation ceremony — invariably before a packed house in Robsham Theatre — in a way that was somehow both solemnly appropriate for the occasion, but also lighthearted and unpretentious. After the pandemic cancelled that ceremony in 2020 and then again in 2021, what a blessing it was this past May that we were once again able to celebrate our brightest students — together and in person — in Robsham.
On that glorious Sunday morning back in May no one could have imagined that this would be Ken’s final time in that role. Phi Beta Kappa — and Boston College — simply won’t be the same without him. Along with so many others at this institution, I will profoundly miss Ken’s gracious smile, his self-effacing demeanor and his gentle presence.
—Michael Resler, German Studies Program
I'm absolutely heartbroken to hear about Ken's passing. I had actually been meaning to email him to tell him about my promotion at the Denver Art Museum. Of course, I loved the classes I took with him as an undergraduate (his modeling of contrapposto in art history 101 is as vivid now as it was almost 25 years ago and always makes me smile). But Ken became less of a beloved professor and more of a cherished colleague when I TAed for Art History 101 and 102 back in 2010. He was an amazing mentor as I began my teaching career. We continued to stay in touch over the years--usually checking in a couple of times of year. He kept me updated on department news and other goings-on, and I told him about my struggles on the job market and the joys of getting a dog and gardening. Please send my condolences to the department and to his family.
Professor Craig has the kindest and most welcoming heart. He welcomed me with open arms as his advisee and always was there to listen and help me. I would not be where I am without him and I know our community will keep his legacy strong.
—Madighan Crowley, Class of 2024
In the COVID-wracked and uncertain semesters of 2020, one thing that remained constant was Professor Craig's excitement and love for my course with him, The Art and Archaeology of Egypt and the Ancient Near East. Every class felt like a travel through time to ancient Egypt and a safe haven from the outside world. Professor Craig's contagious love for archaeology and ancient Egypt has inspired me to even research this topic for my senior honors thesis. The Art History department at Boston College will never be the same without him.
—Victoria Oliviero, Class of 2023
Professor Craig was my first professor and mentor who introduced me and inspired me to study art history. His last words to me were “do what you like doing most.” He was a wise and compassionate teacher who showed nothing but love and dedication for his students. The lessons, words, advice, and laughter that we have shared together will forever be embedded in my heart. I will miss him so much. May his beautiful soul rest in peace.
—Josephine Kim, Class of 2023
Professor Craig was one of the first professors I encountered at Boston College. From the first semester of my freshman year, his passion has inspired me and his unwavering faith in me as a scholar and Art Historian has pushed me to do my best to live up to his expectations. Now, as a rising junior and Art History major, I cannot imagine my BC experience without him. Professor Craig was kind and encouraging, deeply and authentically passionate about his field, and dedicated to passing this on and challenging his students to produce their best work. He was also wickedly funny, and able to sneak jokes about figure poses or puns about the names of Dutch painters into any lecture to keep things interesting. I will dearly miss Professor Craig, and I know that all my future work will be touched, for the better, by his strong influence. He was the first Professor to ever suggest I publish my work, the person I came to with every new research idea, be it through formal discussion or emails of blurry pictures taken of art to over my summer travels, and the one who believed in me enough to nominate me for a department scholarship award. He was an outstanding mentor, Professor, and person.
—Megan Streeter, Class of 2024
It's no exaggeration to say that Prof. Craig made me want to be an art historian. I took every class he taught--a journey that wound from the banks of the Nile to Renaissance Flanders--and all of the advice he offered as my major advisor and, later, as I navigated graduate school. Prof. Craig was kind, witty, and always had precisely the right word at the ready to describe a work of art. He shaped my BC experience and remains my model of the dedicated teacher-scholar.
—Elizabeth Narkin, Class of 2007
I am deeply saddened to learn of Professor Craig’s death. He was a warm and kind man, and one of the most enthusiastic professors I ever had the pleasure of learning from. It was a joy to know and learn from him.
I fondly remember him sharing photos of his garden with us before classes began. His final exam for the Age of Rembrandt in 2009 included a cheeky joke about a new meaning for Rembrandt's Danae being uncovered and that it was in fact Tiger Woods entering the scene. Professor Craig oversaw my honors thesis for the Perspectives major. I owe my career trajectory to my time in his classes, as I have continued on to pursue a PhD in seventeenth-century Dutch art, which I will complete this Christmas. I am so sad that I will not be able to share the good news of finishing the degree with him. Please send along my support to his family, he really meant so much to me, my time at Boston College, and my career.
Having had a privilege to be Professor Craig’s student, I still think of him every time I am looking at art. From organizing Bruegel-style proverb competitions to making us sketch artworks in museums, Professor Craig cultivated our understanding and appreciation of art. He cared about every student. Even when I was not taking art history classes, I always stepped into his office to chat about art and hear his life advice. He turned my interest in art into a true passion that I will continue pursuing. The Complete Engravings by Dürer that I received as a prize in Professor Craig’s Northern Renaissance class has become something I always return to for inspiration and to remind myself of how Professor Craig made us think of each artwork as of an old friend that one needs to see from time to time. He is truly missed, but we know he is already looking at art in a better world, perhaps even talking to Dieric Bouts or Jan van Eyck about their paintings.
