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Jessica Richardson

Lecturer

Profile

BA (Gonzaga University), MA (University of Washington), MA and PhD (Courtauld Institute of Art)

Jessica N. Richardson is Lecturer in Early Modern Art. Her research and teaching centres on Italian art, c.1300–1550, and its wider transcultural contexts, with particular focus on materiality and aesthetic practices; the links of sacred presence, the supernatural and representation; the performance and agency of art; the reception of ‘medieval’ images in the early modern period. She received her BA in History and Italian Studies from Gonzaga University, an MA in Renaissance Art History at the University of Washington, and an MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Before joining the department in September 2021, she was Assistant to the Director and Senior Researcher at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in Florence, Italy; Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and Amhanson Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.

Research

Overview

  • Materiality and the agency of matter
  • Temporality
  • Magic, the supernatural and the miraculous image (image/relic)
  • Image, ritual space and the performance of script
  • The reception, reworking and display of ‘medieval’ art, from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century

Jessica’s published work and research engages with a broad range of media and theoretical issues, such as temporality in the recontextualization of medieval images in the early modern period; intermediality and the mobility of images (cloth banners, painted panels and frescoes) in the definition of ritual spaces; the performative dynamics of text and the aesthetics and agency of marble. Her books include Remembering the Middle Ages in Early Modern Italy (co-edited with Lorenzo Pericolo; Turnhout, 2015) and The Aesthetics of Marble from Late Antiquity to the Present (co-edited with Dario Gabmoni and Gerhard Wolf; Munich and Chicago, 2021). She is also a contributing author of the collaborative volume, Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice: Lives of the Bolognese Painters. Volume One: Early Bolognese Painters, ed. Elizabeth Cropper (London, 2012). Her forthcoming special issue of RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics titled Fashioned from Holy Matter (co-edited with Annette Hoffmann; 2021) explores, in a cross-cultural and interreligious perspective, images created from materials considered sacred, from icons crafted in blood and earth, to Chinese paintings on Bodhi tree leaves and Native American stone sculpture. Her article, ‘Beneath Ground’, analyses the artistic potentials of wood deemed sacred, questioning the ontological relationships between the values ascribed to materials and image-making. 

Projects

Jessica is completing her monograph, The Prehistory and Making of Miraculous Images in Bologna, c.1100–1650, which presents a corpus of ‘medieval’ images that were deemed miraculous, focusing on their transformations from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, considering ideas of authorship and sacred presence, temporality and the early modern perception of medieval visual culture. Related to this work, another project looks at the materials of art and the supernatural, c.1300–1550, reflecting on notions of art and making vis-à-vis the natural environment, including images that appear in trees or stones, as well as plein-air rituals and artworks displayed in nature.

Jessica is currently developing modules related to magic, the miraculous and the supernatural in early modern art, as well as on the transcultural entanglements of Italian art from the fourteenth to the early sixteenth century. She welcomes students interested in these topics and/or in late medieval and early modern art in Italy.

Publications

Selected publications

Edited volumes

  • Fashioned from Holy Matter, special issues of RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 75/76 (forthcoming 2021). Co-edited with Annette Hoffmann.
  • The Aesthetics of Marble from Late Antiquity to the Present (Munich: Hirmer; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021). Co-edited with Dario Gamboni and Gerhard Wolf.
  • Remembering the Middle Ages in Early Modern Italy (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). Co-edited with Lorenzo Pericolo.
  • Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina pittrice (1678): Lives of the Bolognese Painters. Volume One: The Early Bolognese Painters, ed. Elizabeth Cropper (New York: Harvey Miller, 2012). Contributing author.

Articles and book chapters

  • ‘Beneath Ground: Image-Making and the Poetics of Wood in Thirteenth-Century Italy’, in Fashioned from Holy Matter, ed. Annette Hoffmann and Jessica N. Richardson, special issue of RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 75/76 (forthcoming 2021).
  • ‘Editorial: Holy Matter and the Semantics of Image-Making’, with Annette Hoffmann, in Fashioned from Holy Matter, ed. Annette Hoffmann and Jessica N. Richardson, special issue of RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 75/76 (forthcoming 2021).
  • ‘“From the Highest Heaven”: A Renaissance Pax and a Vision in Marble’, in The Aesthetics of Marble from Late Antiquity to the Present, ed. Dario Gamboni, Gerhard Wolf and Jessica N. Richardson (Munich: Hirmer; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021), 90–1
  • ‘Through Water and Stone: The Brescia Sarcophagus Fragment with the Crossing of the Red Sea’, in Exodus: Border Crossings in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Texts and Images, ed. Annette Hoffmann (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019), 49–75.
  • Visibile parlare: Inscribed Prayers, Apotropaic Aphorisms and Monumental Mobile Images in Fourteenth-Century Bologna’, in Sacred Scripture / Sacred Space. The Interlacing of Real Places and Conceptual Spaces in Medieval Art and Architecture, ed. Tobias Frese, Wilfried E. Keil and Kristina Krüger, Materiale Textkulturen 23, University of Heidelberg (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019), 351–86.
  • ‘Trecento Artists and Miraculous Images: Simone di Filippo at Bologna’, in Art and Experience in Trecento Italy, ed. Holly Flora and Sarah Wilkins (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 243–
  • ‘Miraculous Images and Authorship: Lippo di Dalmasio and the Portal of San Procolo, Bologna’, in Saints, Miracles and the Image: Healing Saints and Miraculous Images in the Renaissance, ed. Sandra Cardarelli and Laura Fenelli (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), 75–93.
  • ‘Between the Limousin and the Holy Land: Prisoners, Performance and the Portal of San Leonardo at Siponto’, Gesta 54, no. 2 (2015): 165–94.
  • ‘Medieval Column Crosses in Early Modern Bologna’, in Remembering the Middle Ages in Early Modern Italy, ed. Lorenzo Pericolo and Jessica N. Richardson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 193–229.
  • ‘Introduction’, in Remembering the Middle Ages in Early Modern Italy, ed. Lorenzo Pericolo and Jessica N. Richardson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015) 11–18.
  • ‘Patrons and Property in Twelfth-Century Abruzzo: The Bronze Panels and the Portal of San Clemente a Casauria’, The Journal of the Walters Art Museum 68/69 (2010/2011) [2012]: 31–52.
  • ‘The Brotherhood of Saints Leonard and Francis: Banners, Sacred Topography and Confraternal Identity in Assisi’, Art History 34, no. 5 (2011): 884–913.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Art and Patronage in 15th-Century Florence
  • Themes in Early Modern Art

