Job title: Professor of Early Modern Art History, History of Art

Role: Head of Subject Area - History of Art

Tel: +44 (0) 131 650 4119


Office address: Room 0.56, Higgitt Gallery, Hunter Building

Contact time: Wednesday, 11:30am - 1:30pm

Research outputs: Prof Carol Richardson on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Carol M Richardson specialises in institutional patronage, particularly that of the Early Modern period. Her research to date has been primarily concerned with the papal city, Rome, and the ways in which the patronage of individuals combine to create corporate identity. A particular feature in all things Roman is the embeddedness of the long history of the city in the works of art and architecture created there.

Being a native Scot, Carol took both her degrees close to home, at the University of St Andrews. She went on to teach at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and The Open University in Milton Keynes, moving to Edinburgh in 2012. She is passionate about the History of Art as the ultimate interdisciplinary subject area, which makes it both inclusive and challenging. She believes it is an antidote to media attention on global crisis and humanity’s inhumanity as art often emerges from, comments on, sometimes resolves and almost always atones for some of our worst actions.

Carol teaches at all levels, including specialist courses:

  • How to Make Italian Renaissance Art (1400-1550)
  • Art of Catholic Reform (1534-1610)
  • Patronage of the Papal Court

She is currently collaborating with colleagues in the pre modern area to develop a new Masters programme: MSc Medieval and Renaissance World Art and Cultures.

Carol’s most recent books include Gilio's Dialogue on the Errors and Abuses of Painters (2018) in collaboration with Michael Bury and Lucy Byatt and Old Saint Peter’s, Rome (2013) which came out of a conference she co-organised in Rome. She has published two books on Renaissance cardinals: her monograph Reclaiming Rome (2009), which was described in reviews as ‘a milestone’ and ‘essential reading’, and The Possessions of a Cardinal (2011) co-edited with Mary Hollingsworth). 

She has also written for and edited widely-used text books, including the anthology of primary sources, Renaissance Art Reconsidered (Blackwell, 2006).

From October 2018 to June 2019 she is Paul Mellon Senior Fellow, completing her book, The Last English Catholic Church Remaining in the World: Art and Sacred Geography in the 1580s.

She has just finished a book chapter on the dress and regalia of early modern cardinals for the Brill Research Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal and an article on Andrea Sansovino for Sculpture Journal.

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Accepting applications.

  • Rome
  • Renaissance Art
  • Roman Catholic identity​
  • Cardinals and Popes