I teach the History of Art at Oxford Brookes. I work on Renaissance Italy, and the key themes of my research are gender, sexuality, the body and spirituality. Previously I taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Lincoln. Alongside my research and teaching I am active as a curator, including as lead co-curator of the Madonnas & Miracles exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
I work at the intersection of history and the history of art, using visual and material sources (images and objects) alongside written ones to explore the social, cultural and religious history of early modern Italy. I am particularly interested in interrelationships between practices and beliefs relating to the body, religion and spirituality, gender, sexuality, material culture and medicine in this period. For example, early modern attitudes to the body and its gendering were shaped by medical thinking, but also by the representation of the human form in images. Other research interests include childhood and adolescence, beauty and nascent concepts of race. My first book, which will be published with OUP, considers the development of a curiously androgynous ideal of beauty in the work of Leonardo da Vinci and artists working alongside him in Milan, and is titled: Beautiful Bodies: Sexuality, Spirituality and Gender in Leonardo’s Milan.