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Historiography and Methods of Early Modern Art History

Fragments of Renaissance architecture, Museo di San Marco, Florence. Photo © Elizabeth J. Petcu

Research Theme


I investigate the historiography and methods of early modern art history from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. My work in this field focuses on dynamics of intercultural exchange and transculturation in the formation of art historical narratives, as well as the challenges of crafting global and ecocritical histories of art in early modernity.

My work on the historiography and methods of early modern art history bridges historical research and contributions to ongoing conversations about historical practice today. I have examined origins of modern German art history writing in an article for the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, “Vasari in Renaissance Straßburg.” I have also explored shifting strategies for visualizing the Renaissance as an art historical concept in an exhibition, Was war Renaissance? Bilder einer Erzählform von Vasari bis Panofsky and its eponymous exhibition catalogue, co-curated and co-edited with Hans Christian Hönes, Léa Kuhn, and Susanne Thürigen.


Most recently, I have released with my colleague Moa Carlsson (University of Edinburgh) a series of audio conversations with leading international scholars concerning the diverse current practices of architectural history: Interviews on Method.


At present, I am collaborating with Maurice Saß (Alanus Hochschule, Alfter) on a grant project called “Ecocritical Histories of Early Modern Art”. The goal of the project is to hone a much-needed critical toolkit for composing global, ecocritical histories of the visual culture of colonial early modernity.

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