Amanda Hilliam

Amanda Hilliam



Thesis title: The Imagined Made Real: The Interaction between Painting and Sculpture in the Work of Carlo Crivelli (c.1435–c.1495)

Start year: 2015


Research topic

It was in Italy, in the middle of the fifteenth century, when the highly influential concept that sculpture and painting were separate art forms began to be articulated coherently for the first time in the post-classical world (Alberti 1435). But, curiously, during this very period, a number of significant artists – most particularly Verrocchio and Michelangelo – moved between these art forms, and others who worked primarily in one of these media – including Donatello, Masaccio and Mantegna – were inspired by, and shaped their work, in relation to developments in the other. The paragone, or comparison of sculpture and painting, is a classic trope of scholarship concerning sixteenth-century Italian art. But the relationship seems to have been quite different in the fifteenth century, when the separation or differences between these two media was less clearly articulated.

This research project will attempt to build on the shifting paradigms of our understanding of the relationships between the ‘real’ space of sculpted relief and the imagined space of a painted scene, concentrating on one painter. Carlo Crivelli not only depicted sculpture in his paintings, but also used many three-dimensional elements as part of them. This makes his work an ideal candidate for this study, particularly his paintings for Ascoli Piceno, including for the churches of San Domenico and SS. Annunziata.

This research is funded by an AHRC collaborative doctoral award with the National Gallery.


Carlo Crivelli; paragone; painting; sculpture; gilding techniques; space; Alberti; Cennino Cennini; Mantegna; Donatello; Agostino di Duccio; Renaissance Studies; materiality; technical art history

Academic and professional training

  • M.St. History of Art and Visual Culture, University of Oxford, 2013, Distinction
  • OPAL award for the Italian Language, C1/2 CEFR level, University of Oxford, 2013
  • BA (Hons) History of Art with a year in Florence, University of Bristol, 2010, First Class