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Dr Elsje van Kessel


tel +44 01334 462374
fax +44 01334 463949
research@st-andrews - profile | publications


Elsje joined the School in 2012, having 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.

Elsje van Kessel welcomes potential postgraduate students with interests in early modern southern European art, including the history of use, display and collecting, portraiture, gender, the circulation of things and object biographies.

Publications and activities