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Dr Livia Lupi


Livia Lupi joined Warwick in 2018 as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow. She works on late medieval and early modern art and architecture, and her research focuses on the intersection of artistic and architectural practice in Europe, especially Italy. In particular, her work addresses the communicative powers of structure and ornament, strategies of architectural representation, the relationship between design and craftsmanship, the emergence of the architect as a professional figure, and the production of architectural knowledge. She also works on the relationship between Western Europe and the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Livia's research falls within the departmental theme of Art in Venice and Northern Italy.

Her book, Painting Architecture in Early Renaissance Italy: Innovation and Persuasion at the Intersection of Art and Architectural Practice, is under contract with Brepols and forthcoming in 2023. Arguing that architecture in painting provided a unique platform for experimentation, the book contends that artists played a crucial role in the elaboration of the classical architectural heritage, redefining the status of architectural forms as a kind of cultural currency. As it explores the nexus between innovation and persuasion, the volume highlights an early form of little-discussed paragone between painting and architecture which relied on a shared understanding of architectural invention as a symbol of prestige. This approach offers a crucial insight into how architectural forms were perceived and deployed, be they two or three-dimensional, at the same time clarifying the intersection of architecture and the figural arts in the work of later, influential figures like Giuliano da Sangallo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Baldassarre Peruzzi.

Livia is currently working on a special collection of articles for journal Architectural Histories, co-edited with Krista De Jonge and featuring an article reassessing craftsmanship and the social implications of the architectural profession in Renaissance Italy. She is also preparing a digital exhibition for the Sir John Soane Museum in London, entitled "Beyond the Painter-Architect: Artists Reinventing Architecture in Renaissance Italy" and scheduled for November 2023. Research for this exhibition is informing an article on the architectural imagination of painters in Northern Italy. Further publication plans include two book projects. The first, entitled "Architecture, Design and Craft in Early Modern Italy," explores the relationship between design and craftsmanship in connection with the emergence of the architect as a professional figure. The second book, entitled "Ottoman Encounters and the Production of Architectural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe," investigates how diverse individuals, from merchants and craftsmen to scholars, negotiated the classical architectural heritage in contested territories.

Service to the Profession

Livia works as a specialist translator of early modern Italian texts and is an active member of the US-based Italian Art Society and of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. In 2017, she translated a selection of Sebastiano del Piombo's letters to Michelangelo for the exhibition “Michelangelo & Sebastiano” (with Amanda Lillie, National Gallery, London, 2017), while in 2020 she translated letters by Titian to Philip II of Spain for “Titian: Love, Desire, Death” (National Gallery, London, 2020). Since 2020, she has been the Editor of the Italian Art Society's Newsletter, so far producing seven issues. Two of these were special issues: the first on women in Italian art (October 2021) and the second on the global future of Italian art history (June 2022). Since 2022, she has been a convenor for the Architectural History Seminar, a series of research events organised by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London.


Livia obtained her BA in History of Art from the University of York, her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and then went back to York to work on her AHRC-funded PhD, which she completed in 2016. Before joining Warwick, she was a fellow at the Warburg Institute in London and taught at the University of York and at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Research interests

  • Late medieval and early modern art and architecture, especially in Italy and the Netherlands
  • Representation of architecture (within and beyond Europe)
  • Design and craftsmanship across artistic and architectural practice
  • Exchanges between Italy, the late Byzantine world and the Ottoman Empire
  • History of rhetoric and its interplay with the visual arts
  • Architectural drawings
  • Painter-architect figures
  • Professionalisation of the architect

Teaching and supervision

  • Setting the Scene: Architecture and the Visual Arts in Renaissance Italy
  • Classicism

Selected publications


Painting Architecture in Early Renaissance Italy: Innovation and Persuasion at the Intersection of Art and Architectural Practice (forthcoming with Brepols, 2023)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • Architectural Histories Special Collection: Intersecting Practices: Architecture and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe, 2 Vols. (co-edited with Krista De Jonge, peer review of vol. I near completion, forthcoming 2023)
    • Including an introduction (with K. De Jonge) and article “Brick and Mortar, Paint and Metal. Reassessing Craftsmanship in Renaissance Florence and Beyond”
  • “Space, Perspective and the Representation of Architecture in Early Renaissance Italy.”
    In Perspectives on Early Renaissance Pictorial Space, edited by Niko Munz, Sumihiro Oki and Charley Ladee. Turnhout: Brepols (2023).
  • “La rhétorique du lieu. Art de la mémoire et architecture dans l’Oratoire St-Georges de Padoue.” In Mnémonique et poétique. La figure et son lieu dans la peinture des Tre-QuattrocentoLink opens in a new window, edited by Anne-Laure Imbert, 167-180. Paris: Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2022.
  • “Fictive Architecture and Pictorial Place: Altichiero da Zevio’s Oratory of St George in Padua (c.1379-1384).” In Place and Space in the Medieval WorldLink opens in a new window, edited by Jane Hawkes, Meg Boulton and Heidi Stoner, 137-148. New York and London: Routledge, 2018.
  • “The Rhetoric of Fictive Architecture: Copia and Amplificatio in Altichiero da Zevio’s Oratory of St George, Padua.” Architectural HistoryLink opens in a new window, 60 (2017): 1-35.

Specialist Translations

  • Titian’s Letters. In Titian: Love, Desire, Death, exh. cat., 194-195 and 197-203. London: National Gallery and Yale University Press, 2020.
  • (with Amanda Lillie) Sebastiano del Piombo’s Letters to Michelangelo, 1518-1531. In Michelangelo & Sebastiano, exh. cat., pp. 225-237. London: National Gallery and Yale University Press, 2017.
  • Alessandro Nogarola, La vita della Serenissima Reina Maria d'Austria, Reina d’Ungheria […] (n.p., 1553), pp. 22-24. Appendix 3 in Cordula van Wyhe, “The Fabric of Female Rule in Leone Leoni’s Statue of Mary of Hungary, c. 1549-1556.” In Cambridge and the Study of Netherlandish Art, edited by Meredith Hale, pp. 135-168. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016.

Digital Exhibition

Beyond the Painter-Architect: Artists Reinventing Architecture in Renaissance Italy, Sir John Soane Museum, London, scheduled for autumn 2023

What defines an architectural drawing? What kinds of architectural imagery have been created throughout history and for what purposes? Exploring the intersection of architectural and artistic practice in Renaissance Italy, this exhibition problematises the historiographical distinction between architectural settings for a narrative on one side and project or study drawings on the other, arguing for a more integrated understanding of architectural innovation across a variety of media and representational techniques. Before the Painter-Architect takes as its starting point the Soane’s North Italian Album, whose designs elude categorisation either as narrative settings or as canonical architectural drawings. By highlighting the architectural imagination of artists and investigating the extent to which they informed architectural practice, this exhibition re-contextualises the North Italian Album, suggesting that its drawings are a representative example of contemporary architectural culture rather than a puzzling exception. Tracing innovative representations of structure and ornament from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth century, the show deploys the digital format to display the album’s drawings for the first time alongside frescoes, mosaics and panel paintings, as well as other drawings, proposing that figures like Raphael and Michelangelo, often defined as “painter-architects” are a much broader, earlier phenomenon than previously envisaged.

Invited Talks


  • BA (York)
  • MA (London)
  • PhD (York)

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Research Fellow


Tel: +44 (0)24 765 23436

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Undergraduate modules

HA1A2 Introduction to Art History: Classicism and the Art of Christianity