BA, PhD (Courtauld, University of London) 

Contact details:

The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House
London WC2R 0RN


Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 2189

Fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 2410


Dr Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate at The Courtauld Institute of Art, receiving her PhD in 1980. She has taught at The Courtauld since 1977. She was appointed a Reader in the History of Art in 2001.

Joanna Cannon served as Head of the Classical, Byzantine and Medieval Section of The Courtauld Institute from 2004 to 2008, and as Chair of the Board of Examiners from 2006 to 2008.  She is a member of the editorial board of Art History. She is convenor of the discussion group Giotto’s Circle; was co-organiser of the workshop and web pages Art, Architecture and the Indulgence for The Courtauld Institute Research Forum; and is local organiser of the annual lecture ‘ICMA at The Courtauld’. She is a trustee of the Caroline Villers Research Fellowship, which promotes research in the field of Technical Art History. Together with Aviva Burnstock and Caroline Campbell she directs the project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a research-based website, investigating technical aspects of the works of the Master of the Fogg Pietà/ Maestro di Figline across international collections.  She is currently preparing a book-length study provisionally entitled Religious Poverty, Visual Riches: Art in the Dominican Churches of Central Italy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries.


research Interests


Art and Architecture of Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with particular interest in:

  • Evaluating  the visual as a historical source
  • Assessing the impact of historical circumstances on the formal development of art
  • Investigating methods of explaining and disseminating information concerning the physical characteristics of works of art gathered through technical analysis


courses TAUGHT in 2011-2012

  • MA (jointly with Professor John Lowden and Dr. Janet Robson): City of God/City of Man: Paris and Siena in the late Middle Ages

Titles of PhD theses Supervised


  • Framing the Subject: Representation and the Body in Late-Medieval Italy. (1992)
  • Studies in Marian Imagery: Servite Spirituality and the Art of Siena (c.1261-c.1328). (1992)
  • The Madonna of Humility and the Virgin Lactans in Italy, Metz, and Avignon in the 13th and 14th Centuries. (1996)
  • Art and Devotion in Late-Medieval and Renaissance Florence: The Relics of Sts.
  • Zenobius and John the Baptist (1998) .
    Co-Supervisor with Professor Michael Hirst)
  • In medio ecclesiae: Screens, Crucifixes and Shrines in the Franciscan Church Interior in Italy (c.1230-c.1400). (2000)
  • The Wall of the Mappamondo in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena. (2000)
  • Mendicant Marian Mystical Marriage Imagery in the 13th and 14th Centuries. (2000)  Second supervisor with Professor David d'Avray  
  • Studies in Art, Architecture and Patronage in Arezzo (1277-1400). (2000)
  • Speculum Imperfectionis: Judas Iscariot in Late Medieval Italian Art. (2001)
  • Ungs très petiz tableaux à pignon, qui cloent et ouvrent, esmaillez dehors et dedens : Imagery and Function of Small-Scale, Folding, Enamelled Objects in 14th Century Europe.   (2002). Co-Supervisor with Dr. Susie Nash
  • Envisaging the Particular Judgement in Trecento Italy. (2005)
    Shaping and Maintaining Devotion: The Cult and Images of St. Leonard of Noblat in Italy, c. 1100 – 1450.  (2007)
  • Working for the Afterlife: The Works of Mercy in Medieval Italian Art (mid-eleventh to late-fourteenth century). (2008)
  • Objects at Work. A Material and Cultural History of the Reliquaries of St Anthony of Padua in the Basilica del Santo, ca.1231-1438. (2009)
  • Sine macula sunt: the Holy Innocents and their portrayal in Italian Art c. 1200 – c.1500. (2010)
  • Object, treasuries, cities. The importation and appropriation of Byzantine objects and relics in Santa Maria della Scala in Siena and San Marco in Venice. Second supervisor with Dr. Antony Eastmond

PhD theses currently in progress

  • Chalices in Central and Northern Italy: Forms, Uses and Meanings 1200-1520
  • The Risen Christ in Late Medieval Italian Art
  • Mural paintings in the houses of Clare nuns in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
  • Sedilia in England in the fourteenth century. Joint supervisor with Professor David Park
  • Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture in Italy around 1300, with special reference to Tuscany. Joint supervisor with Professor Paul Crossley


In Preparation

“Dominican Shrines and Urban Pilgrimage in later-Medieval Italy”, in Pilgrimage and Architecture in the Mediterranean and Middle East, 1000 – 1600, ed. G. Clarke, P. Davies, D. Howard, W. Pullan

In the Press

“Two works by Simone Martini in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo”, in Cultura artistica nel cantiere del Duomo di Orvieto, ed. L. Riccetti, Florence.

Selected Publications

Religious Poverty, Visual Riches: Art in the Dominican Churches of Central Italy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2013.

cover of Trade in Artists’ Materials: Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700

Studies in Iconography cover

cover of Economie et religion. l'expérience des Mendiants (XIVe-XVe s.)

“An enigmatic Italian panel painting of the Crucifixion in the National Gallery, Prague”, in Image, Memory and Devotion, Liber Amicorum Paul Crossley, Studies in Gothic Art, vol. 2, ed Achim Timmerman and Zoe Opacic, Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2011

Trade in Artists’ Materials: Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700, Archetype, London. Co-edited with Jo Kirby and Susie Nash, 2010.

 “Kissing the Virgin’s Foot: Adoratio before the Madonna and Child enacted, depicted, imagined”, Studies in Iconography, 31, 2010, pp. 1-50.

