Joanne Anderson

Convenor MA Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture

Research Interests
Medieval to early modern art and visual culture | Mary Magdalen | Landscape and environment
 Workshop practice | Gender and patronage | Exhibition history


Joanne Anderson is a senior lecturer in Art History at the Warburg Institute. She is a specialist on the imagery of Mary Magdalen, working with paintings, altarpieces, prints and glass in the long middle ages. She has recently published a book on the artworks that manifest the saint’s cult in the Alps. In general, artistic exchange, the circulation of visual types and environmental conditions inform her work about visual culture and the geographies of art history and particularly the concept of Kunstlandschaft, which originates from pre- and inter war German discourse on the relation of art to its native territory by means of a unified style but has since developed to encompass other shared criteria.  A new project in development will examine the agency of art and landscape, focusing on the Alps during the pre- and early modern periods.

When not wearing her ‘early person’ hat, Joanne researches 20th-century exhibition history. She is currently the co-investigator of the AHRC research network, A Vision for Europe: Academic Action and Responsibility, which focuses on the Warburg Institute’s war-time exhibition practices (see below).

PhD Supervision and Post-doctoral Researchers

Joanne welcomes research projects that connect with any of her research areas and interests, detailed above and below. She is currently co-supervising five MPhil/PhD students:

  • Allegra Baggio Corradi, ‘The Soul in Niccolò Leonico Tomeo’s Dialogues’  (LAHP-funded)
  • Sarah Coviello, ‘Professional passions: Anglophone and Italian Art Historians as Collectors, Patrons and Philanthropists’(LAHP-funded)
  • Margherita Clavarino, ‘Miraculous Prints in Early Modern Italy’
  • Lydia Goodson, ‘Umbrian Patrons 1480-1510: a Study in the Dynamics of Regional Patronage’
  • Goran Vuković, ‘Art and Politics in Renaissance Ragusa: The Villa Sorgo at Lapad and its Frescoes’



Mary Magdalen

Joanne’s doctoral thesis on Mary Magdalen has been incorporated into her monograph, entitled Moving with the Magdalen: Late Medieval Art and Devotion in the Alps (published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019). It is the first art-historical book dedicated to the cult of Mary Magdalen in the late medieval Alps. Its seven case study chapters focus on the artworks commissioned for key churches that belonged to both parish and pilgrimage networks in order to explore the role of artistic workshops, commissioning patrons and diverse devotees in the development and transfer of the saint's iconography across the mountain range. Together they underscore how the Magdalen's cult and contingent imagery interacted with the environmental conditions and landscape of the Alps along late medieval routes.












Art and the Landscape

Joanne’s new medieval research project will focus on art in the landscape, proposing a new way of approaching images and objects from the standpoint of experiential experience. She is particularly in interested in how environment and time influences the production, function and perception of art produced for Alpine communities as linked to the seasonal migrations of artistic workshops. The project springs from her work in the Alps and questions raised whilst travelling on foot in the mountains, during varying weather conditions.

Exhibition History

A Vision for Europe

Joanne is currently the co-investigator of the AHRC Research Network, A Vision for Europe: Academic Action and Responsibility.

mnemosyne atlasenglish art and the mediterranean notice


Principle Investigator: Mick Finch (Central St Martins, University of the Arts London)

Project Partner: Johannes von Müller (Bilderfahrzeuge Project, The Warburg Institute)

The network is investigating the material archive of the 1941 exhibition, English Art and the Mediterranean, organised by Fritz Saxl and Rudolf Wittkower, then director and photographic collection curator of the Warburg Institute. This exhibition, and its later publication, British Art and the Mediterranean, argued for a common European cultural tradition in a time of international crisis. The network brings together artists, historians, media theorists, curators, journalists, photographers and activists to reactivate this unique archival resource and explore its historical significance and contemporary resonance in the current Brexit climate. Read more on the project.

Frescoes from Florence/The Great Age of Fresco

Joanne is also working on a monograph dedicated to the touring exhibition, Frescoes from Florence/The Great Age of Fresco (1968-71), which was displayed at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1969. The book focuses on questions of logistics, educational strategy and reception in popular and academic domains.

frescoes from florencefrescoes from florence hayward gallery











Joanne joined the Warburg Institute in 2015 and is convener of the MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture, offered in collaboration with London’s National Gallery. She contributes to the teaching programme and supervises dissertations covering a wide range of topics. She sits on the committees of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern Language Research and the Research Skills Intercollegiate Network (ReSkIN) and is a subject area representative for the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP); she is also a member of the Cities@SAS initiative. Joanne previously worked as a lecturer in art history at Birkbeck (2014-15), the University of Sussex (2013-14) and the University of Warwick (2009-2013), the latter period including her role as editorial assistant of The Art Bulletin (CAA, New York).

