The Visual Culture of the Central Italian Foundling Hospital, 1400-1600


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Art


This dissertation is an interdisciplinary study exploring the status of the abandoned child in early modern Italy in the context of the visual culture of charity. It examines a wide range of visual evidence, from hospital altarpieces, mural decoration, manuscript illumination, and processional banners to the sacred topography of the city, spaces in ward life, processional rituals, civic ceremonies, and devotional practice. Focusing on the institutional environment of the foundling hospital, this project explores how images constructed ideas about charity toward children; how the display and visibility of both ritual acts and images played a crucial role in charitable administration; and how manipulations of the urban fabric worked to negotiate the places of charity in the early modern Italian city.