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Professor Cordula van Wyhe
Professor of Art History



MA (University College, London), PhD (Courtauld Institute, London)

Before joining the History of Art Department at York in 2005, Cordula was the Speelman-Newton Fellow in Netherlandish Art at Wolfson College Cambridge (2000-2005). Her research interests lie in early modern cultural history with particular reference to the seventeenth-century Low Countries. Major interests include the history of dress (including fashion), Rubens, religious and political imagery, royal patronage, and early modern court culture.

Additionally, Cordula's research and teaching in dress history also engages with nineteenth- and early twentieth-century clothing communities up to 1945. She is the research lead at the Digital Museum of Dress Accessories: Body, Fashion, Health, Technology (DMDA)


Research group(s)

Conferences Organised


  • 2020-22 York Impact Accelerator Fund (AHRC-Aligned)
  • 2016 HISPANEX. Goberno de España. Ministero de Educación Cultura y Deporte
  • 2010 Wellcome Institute Conference Support Grant
  • 2007 Research Grant, Humanities Research Board of the British Academy. 
  • 2006 Conference Grant from the Humanities Research Board of the British Academy 
  • 2005 Conference Grant, Humanities Research Board of the British Academy and the Pump Priming Fund, University of York. 
  • 2002 Conference Grants from the Humanities Research Board of the British Academy; Trevelyan Fund and the Centre for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Cambridge University.

  • 2001-2002 Research Grant, Humanities Research Board of the British Academy. 


Helen Sutcliffe, Towards a New Cultural-Ecological History of Linen in the Low Countries 1500-1800, in progress.

Katerina Georgoulia, '"The Physicality of Rubens" Human Bodies: Visuality and Medicine in Early Modern Europe.' PhD Completed 2014.

Sophie Littlewood, "Elizabethan Armour and the Fashioning of Masculinity." PhD Completed 2016.

Rebekah Lee, "The Matter of Nobility: Materially Constituting the Arenberg Family Body in the Habsburg Netherlands 1520-1620." Wolfson-funded. PhD Completed 2018.

Adam Sammut, 'The Dominican Church of St Paul in Antwerp c1608-1700.' Wrocah-funded. Completed 2021.

Abigail Jubb, “More than Material: The Cultural Production of the Female Body in the British Fashion Industry circa 1850-1930.” Wolfson-funded. In Progress.

Cristina Alfson Barreiro, “The Vuillamy: Luxury Trade in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Beyond”. In Progress.

Thesis Advisory Panel Member:

Robyn Hayes. In Progress
Midori Kono. In Progress
Elizabeth Waring. In Progress

Helena Cox. Completed
Caitlin Doley. Completed
Bogdan Cornea. Completed
Maria Anna Aristova. Completed
Emily Moore. Completed

Cordula welcomes enquiries from those interested in doing research on any aspect of the material and visual cultures of the early modern Low Countries including the history of dress up to 1945.


