Research in this area

The research specialisms of the art history team stretch from the Medieval to the Modern era. Major European art historical periods, from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to Realism and Modernism, are a key focus but we also have specialist knowledge in American art of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

We are engaged in interdisciplinary research on the wider historical context of artworks, and we place a strong emphasis on their material and self-reflexive aspects. Methodologically, our work is characterised by our interest in the social history of art, the role of art in the staging of national, political and sexual identities, the reception of art and - connected to this - the history of exhibition practices and display strategies. 

All members of the team work as guest curators for leading galleries and museums in the UK and in Europe, and this means we also contribute to cultural debates generated by exhibitions of the present day.

Principal current areas of research include:

  • Exhibition cultures in Austria in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Pornography and the visual arts in early 20th century Vienna.
  • Meta-painting in Western visual culture.
  • Political iconography and representations of sexual violence in Medieval and Renaissance Italy.
  • The reception of the Renaissance and Renaissance artists from 1750 to the present.
  • The history and practice of art historical writing in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • The visual arts and cultural politics during the interwar period, with a focus on state patronage and the New Deal art programmes of the 1930s.
  • International mural painting and public art of the 20th century.