MA (Hons), English and History of Art, University of Aberdeen
MA, History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art
PhD, History of Art, University of Warwick

Public Engagement

Joanne welcomes research collaborations and public outreach opportunities. She has featured on BBC Radio4 and written blog posts on contemporary resonances with her historical research. Recently she co-organised the Re-Opening the Workshop: Medieval to Early Modern lecture series, with Eckart Marchand (Bilderfahrzeuge Project) and organised the public conference, The Body Politics of Mary Magdalen.











Joanne teaches the term 1 core module, Image to Action, which introduces all MA students to the subject matters of art in the period 1300-1700 and the methods and approaches taken to put them into context, making use of key primary and secondary sources held in our library.

In term 2, she offers a module on Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures which focuses on the making and meaning of 15th-century frescoes and, in the latter weeks, their reception history; seminar topics include, materials and techniques, workshop practice, miraculous murals, performing chivalric culture, and museums and moving walls. Joanne is also the convener of the module, Curating Renaissance Art and Exhibitions.

In term 3, Joanne supervises dissertation appropriate to her research interests and expertise.




Moving with the Magdalen: Late Medieval Art and Devotion in the Alps (Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019)

Exhibiting Frescoes from Florence, 1968-1971: Logistics, Education, Reception (in development)

Exhibition Catalogues:

Image Journeys: The Warburg Institute and a British Art History, eds Joanne Anderson, Mick Finch and Johannes von Müller (Passau: Dieter Klinger Verlag, 2019)

Journal Articles/Essays in Edited Volumes:

‘Next to Chur we are still poor: Art and the relationality of Poverty in the Rhaetian Alps,’ in The Art of the Poor: The Aesthetic Material Culture of the Lower Classes in Europe 1300-1600, edited by Rembrandt Duits (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming 2020).

‘Arming the Alps through Art: Saints, Knights and Bandits on the Early Modern Roads’ in Travel and Conflict in the Early Modern World, eds Gabor Gelleri and Rachel Willie (Routledge, forthcoming 2019)

‘The Loom, the Lady and her Family Chapels: Weaving Identity in Late Medieval Art,’ in Journal of Medieval Clothing and Textiles 15 (2019), 157-181

‘Mary Magdalen and the Imagery of Redemption: Reception and Revival in Fifteenth-Century Tyrol,’ Predella. Journal of the Visual Arts, 35 (2015), special issue: ‘The Survival of the Trecento in the Fifteenth Century’ (

 ‘St. Magdalena in Rentsch bei Bozen: Ein neuer Vorschlag zur Auftraggeberschaft im 14. Jahrhundert,’ in Der Schlern 88 (2014), pp. 40-44

 ‘Mary Magdalene and Her Dear Sister: Innovation in the Late Medieval Mural Cycle of Santa Maddalena in Rencio (Bolzano)’, in Mary Magdalene: Iconographic Studies from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, eds Michelle A. Erhardt and Amy M. Morris (Brill, Oct 2012), pp. 45-74

‘Devotional and Artistic Responses to the Cult of Mary Magdalen in Trentino-Alto Adige, c.1300-c.1500: The Case of Cusiano’ in Visible Exports / Imports. New Research on Medieval and Renaissance European Art and Culture, eds Emily Jane Anderson, Jill Farquhar and John Richards (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), pp. 161-80


Ruth S. Noyes, Peter Paul Rubens and the Counter-Reformation Crisis of the Beati Moderni. Sanctity in Global Perspective (London and New York: Routledge, 2018), in Renaissance Quarterly 72.1 (2019), 274-75

Joseph Manca, Subject Matter in Italian Renaissance Art (Tempe: Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2015), in Renaissance Quarterly 70:4 (2017), pp. 1494–1495

The Agency of Things: Materials, Power and Manipulation in the Arts of the Fourteenth to Seventeenth Centuries, edited by Grażyna Jurkowlaniec, Ika Matyjaszkiewicz and Zuzanna Sarnecka (Routledge, 2018)

Lisa Pon, ‘A Printed Icon in Early Modern Italy: Forlı’s Madonna of the Fire’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), in Renaissance Quarterly 69:3 (2016), pp. 1051-1052

Blog posts:

Our Guiding Stars 

Picture this: role of images in society



BBC R4 In Our Time. Mary Magdalene