Jill Burke is a leading international expert in Italian Renaissance Art. Her research and teaching focuses on the representation and understanding of the body in Italy and Europe from around 1400-1600 and she has published widely in this field. Her latest monograph, The Italian Renaissance Nude, will be published with Yale University Press in 2018, and soon after an exhibition on the Renaissance Nude that Jill was involved in organising will take place at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, then the Royal Academy in London. Jill won the Philip Leverhulme prize for her "outstanding" contribution to art history, and has also held a fellowship at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti, Florence).
Previous to working on subjects relating to the body, Jill's work has focused on topics relating to social identity and the visual arts. Her interest in periodization led to her edited book, Rethinking the High Renaissance (Routledge, 2012); her interest in patronage and identity was discussed in her first monograph which was based on extensive archival research - Changing Patrons: Social Identity and the Visual Arts in Renaissance Florence (2004). Perhaps her happiest research moment was stumbling across a previously unknown scribbled note on the back of a receipt from 1509 describing a robot lion made by Leonardo da Vinci. The subsequent article "Meaning and Crisis in the Early Sixteenth Century" was published in Oxford Art Journal (2006).
In addition to her own research, Jill is the Associate Editor of Renaissance Studies, the leading UK Journal for interdisciplinary research in this field. She has responsibility for Special Issues and is happy to discuss topics with potential guest editors.
Jill's teaching is directly derived from her research. She currently teaches one 3rd year course "Looking at Women in Renaissance Art" that considers women both as makers and as people represented in European art 1400-1600. Her fourth-year honours class, "The Renaissance Body" is an interdisciplinary feast of nudes, monsters and innards, considering how the body in representation reflects and informs understandings of corporality in this period. At MSc level, "Art and Sexuality in Renaissance Italy" considers the role of homoeroticism, courtesan culture and desire in Renaissance visual representation.
Jill's groundbreaking and politically-engaged research seeks to reformulate the understanding of the representation of the body in Italian (and wider European) early modern culture, c. 1400-1600. Her current work focuses on the relationship between visual culture and the depiction of the naked body. Having finished her monograph on the Italian Renaissance Nude (the only book on this subject in English, published 2018), she is now considering how images of nudes affected the way people understood the health and beauty of their own and others' bodies. She is working with a group of international scholars turning their focus to the surfaces of the body and has recently started publishing in this area.
PhD Supervision Topics
Italian Renaissance Visual Culture
Gender and the Body
Representation in Renaissance medical texts
Renaissance body modification - tattoos, cosmetics, shaping the body
Topics relating to patronage (especially in Florence) and social identity