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Dr Cordula van Wyhe
Senior Lecturer



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

Cordula is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art. Before joining the History of Art Department at York in 2005, she 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.

Departmental roles

On Research Leave Autumn Term 2021


Research group(s)

Conferences Organised


  • 2020-21 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. 


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”. Co-Supervision with Dr Richard Johns. In Progress.

Christiane Matt, "The Myths of the Origins of Architecture Reconsidered". In progress. Co-supervision with Teresa Stoppani.

Thesis Advisory Panel Member:

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

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 relations to Spain and France, and the history of dress.


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.



  • The Power of the Real in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Painting and Sculpture
  • The Self-Fashioning of Rembrandt
  • Interwoven: Fashion and Clothing Cultures in Art History
  • Vermeer in Focus

Student trips 2017/18


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


Study Trip to Amsterdam, Rembrandt Module, March 2014

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

  • '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.
  • Fashioning the Intellectual and the Social in Rubens’ ‘The Honeysuckle Bower’ (c. 1609)  Symposium on (Un)dressing Rubens. Fashion and Painting in Seventeenth-century Antwerp, Rubenianum, Antwerp, 9 May 2014.
  • 'The Fabric of Female Rule in Leone Leoni's Statue of Mary of Hungary, 1555' Research Seminar, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, 5 March 2013. Also delivered at the "VII Seminario Internacional "La Corte en Europa": la doble lealtad entre el servicio al Rey y la obligación a la Iglesia", Instituto Universitario La corte en Europa (IULCE). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 25 October, 2013.
  • 'Swagger and Smirk: Patrician Empowerment and Rembrandt's Nightwatch', Research Seminar, National Gallery, London, 3 December 2012.
  • ‘Finding Sister Margaret: An Overview of Approaches and Methodologies’. Presenter and Chair of Session: Female Convent Writing and its Interdisciplinary Potential: The Case of Sister Margaret of the Mother of God and Her Diary (1635-1637), GEMELA (Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer en España y las Américas (pre-1800), Conference, University of Portland, Oregon, 13 September 2012
  • 'The Topography of the Kitchen, Medicine and Spirituality in the Diaries of Sister Margaret of the Mother of God (Brussels,1635-1637)', Key Note Speaker, Catholic Lives. Catholic Culture in the Early Modern World, Conference, St Edmund Hall, Oxford, 18 May 2012. This paper was also presented at the Research Seminar of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, University of York, 12 December, 2012.
  • 'Being Naked and Being Clothed: The Physicality of Female Piety in the Diaries of Sister Margaret of the Mother of God (1635-1637)', International Seminar, 'Clothing and the Culture of Appearances in Early Modern Europe: Research Perspectives', Fundación Carlos Amberes and Museo del Traje, Madrid, 2-4 February 2012.
  • Humour and Homosociability in Rembrandt’s Nightwatch’, Speelman Conference in Netherlandish Art, Wolfson College Cambridge, 23 September 2011.
  • The Adolescent Female Body: Piety, Play and Pedagogy at the Spanish Habsburg Courts’, Children and their Bodies at Court, 1200-1800', International Colloquium, Queen Mary College, London, 3 March 2011.
  • 'Franciscan Spirituality and Royal Sovereignty: Aspects of Religious Dress at the Spanish Habsburg Court'
    Clothing Communities in Renaissance Europe, The Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Venice, 9 April 2010
  • 'Representing Religious Dress in Early Modern Spain'  Early Modern History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, 10 November 2008 and Departmenal Research Seminar, Institute of Art History and Theory, University of Essex, 20 November 2008
  • 'Devotional Objects in the Collection of Marie de' Medicis, Queen Mother of France ' Symposium 'Collecting & Display 100BC to AD1700. Women Collectors' London, Institute of Historical Research, Tuesday 8 July 2008
  • 'Nouvelle spiritualité, nouvelle éducation? Les monastères des carmélitaines dans les Pays Bas méridionaux d'après Thérèse d'Avila.' L'éducation religieuse des femmes dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux après le concile de Trente (XVI-XVII siècles), Symposium, Catholic University, Louvain (7 March 2008)
  • 'Death and Immortality in Rubens' Ildefonso Altarpiece' Leichabdankung und Trauerarbeit. Zur Bewältigung von Tod und Vergänglichkeit im Zeitalter des Barock, Conference, Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek, Emden (23 October 2007) and Low Countries Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London 30 March 2008

Contact details

Dr Cordula van Wyhe
Senior Lecturer
Department of History of Art

Tel: 01904 322942
Fax: 01904 323427

Current office hours are available to view here