Amanda Hilliam is a specialist of pre-modern Italian painting and works on paper, with interests in their interrelationships and dialogues with other artistic media, particularly goldsmithing. She has worked extensively on Carlo Crivelli and Quattrocento art in the Marche, with a focus on the role of images and objects in religious devotion and exchange with the eastern Mediterranean.
Amanda’s current research explores representations of textiles across media. She is interested in the eloquence of drapery and the ways in which nature is shown to act as an agent in the production of folds, whether shaping them by wind, gravity, water and light, or providing generative structures, such as the branches of a tree or rock formations, for drapery to imitate, as suggested by Alberti and Cennini as well as extensively by contemporary practice.
Amanda studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol and went on to complete her Masters at the University of Oxford, where she worked on 17th and 18th-century receptions of Renaissance art through collecting, cataloguing and display practices. A chapter from her dissertation on parallels between Filippo Baldinucci’s curation of Leopoldo de’ Medici’s collection of drawings and his artist biographies, the Notizie de’ professori del disegno (1681–1728), won the Sir Denis Mahon Essay prize.
Her PhD, awarded in 2020, was a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with the National Gallery and Oxford Brookes University, focussing on Carlo Crivelli’s metapictorial idiom. This research informs her first monograph, forthcoming with Reaktion Books. She was co-curator with Jonathan Watkins of the exhibition ‘Carlo Crivelli: Shadows on the Sky’ at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham – featuring an installation of the contemporary artist Susan Collis’s work and a complementary display at the National Gallery – and co-editor of the accompanying publication (2022). She has held fellowships at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance studies, Florence (2021) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2018/2019), and her research has been supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Italian Art Society, the Francis Haskell Memorial Fund, and the Getty Paper Project, among other bodies.
Amanda has a background in the commercial art world and conservation, and continues to collaborate with colleagues in both sectors. She is very interested in embedding aspects of connoisseurship and technical art history into her research and teaching. She also enjoys speaking with contemporary artists and reflecting on what their processes and ideas can teach us about pre-modern works of art.