Graduate

  • The Domestic Interior in Italy, c.1400–1550

External Activity

Conferences and panels (selected)

  • Coordinator and co-organiser of the KHI+ Lecture Series, an international forum on the futures of Art History, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (January to July 2021)
  • Co-organiser of the session ‘Matter, Image and Place in Medieval Tuscany’, International Medieval Congress, Institute of Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (July 2019)
  • Co-Organiser of the international conference Fashioned from Holy Matter: A Workshop on the Semantics of Image-Making, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (July 2017)
  • Co-organiser of the session (four panels) ‘Remembering the Middle Ages in Early Modern Italy’, sponsored by CASVA, 58th annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Washington, DC (March 2012)
  • Co-organiser of the session (two panels): ‘Representing Poverty in the Middle Ages: Charitable Piety and Holy Models’, sponsored by Giotto’s Circle (Courtauld Institute of Art), International Medieval Congress, Institute of Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (July 2011)
  • Co-organiser of the session ‘Confraternities and Representation’, 56th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Venice (April 2010)

Conference papers and invited talks (selected)

  • Natural Calamities, Banners and Litany in Fourteenth-and Fifteenth-Century Florence,’ Giotto’s Circle, Courtauld Institute of Art (May 2021)
  • Voices Within and Beyond the Picture: Banners and the Performance of Script in Medieval Italy’, symposium: Écritures exposées, écritures dans l’espace: la fabrique des espaces “publics”, part of SCRIPTA PLS consortium, Centre de recherches historiques, École des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris (November 2020)
  • Wood – Image – Holy Matter in Fra Angelico’s Florence’, lecture for the Study Day of the exhibition Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (April 2018)
  • When Sacred Substance Matters’, international conference Fashioned from Holy Matter: A Workshop on the Semantics of Image-Making, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (July 2017)
  • Visibile parlare, Votive Inscriptions and Monumental Mobile Images in Fourteenth-Century Bologna’, Sakrale Schrifträume, subproject of Materiale Textkulturen, University of Heidelberg, (November 2016)
  • Trecento Artists and Miraculous Images: The Case of Bologna’, Andrew Ladis Memorial Trecento Conference, New Orleans (November 2016)
  • A Lukan Legend and a Trecento Panel: The Invention of Two Images Extra Moenia, Bologna’, International Medieval Congress, Institute of Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (July 2017)
  • Absent Body, Double Bodies: Visualizing Bologna’s Civic Cults’, conference paper, Holy Bodies, Sacred Space, international conference, Department of History of Art, University of York (May 2015)
  • Framing Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore’, 61st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Humboldt Universität, Berlin (March 2015)
  • Medici Collecting: ‘Exotica’ in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence’, talk (held at Palazzo Pitti), Transnational Florence, 11th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference, Gonzaga-in-Florence (February 2015)
  • Trecento Images in Seicento Bologna: Towards an Aesthetics of the Miraculous’, lecture, joint Medieval and Renaissance Work-in-Progress Seminar, Courtauld Institute of Art (January 2015)
  • Sacred Wood / Holy Tavola and the Memory of Miracles in Bologna’, Labor, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (May 2014)
  • Concluding remarks, conference Diálogos globales: el renacimiento italiano visto desde América Latin / Global dialogues: The Italian Renaissance as seen from Latin America, representative of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia (October 2013)
  • Lippo di Dalmasio: Medieval Artist par excellence or Counter-Reformation Painter of Miraculous Images?’, Giotto’s Circle, Courtauld Institute of Art (March 2013)
  • The Madonna della Vittoria and the Miraculous Image in Medieval and Renaissance Bologna’, conference paper, Departments of History and History of Art, University of Warwick, Pesaro Papafava, Venice (December 2013)
  • Painting in Late-Medieval Bologna and Francesco Cavazzoni’s Miraculous Madonnas (1608)’, Fellows’ Seminar, Villa I Tatti, Florence (November 2012)
  • Monumental Medieval Stone Crosses in Early Modern Bologna’, 58th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Washington, DC (March 2012)
  • Piety towards Prisoners: Saint Leonard of Noblat and the Augustinian Canons’, International Medieval Congress, Institute of Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (July 2011)

Contact details

Dr Jessica Richardson
Lecturer
History of Art
Room V/N/125

Office hours:
Thursdays 13:30-15:30. Please email Jessica to arrange a meeting.