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Research at St Andrews

Elsje van Kessel


Elsje van Kessel
Postal address:
School of Art History
79 North Street
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 462374

Research overview

Elsje van Kessel completed her Ph.D. at Leiden University, the Netherlands, in 2011. She is the author of The Lives of Paintings: Presence, Agency and Likeness in Venetian Art of the Sixteenth-Century (De Gruyter, 2017). She has received numerous fellowships, grants and awards: among others, an annual stipend at the Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art, grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Museum, and, most recently, a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Elsje’s research is broadly concerned with the viewing, use and display of early modern art. In her monograph The Lives of Paintings, she examines how and why people in Titian’s Venice treated certain paintings and other works of art as living beings. Ongoing research focuses on the art of display in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Venice, Paris, and Lisbon. Another major research project looks at the circulation of Asian material culture between Portugal, England and Holland c. 1600. Further research and teaching interests include portraiture, early modern art theory, early museums, the visual arts in literature, and theories of presence and the agency of things.

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