(Abbreviated version published in Italian as: “Il piede della Vergine nella pittura senese del Duecento e primo Trecento”, in Presenza del  Passato.  Political Ideas e modelli culturali nella storia e nell’arte senese, Convegno internazionale, Siena 4 maggio 2007, Rome and Siena, 2008, pp. 61-70.)

Panem petant in signum paupertatis: The Image of the Quest for Alms Among the Friars of Central Italy”, in Armut und Armenfürsorge in der italienischen Stadtkultur zwischen 13. und 16. Jahrhundert:  Bilder, Texte und soziale Praktiken, ed. P. Helas and G. Wolf, University of Trier, Frankfurt am Main, 2006, pp. 29-53; 402; 420-29 (also published in French in Economie et religion. l'expérience des Mendiants (XIVe-XVe s.), ed. N. Bériou et J. Chiffoleau, Lyon, 2009, pp. 501-33).

Catalogue entry ‘Maestro di Figline/Maestro della Pietà Fogg, San Francesco e San Filippo’, Giotto e il Trecento, Roma, Complesso del Vittoriano 6 marzo – 29 giugno 2009, ed. Alessandro Tomei, Milan 2009, pp. 188-190.

Afterword to Images, Relics, and Devotional Practices in medieval and Renaissance Italy, ed. S. J. Cornelison and S. B. Montgomery, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 296, University of Arizona, Tempe, Ariz., 2006, pp. 235-45.

“Sources for the Study of the Role of Art and Architecture within the Economy of the Mendicant Convents of Central Italy: A Preliminary Survey”, in L’economia dei conventi dei frati minori e predicatori fino alla meta del Trecento, 31o Convegno internazionale di studi francescani, Assisi 2003, Spoleto, 2004, pp. 215-263.

"Beyond the Limitations of Visual Typology: Reconsidering the Function and Audience of Three Vita-Panels of Women Saints c.1300", in Italian panel Painting in the Dugento and Trecento, Studies in the History of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., ed. V. Schmidt, C.A.S.V.A., Washington, D.C., pp. 290-313

"Giotto and Art for the Friars: Revolutions Spiritual and Artistic", in The Cambridge Companion to Giotto, ed. Anne Derbes and Mark Sandona, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2003

(with Viola Pemberton-Pigott) “The Royal Collection Duccio: A triptych reconsidered”, Apollo, CLVI, 486, 2002, pp. 10-18.

"Viewing Two Paintings by Bernardo Daddi", The British Art Journal, II, 2, 2001, pp. 68-70.

Art, Politics, and Civic Religion in Central Italy, 1261-1352, Courtauld Research Papers, 1, Ashgate, Aldershot, co-editor with Beth Wiliamson, and author of introductory essay, "Secular Power and the Sacred in the Art of the Central-Italian City-State"

"Popular Saints and Private Chantries: the Sienese tomb-altar of Margherita of Cortona and Questions of Liturgical use", in Kunst und Liturgie im Mittelalter. Akten des internationalen Kongresses der Bibliotheca Hertziana und des Nederlands Instituut te Rome, 27-29 September 1997, Römisches JAHRBuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana, Beiheft zu Bd. 33, ed. N. Bock, S. de Blaauw, C. H. Frommel and H. Kessler, Munich, 2000, pp. 149-162.

Margherita of Cortona and the Lorenzetti: Sienese Art and the Cult of a Holy Woman in Medieval Tuscany, Penn State Press, University Park, Pa., 1999, co-author with André Vauchez (also available in a revised and expanded Italian-language edition, Margherita da Cortona e i Lorenzetti, Città Nuova, Rome, 2000, with André Vauchez and Céline Perol ).

"The Stoclet Man of Sorrows: A thirteenth-century Italian diptych reunited", Burlington Magazine, 141, 1999, pp. 107-112.

"Il ciclo murale di Margherita attraverso le copie ad acquerello", Margherita da Cortona. Una storia emblematica di devozione narrata per testi e immagini, ed. L. Corti and R. Spinelli, Milan, 1998, pp. 21-32, 154-55

"Dominic alter Christus? Representations of the Founder in and after the Arca di San Domenico", in Christ Among the Medieval Dominicans, ed. Kent Emery Jr. and Joseph Wawrykow, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, 1998

"The Creation, Meaning, and Audience of the Early Sienese Polyptych: Evidence from the Friars", The Italian Altarpiece 1250-1550: History, Technique, Style, ed. E. Borsook and F. Superbi, Oxford, 1994, pp. 41-79

"Pietro Lorenzetti and the History of the Carmelite Order", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 50, 1987, pp. 18-28

"Simone Martini, the Dominicans and the Early Sienese Polyptych", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 45, 1982, pp. 69-93

"Dating the Frescoes by the Maestro di S. Francesco at Assisi", The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 124, No. 947, Feb., 1982, pp. 65-69

Dominican Patronage of the Arts in Central Italy: The Provincia Romana, c. 1220–c. 1320’. PhD diss., University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art) 1980.


Italian Art, Late Medieval Art, Early Renaissance Art, Altarpieces, Frescoes, Chapels, Tombs and Shrines, Artist’s working practices, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Lorenzetti brothers, Maestro di Figline, Medieval Religion, Medieval Devotion, Saints, Dominicans, Franciscans, Friars, Nuns, Third Orders, Tuscany, Umbria, Siena, Pisa, Cortona, Technical Art History