Professor Craig acted as a grand Vizier to all of his students, going above and beyond to propel them into bright futures, and he made me feel like Hatshepsut herself. His overwhelming warmth towards students and passion for art will be deeply missed. I pray for his family, and I promise his students will continue to live on his legacy.
—Sindey Amar, Class of 2024
I am so sad for the sudden passing of Prof. Craig. I was not an Art history major, but I took Prof. Craig’s class for a whole year in my sophomore year. I became a big fan of northern renaissance because of his amazing lectures. He was not only a brilliant teacher and but also a good friend of many students including me. It was his encouragement and care that helped me out of my hardest time at the beginning of the pandemic. He made me think of my grandfather who was also a college professor. I will always remember him and his teaching, and I am sure he will be always remembered by thousands of his students and colleagues. I wish his family all the best.
With sincere condolences,
—Zhong (Jiyuan Zhong)
I am saddened by this news.
When Professor Craig gave us the assignment to visit the MFA Boston to examine and write about an artwork in the museum's collection, he warned us with a smile, "don't look at art on an empty stomach!" His joyful attitude and sense of humor made art feel approachable. Studying it felt possible, exciting. Years later, I still remember him dramatically describing the impact the cave paintings of Lascaux would have had on those who saw them in their time. He drew us in, and opened our eyes to the dreams and realities that works of art express.
I am grateful to him.
—Liam van Loenen
Professor Craig was my instructor in the first Art History course I ever took. I ended up becoming an art historian too, and Professor Craig—his courses but also the many conversations he took the time to hold with me outside of class—played no small role in setting me on this path. I admired him for his warmth and curiosity and, looking back, a few special turns-of-phrase (often delivered in a blazer and red, owl-emblazoned Bryn Mawr sweater) have stuck in my mind. Most memorably, I recall how on several occasions he described the Dutch paintings stolen from the Gardner Museum as “old friends” whom he’d lost and wondered if he’d ever see again. My sincere condolences to Professor Craig’s family as well as to his friends and colleagues at BC and beyond.
—John Lansdowne, Class of 2007
It would be impossible to write anything that could begin to capture what a truly wonderful person Professor Craig was. He was an inspiring teacher, a supportive mentor, and a lovely friend. I still remember how thrilling it was to be in his art history lectures as an undergraduate. He was a master at teaching history and had a gift for storytelling that made his lectures a complete joy. His constant encouragement and kindness gave me the strength and confidence to pursue a career in art history, a prospect that, as a person who had grown up in a small town and hadn’t spent much time in art museums, I had never dreamed possible. His door was always open to brainstorm big ideas, share books and articles, or just to catch up on life. If I absorbed even a modicum of his mentorship abilities, the students I interact with will be incredibly lucky. He leaves me with fond memories of his warmth, sense of humor, and positive outlook on life. He will be so missed.
—Molly Phelps, Class of 2014
The first art history course I ever took was taught by Professor Craig. As an art history major without any previous experience with the subject, I was unsure of whether or not it was my true calling. After just a few classes with him, however, I already felt enlightened by his gentle wisdom and mastery of the works he spoke to us about. I subsequently had him for a few more courses and always felt eager to listen to the soft-spoken, well-learned professor speak about art with such vitality that intrigued all of his students. His passion for art history was palpable and contagious, and his dedication to the field is surely not lost; it lives on through those who learned from him, who felt inspired by his kindness, knowledge, and spirit.
I was fortunate to take several classes with him from 2008 to 2012. I’m grateful for his warm and encouraging demeanor and great enthusiasm for teaching. I have vivid memories of his Northern Renaissance class. He shared with us examples of woodcuts, engravings, and etchings, gave us magnifying glasses and encouraged us to look closely as he explained the different types of printmaking techniques and how we might identify each one. Years later when I was a Curatorial Fellow working in the Print Room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I would think back to that lesson often. He will surely be missed!
—Theresa Cunningham, PhD
Dixon Gallery and Gardens
My heart is breaking with this sad news.
Professor Craig was a seminal figure in my Art History career. It was his Netherlandish Renaissance class that I took early in my years at Boston College that shaped my future. This was a period that I went on to pursue in Graduate School, and is now the period in which I specialize in my role as an Auction House professional. Always my champion, he continued to check in with me in the years after I graduated and always corresponded with great excitement. I will never forget his steadfast mentorship and kindness, and I will forever carry his memory with me.
—Elisabeth Lobkowicz, Class of 2010
Sotheby’s | Vice President, Specialist
I am lucky to have had the privilege of meeting a professor as passionate as Dr. Craig. His genuine interest for his classes and students was an integral part of my first two years at Boston College. Professor Craig was able transmit knowledge in a truly inspirational fashion, something I had not experienced before. What I learned in his lectures transcends the information specific to the course: Dr. Craig showed me how to appreciate art and all of its nuances, a precious gift I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will miss Professor Craig tremendously.