Dr Marie-Louise Lillywhite

  • Religious Reform and the Visual Arts
  • Artistic Alliances in Renaissance Italy
  • The Visual Culture of the Jesuit Missions in Asia 

My current research is primarily concerned with Venetian art in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. I am interested in how the visual was both exploited and regulated in Venice (and Italy more broadly) in the decades subsequent to the closure of the Council of Trent in 1563. My current monograph, Reforming Art in Renaissance Venice, examines how an era that on the one hand heralded a new climate of control of the visual, simultaneously harnessed the sensuous aspects of worship and confirmed the importance of ‘the beauty of holiness.’ I argue that artistic ‘reform’ was mostly fluid, and that far from being foisted on a reluctant public, it was generally instigated independent of ecclesiastical authorities (who had more pressing issues to concern themselves with), by both artists and a receptive laity.