John Renner - The Courtauld Institute of Art

John Renner

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Dr John Renner

Associate Lecturer

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John Renner is a specialist 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 and a PhD at the Courtauld (with a thesis on early images of St Francis of Assisi). His research focuses on the art of the mendicant orders of Italy, especially the Franciscans. 

Current teaching

  • BA3 Special Option: Poverty, Piety and Propaganda: Art for the Friars in Central Italy, c. 1250-1350
  • Public Programmes Summer Course: Art for the Friars in Early Renaissance Italy

Other professional activity

  • Visiting Lecturer, Victoria & Albert Museum

Research interests

  • Mendicant patronage of art and architecture in late medieval and early Renaissance Italy
  • The art, history and literature of the Franciscan Order
  •  Art and theology/ image and text in the Middle Ages
  • Narrative and allegory in visual art
  • The experience of viewing images in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
  • The creative practices of artists and the use of materials in image-bearing objects

Recent and forthcoming publications

  • ‘Dating the windows by the Maestro di San Francesco in Assisi’, Burlington Magazine 160 (2018), pp. 470-77
  • ‘Bonaventure and the Maestro di San Francesco’, in The Senses and the Experience of Art in the Franciscan Tradition, ed. by X. Seubert and O. Bychkov (Routledge, forthcoming)


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

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