Selected publications

  • 'Matter over Mind: The Resurrected Body in Rubens’ ‘Great Last Judgement’', in R. La Delfa and R. Sordato and V. Viola (eds),  Sovrabbondanza nel Barocco Atti del convegno tenutosi a Palermo il 22 Giugno 2018 (Siké Edizioni, 2018), p. 248-287.
  • Rubens and the Human Body. Edited by Cordula van Wyhe, (Brepols: Turnhout, 2018).
  • "The Fabric of Female Rule in Leone Leoni's Statue of Mary of Hungary, C. 1549-1556", in Meredith Hale (ed.),Cambridge and the Study of Netherlandish Art (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016), 135-168
  • "The sartorial ambitions of the artist and his wives: Identity and attire in Rubens´ family portraits", in ex. cat. Rubens in private. The master portrays his family, Rubens House, Antwerp 2015, (Thames and Hudson, London, 2015), pp. 99-119.
  • Margaret Van Noort: Spiritual Writings of Sister Margaret of the Mother of God (1635-1643), ed. and intr. by Cordula van Wyhe, transl. by Susan Smith with an essay by Paul Arblaster, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, vol. 39 (Arizona: Iter and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), 2015.
  • “The Making and Meaning of the Monastic Habit Spanish Habsburg Courts”, in José-Luis Colomer (ed. et al), Spanish Fashion at the Courts of Early Modern Europe (Madrid and London: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica and Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2014), vol. 1, 251-291 (in Spanish and English edition). Also published in an abridged version in Early Modern Habsburg Women. Transnational Contexts, Cultural Conflicts, Dynastic Continuities, edited by Anne J. Cruz and Maria Galli Stampino (Farnham: Ashgate Publishers, 2013), 243-275.
  • “Piety, Play and Power: Constructing the Ideal Sovereign Body in Early Portraits of Isabel Clara Eugenia (1568-1603)”, in Isabella Clara Eugenia: Female Sovereignty at the Courts in Madrid and Brussels, ed. and intr. by Cordula van Wyhe (Madrid and London: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica and Paul Holberton Publishing, 2012), intr. and 88-130 (in Spanish and English edition).
  • “Death and Immortality in Rubens’ Ildefonso Altarpiece”, in Ralf Georg Bogner, ed. et al, Leichabdankung und Trauerarbeit. Zur Bewältigung von Tod und Vergänglichkeit im Zeitalter des Barock, Daphnis. Zeitschrift für Mittlere Deutsche Literatur, 38 (2009), 217-276.
  • “After Teresa: Mysticism in Seventeenth-Century Europe”, in Approaches to Teaching Teresa of Ávila and the Spanish Mystics, ed. by Alison Weber (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009), 83-95.
  • “The ‘Idea Vitæ Teresianæ’ (1686): The Teresian Mystic Life and its Visual Representation in the Southern Netherlands”, in Female Monasticism in Early Modern Europe. An Interdisciplinary View, ed. by Cordula van Wyhe (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishers, 2008), intr. and 173-211.
  • “Reformulating the Cult of Scherpenheuvel: Marie de’Médicis and the Regina Pacis Statue in Cologne”, The Seventeenth-Century Journal, 22/1 (2007): 41-74.
  • “Archducal Leisure and Peasant Pleasure: New Aspects of Jan Brueghel’s Peasant Weddings in the Prado Museum”, Münchner Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 56 (2005): 83-105.
  • “Piety and Politics in the Royal Convent of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Brussels 1607-1646”, Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, 100/1 (2005): 457-487.
  • “Between Chastity and Passion: The Impact of the French exiles on the Cult of Courtly Love at the Brussels Court in the 1630s”, Passion, Affekt und Leidenschaft in der frühen Neuzeit, ed. by Anselm Steiger, Wolfenbütteler Arbeiten zur Barockforschung, 11 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz in Kommission, 2005), 951-980.
  •  “Court and Convent: the Infanta Isabella and her Franciscan Confessor Andres de Soto”, Sixteenth Century Journal, 35/2 (2004): 411-445.
  • Portraicts des SS. Vertvs de la Vierge contemplees par feue S.A.S.M. Isabelle Clere Evgenie Infante d’Espagne, Jean Terrier, Pin 1635, with a critical introduction by Cordula van Wyhe (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, Department of French, 2002).
  • “Court, City and Countryside: Jan Brueghel’s Peasant Weddings As Images of Social Unity Under Archducal Sovereignty”, in: [exh. cat.] Albert and Isabella, ed. by Luc Duerloo and Werner Thomas, Brussels, Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis and Madrid, Prado Museum, 1998 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), 151-160.



Cordula has a strong interest in nurturing the teacher-student community via a collaborative venture of co-discovery, using novel methods that enable students of all abilities to attain the best results. An important element in this is through object-focused teaching. Her modules are designed to inspire students to understand how visual and tactile engagement with form and its historical context create meaning. To facilitate this, she maintains positive departmental relationships with numerous heritage institutions. She also heads the Digital Museum of Dress Accessories (DMDA) which has it own extensive handling collection.

