Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts - Christie's Education Symposium

Mapping the void: Agency of women within dynastic strategies between the 13th and 16th centuries

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Fees: $235.00


The session aims at mapping the presence of lesser-known women patrons and their role in determining artifacts and artistic episodes between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Rather than considering well-known cases of female agency – such as Theodora Palaiologina, Joanna I of Naples or Eleonora of Toledo – this session focuses on little studied women and their role within marital and inter-dynastic strategies. Frequently overshadowed by powerful men, husbands and sons, where can we look in order to ‘map this void’? Within the boundaries of marriage, where can we find female agency? In many occasions, the lack of historical sources regarding and contextualizing women lives has been a limit to further investigation. This session aims to challenge this by examining narratives frequently overlooked: What do we learn from textual and visual evidence linked to the role of female donors as wives or widows of relevant male individuals, or women who were part of influential and notable families? What can be said of the way in which these women negotiated agency and power in their direct and indirect patronage acts? How should we interpret artistic production dedicated to these women but not directly commissioned by them?


Claudia Daniotti

Andrea Mattiello
Maria Alessia Rossi

Lana Sloutsky

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

Christie's Education New York
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10020

Claudia Daniotti is an art historian specialising in Renaissance art, with an emphasis on the classical tradition and the transmission of iconographic motifs from antiquity to the present times. An Associate Lecturer in Renaissance Art, Design and Culture at Bath Spa University, Claudia gained her BA (Hons) and MA from the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, and in 2016 completed her PhD in art history at the Warburg Institute.

Claudia’s research interests include the representation of Death and macabre allegories in medieval and early modern Europe and the reception of classical antiquity at the court of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in Rimini. Over the last years, she has mainly been researching and writing on the posthumous life of Alexander the Great, focusing in particular on the changing reception of the myth of Alexander in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian art. In her PhD dissertation, Claudia examined a little-explored aspect of this changing tradition: the transition from the medieval imagery of Alexander as a legendary, almost fairy-tale hero, to the historical portrait of him as a virtuous prince and military commander that took shape in the Renaissance.

Alongside pursuing her research, which have resulted in a number of publications and talks, Claudia has also worked in museums, both in the education and curatorial departments.


Andrea Mattiello is a Byzantine Art and Contemporary Art historian. He received in 2001 a MA (Hons) in History of Architecture and in 2004 a MA (Hons) in Visual Arts at the Università IUAV of Venice. In 2007 he received a PhD in Theory and History of Art at the School for Advanced Studies Ca’ Foscari/IUAV in Venice. His interests on the 19th and 20th centuries range from the contribution of photography in the History of Architecture, to the development of 20th century Performance Art. He has been the recipient of a three-years College Scholarship, at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies - University of Birmingham, to conduct research for a PhD - perspective submission December 2017 - in Byzantine Art History on the developments of 14th/15th-century artistic production in Mystras in light of the dynastic and foreign policy of the Palaiologan court.

As a scholar he has published and has given papers on the use of photography for the History of Architecture, on performative practices in the United States and on Byzantine Art History. He has conducted research at the International Centre for Architectural Studies "Andrea Palladio" in Vicenza and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has lectured on Contemporary Art at the Università IUAV of Venice and on Byzantine Art and History at the University of Birmingham.


Maria Alessia Rossi gained her BA in History of Art from ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome and her MA from The Courtauld Institute of Art. She was awarded her PhD in Byzantine History of Art from The Courtauld in April 2017. Her thesis concerns the development and proliferation of Christ’s Miracle Cycle in monumental decoration between the years 1280-1330 in the Byzantine Empire and the Serbian territories.

Maria Alessia Rossi is currently the Samuel H. Kress Postdoctoral Researcher at the Index of Christian Art in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. Over the last years, she has taught at an undergraduate and postgraduate level at The Courtauld, and worked for adult education institutions in London. She is the co-organiser of the research project A Severed Bond? Exploring Fourteenth-Century Art Across the Eastern and Western Christian World, in collaboration with the University of York. She is a former editorial member and co-editor-in-chief of immediations, The Courtauld Journal for Postgraduate Research.


Lana Sloutsky received her Ph.D. from the History of Art and Architecture Department at Boston University in May 2017. Her dissertation, Quasi Alterum Byzantium: The Preservation of Memory Through Identity, and Culture by Aristocratic Byzantine Women, 1440-1600, analyzes a series of interconnected case studies of Byzantine women that actively preserved Byzantine identity and culture after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. To complete this project, she received multiple grants which allowed her to conduct research across Eastern and Western Europe. She has presented her work at many national and international conferences, including meetings of the Renaissance Society of America, the College Art Association, the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, and others. Her essay “Moving Women and Their Moving Objects: Zoe (Sophia) Palaiologina and Anna Notaras as Cultural Translators,” will be published as part of a forthcoming Brill series titled Moving Women, Moving Objects: 300-1500. Currently, she is revising her dissertation for publication and working to create a companion website. In addition, she works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she has led lectures and courses for over ten years. She teaches art history at several Boston-area institutions, including the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Hellenic College of the Holy Cross. She also serves as the editor of the H-Medieval digital platform.

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