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Kayoko Ichikawa

Thesis: Guido da Siena's Narrative Panels and the Madonna del Voto : The Formation of Marian Civic Identity in Sienese Art c.1260 .
Supervisor: Dr Louise Bourdua

Kayoko Ichikawa completed a PhD in History of Art at the University of Warwick funded by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). She studied Aesthetics and Art History at Keio University in Tokyo where she took her BA and MA of Arts in Philosophy (Aesthetics) and began her doctoral studies partly funded by Keio University Scholarship. Before moving to Warwick she studied at Siena University (Università degli Studi di Siena) for a year funded by the Italian State Studentship. Her MA thesis examined the narrative cycle of Duccio’s Maestà with focus on the scenes of Saint Peter’s Denial. She has worked part-time at secondary schools in Japan as an English teacher exploring the effective use of art historical materials and methods in language learning. She also has experience in assisting art museum exhibitions and book projects as well as translating English and Italian texts into Japanese. She has taught first-year BA modules as an Associate Tutor in the History of Art department at the University of Warwick and completed the Postgraduate Award: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Research Summary:
My study examines the development of the gospel narrative cycle in Sienese art in the 13th and 14th centuries. This I define as any visual representation of the gospel story depicted in three or more scenes selected from the four Gospels and Apocrypha including episodes from the Annunciation to the Pentecost. Gospel narrative cycles can be found among diverse objects, are of different media, and vary in scale.
Siena in the 13th and 14th centuries was crucial for the development of gospel narrative cycles in Italy. Duccio’s Maest à (1308-11) is significant as the first model of a large-scale double-sided altarpiece. Nothing like Duccio’s Maest à had been painted before nor was it ever fully copied. However, numerous prototypes were brought together and fused into this single work. Moreover it was located on the high altar of Siena Cathedral for almost two centuries to be referenced as formal, iconographical, and stylistic norm in Siena and its periphery.
By focusing on the new framework of gospel narrative cycle, and by taking into account comparable examples of different materials, form, and function, I will argue that this period is a rich experimental age of narrative church decoration, and consequently reposition Siena as one of its most important centres. A considerable amount of gospel narrative cycles survive in Siena from this period, and comparative case studies of works ranging from before and after Duccio’s Maest à will redefine the important role of this double-sided altarpiece from a new perspective. This study will also lead to a new interpretation of the historical background especially regarding the commissioners, advisors and audiences of these cycles when the city was rapidly growing, and more and more lay people were involved in various religious activities during the Middle Ages.

Conference Papers (selected):
  1. 02/06/2016: 'Guido da Siena's Coronation of the Virgin: Thirteent-Century Marian Devotion between East and West', Tenth International Conference of Iconographic Studies Marian Iconography East and West at the University of Rjeka.
  2. 07/07/2015: 'Repositioning Guido da Siena's Narrative Cycle in the Cathedral of Siena', Leeds International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds.
  3. 15/05/2015: ‘The Iconography of Christ Mounting the Cross in the East and the West’, invited speaker at the workshop for Postgraduate Students and Early-Career Scholars A Severed Bond? Exploring Fourteenth-Century Art Across the Eastern and Western Christian World at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (abstract(PDF Document)).
  4. 18/06/2013: ‘Myth-Making through Pictorial Narrative in Thirteenth-Century Siena: The Earliest Gospel Cycle of the City of the Virgin by Guido da Siena’, One-day Interdisciplinary Conference Myth-Making: From Medusa to Madonna at the University of Warwick.
  5. 12/05/2013: ‘The Altarpiece Programme in the Early Sienese Art of the “City of the Virgin”: An Iconographical Analysis of Christ Mounting the Cross by Guido da Siena’, 66th Annual Conference of the Japan Art History Society at Kansai University, Japan.
  6. 02/02/2013: ‘Gospel Narrative Panel by Master of Monte Oliveto in the Alana Collection: A Personalised Vehicle to the Sacred Space’, 18th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Colloquium Dialogues Between Life and Death at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
  1. English into Japanese: ‘Chapter 4: 1420-1430 Perspective and Its Discontents’ in The New History of Italian Renaissance Art, Stephen J. Campbell and Michael W. Cole (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012), pp. 88-109. Published in Japanese in December 2014.
  2. English into Japanese: Michele Bacci, ‘Animated Images in Byzantium and the Medieval West’, Bulletin of Death and Life Studies (Global COE Program. Development and Systematization of Death and Life Studies. The University of Tokyo Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology), vol. 15 (2011.3), pp. 197(166)-228(135). I also acted as interpreter for Prof. Bacci during the related symposium.
  3. English into Japanese: Summary of the public program (Talk Session No. 2 “When Art and Science Meet”) organized in conjunction with the exhibition Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love – Leonardo da Vinci, Okyo, Damien Hirst, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2010.(PDF Document) 
  4. Italian into Japanese: Masterpieces from the Museum of Capodimonte in Naples, from Renaissance to Baroque, exhibition catalogue, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2010.

Research Interests:
  • Cultural and intellectual exchange between Siena, northern Europe and the Mediterranean east in the thirteenth century
  • Medieval Studies
  • Iconography
  • Altarpiece Studies
  • Pictorial Narrative
  • Learning through Art
  • Interdisciplinary


Modules taught include:

  • Introduction to Art History: Classicism and the Arts of Christianity
  • History of Art and Interpretation
  • The Altarpiece

Professional Memberships:

  • The Association of Art Historians
  • The Japan Society for Medieval European Studies
  • The Japan Art History Society
  • The Japanese Society for Aesthetics


I have also co-organized a one-day postgraduate conference titled Rituals from Life to Death.

My research focuses especially on Italian panel paintings in the latter half of the thirteenth century when a lot of cultural exchange occured between the East and West of the Mediterranean world. Therefore, I also look at Byzantine Art materials, and I benefit from the valuable Ernst Kitzinger Collection, one of the University Library Special Collections housed in the Modern Records Centre here at the University of Warwick.