  • Interwoven: Fashion and Clothing Cultures in Art History
  • Power Dressing in Early Modern Europe


  • Rubens
  • Early Modern Habsburg Women and their Material Legacy
  • Fashion: Theories, Materials and Images (1540-1940)


External activities

Invited talks and conferences

  • The Parasol: Aspects of Victorian Throw-Away Culture and Sustainable Fashion Practices, Victorian Sustainability Study Day, Senate House, University of London, 10 June, 2014.
  • Re-Thinking Sculptures of Baby Jesus in Habsburg Royal Convents, Court culture exchanges between the Iberian Peninsula and the Habsburg Netherlands (XVth-XVIth centuries), International Conference, Instituto Moll & Universidad Rey Juan Carlos & University of Silesia, Aranjuez, 25-27 October 2023.
  • Victorian Parasols: Scientists, Artisans, Historians and Curators in Conversation, Vanessa Jones and Cordula van Wyhe at Art Bio Matters (ABM) International Conference, Institute of Fine Arts, New York, 20 July 2023.
  • Fashioning Displaced Identities: Anthony's van Dyck as Portraitist of the French Exiles, Dressing a Picture: Reimagining the Court Portrait 1500-1800, International Conference.  Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, 7 May 2021.
  • Engineered through Fashion, Paint and Learning: Clever Women Key note speech. Portraits and Poses. Representations of Female Intellectual Authority, Agency and Authorship in Early Modern and Enlightenment Europe, University of Leuven, 21 March, 2019.
  • Matter over Mind: The Resurrection Body in Rubens' 'Great Last Judgement La "sovrabbondanza" nel Barocco. Simposio Internazionale, Pontificia Facolta di Teologica Palermo, 23 June 2018.
  • Between Cloister and Cradle: Seventeenth-Century Spanish Polychrome Sculptures of Baby Jesus The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 27 June 2016.
  • Temporalities and Marginalities in Rubens´s Drawing of Hélène Fourment, The Courtauld Gallery A conversation between the history of art and the history of dress. Hélène Fourment’s Dress and its Representation, Courtauld Institute, London, 2 April 2015.
  • The Fabric of Female Rule in Leone Leoni’s Statue of Mary of Hungary, c. 1555 Considering Women in Early Modern Europe, Rubenianum, University of Antwerp, 29 May 2015.
  • Pain as a Sacred Force: Spanish Spirituality and Royal Physicians in the Royal Convent of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Brussels (1635-1648) VIII seminario Internacional “La Corte en Europa” Espiritualidad e ideología política en los diferentes espacios cortesanos de la Monarquía Hispana (siglos xvii-xviii), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid,  13 November 2014.
  • Preliminary Thoughts on materiality and spirituality in the works of Francisco de Zurbarán 
    Conference on The Paintings of the Spanish Golden Age: The Collections of County Durham, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 24 October 2014.

Public Engagement: Recent Public Talks and Workshops

  • Accessorizing the Flapper Girl: Fashion between the Old, the New and the Global in Interwar Europe, Public Talk Wentworth House, 19 October 2023.
  • Fashion History in Your Hands’, Handling Workshop for All Ages, Spencer Wing, Cannon Hall Museum, 12 August 2023.
  • What can we learn from the Eighteenth-Century Fashion for Buckles?, Looking at Georgian Fashion from the Inside Out. One Object Many Voices Public Event with Guest Speakers, Fairfax House, 12 July 2023.
  • Parasols: Class, Consumption and Global Materials, Encounters with the Materiality of Victorian Parasols and Walking Canes. One Object Many Voices Public Event with Guest Speakers, King’s Manor, 27 June 2023.
  • Modernity and Make-Up: Big Stories in Small Powder Compacts, York Talks, Ron Cooke Hub, 11 January 2023. 
  • Enamel in Dress Accessories: From Jewellery Craft to Mass-Production, British Society of Enamellers Meeting, 10 June 2022. 
  • Handling History, Public Interactive Workshop, York Festival of Ideas, Ron Cooke Hub, 18 June 2022.
  • Digital Museum of Dress Accessories (DMDA), ‘Public Engagement Event’, Museum Garden York, 4 August 2021. 
  • The Women in Rubens’s Life, Nils Buettner and Cordula van Wyhe in Conversation, Wallace Collection, London, 23 June 2021.  
Cordula Van Wyhe

Contact details

Professor Cordula van Wyhe
Professor of Art History
Department of History of Art

Tel: 01904 322942
Fax: 01904 323427

Current office hours are available to view here