John Renner - The Courtauld Institute of Art

John Renner

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Dr John Renner

Associate Lecturer

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John Renner researches and teaches on Italian art of the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance. He read History and French at Oxford, and went on to pursue a career in international journalism and broadcasting before returning to academia to take an MA in art history at Birkbeck College, in the University of London, and a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In addition to teaching at the Courtauld he is a Visiting Lecturer at the V&A.

Teaching and lecturing

  • 2017–18: The Courtauld Institute of Art, BA1 Topic Early Italian Art.
  • 2017: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Summer School: Art for the Friars in Early Renaissance Italy.
  • 2016–17 and 2017–18: The Courtauld Institute of Art, BA3 Special Option: Poverty, Piety and Propaganda: Art for the Friars in Central Italy, c.1250–1350
  • 2016– : Victoria & Albert Museum, V&A Year Course: Late Medieval to Early Renaissance 1250–1500
  • 2016: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Showcasing Art History: Image and Imagination in Late Medieval Europe, c.1200–c.1500
  • 2015–16: The Courtauld Institute of Art, BA topic courses: 1) The Medieval Body: Texts and Contexts, and 2) Early Italian Art in London Collections
  • 2015: The Courtauld Institute of Art, Summer Course: A Tale of Two Cities: Florence, Siena and the Birth of Renaissance Art (with Janet Robson)
  • 2014– : Victoria & Albert Museum. V&A Year Course: Art and the City
  • 2013–14, and 2017–18: Birkbeck College, University of London. BA course: European Art & Architecture, 1250–1400

Research interests

  • Central Italian painting, stained glass and sculpture of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance
  • The art and history of the Franciscan Order
  • Mendicant patronage of art and architecture
  • Art and theology in the Middle Ages

Conference papers

  • ‘Bonaventure and the Maestro di San Francesco’, The Senses and the Experience of God in Art in the Franciscan Tradition, St Bonaventure University, New York, 2017
  • ‘Dating the frescoes and stained glass of the Maestro di San Francesco in Assisi: further questions and a new proposal’, Giotto’s Circle Research Group, Courtauld Institute, 2016
  • ‘The Master and St Francis: art, sanctity and the promotion of a mendicant order in thirteenth-century Italy’, Expressions of Mendicant Spirituality in Medieval Europe, Leeds International Medieval Conference, 2015
  • ‘The saint in the chariot: a Franciscan vision and its transformations’, Lille Leuven London, Courtauld Institute, 2015
  • ‘The sculpted saint: a Sienese statue of St Francis’, Art, Architecture and the Friars, Courtauld Institute, 2014
  • ‘The beautiful wounds of St. Francis: materiality and aesthetics in the portrayal of medieval sanctity’, Aesthetics and Materiality in Medieval Art, 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 2014
  • Caelorum candor splenduit: a vision of St Francis in the apse windows of Santa Croce’, Giotto’s Circle Research Group, Courtauld Institute, 2013
  • ‘Angelicus vir Franciscus: the Angel Window at Assisi’, Giotto’s Circle Research Group, Courtauld Institute, 2013
  • ‘Good and bad corpses: images of death in early Franciscan art’, Art and Death, Courtauld Institute, 2012
  • ‘How to survive a shipwreck: lessons from a Franciscan seal’, Surviving the Middle Ages: Art, Belief, and Preservation, Courtauld Institute, 2012
  • ‘St Francis of Assisi, Henk van Os, and variations on the alter Christus theme in late medieval Tuscany’, IUO, Florence, 2011
  • ‘Framing the Incarnation: the Annunciation in late medieval Tuscany’, Framing the Middle Ages: Concepts of the Frame in Medieval Art and Architecture, Courtauld Institute, 2009


  • 2011: residential Research Fellowship, IUO (Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte) Florence, Italy


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