Dr Scott Nethersole

Reader in Italian Renaissance Art, 1400-1500

Scott Nethersole is currently working on three research projects: a long-term study on the connections (and the lack of connections) between Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe in the Fifteenth Century.  He is particularly interested in the ‘Miracle of the Black Leg’ for how it reveals perceptions of Christian Africa in mid-fifteenth-century Florence.  He is also currently engaged with research on Lorenzo Ghiberti, which will have two outcomes: a monograph due in 2022/3 and a new edition, translation and commentary of Ghiberti’s writings on art (I commentarii), produced in collaboration with Dr Giulio Dalvit, Prof. Cecilia Panti (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) and Prof. Nicholas Temple (School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University).  Finally, he is preparing an exhibition focused on Botticelli’s Trinity Altarpiece together with colleagues in the Courtauld Gallery.

Scott’s research has tended to focus on fifteenth-century Florence, although his teaching embraces much more of central Italy, especially Siena and Perugia. He spent many years studying the relationship between art and violence in Florentine art of the fifteenth century, which resulted in a book, Art and Violence in Early Renaissance Florence, that appeared with Yale University Press in June 2018. It was followed by Art of Renaissance Florence: A City and its Legacy in January 2019. He is also interested in the reception of Renaissance art, especially in the seventeenth century, by artists such as Sassoferrato and Carlo Dolci.

Before joining the faculty at The Courtauld in 2010, Scott Nethersole was the Harry M Weinrebe Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery, London. He worked for Sotheby’s between 2000-2004, after which he read for his doctorate, which he gained in 2008.  He was a Michael Bromberg Fellow in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum in 2007; a Residential Fellow at the Nederlands Interuniversitair Kunsthistorisch Instituut te Florence (The Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence) in 2012; and a Berenson Fellow at I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence in 2019.

PhD Supervision


  • Matteo Chirumbolo, ‘Reframing the Patronage of Girolamo Basso and Domenico della Rovere between Rome, Loreto and Turin’
  • Samuel Dawson, ‘Unum Corpus: A Study of the Olivetan Order and their Artistic Patronage’
  • Eowyn Kerr-Di Carlo (co-supervised with Prof. Joanna Cannon), ‘Lorenzo Monaco and the Missal of Cardinal Acciaiuoli: Patronage, Production and the Painter-illuminators of Early Renaissance Florence’
  • Emily Markham, ‘Controlling Space, Image and Memory: A Study of Political Exile in Bologna and Florence (1445 to 1515)’
  • Alexander Noelle, ‘The Myth and Manipulation of Giuliano de’ Medici’
  • Irma Passeri (co-supervised with Prof. Aviva Burnstock), ‘An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study and Understanding of Damages in Works of Art’ 

Recently completed

  • (2015) Mary Camp (co-supervised with Prof. Paul Hills), ‘”Superare la natura”: The Portraits of Jacopo Pontormo’
  • (2017) Joost Joustra, ‘Pictorial Space and Sacred Subject Matter in Florentine Painting 1425-1466’
  • (2017) Laura Llewellyn, ‘Art, Community and Religious Women in the Oltrarno, Florene: The Early Visual Culture of the Convents of Santa Monaca, Santa Chiara and the Annalena’
  • (2019) Peter Crack (co-supervised with Dr Susanna Avery-Quash), ‘Justifying the ‘Italian Primitives’: Public Acquisitions in Twentieth-Century Britain’
  • (2019) Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings (co-supervised with Dr Guido Rebecchini), ‘Nicoletto da Modena and the Centres of Early Italian Print Production, 1490-1530’
  • (2020) Alexander Rostel, ‘Florentine Patronage Networks during the 1490s: The Corbinelli and Gondi Altarpieces’
  • (2020) Giulio Dalvit, ‘Rethinking Lorenzo di Pietro, known as Vecchietta (Siena 1410-80)’

Research interests

  • Central Italian, especially Florentine, Art of the Fifteenth Century
  • Relationships between Sub-Saharan Africa and southern European Art in the Fifteenth Century
  • Ghiberti
  • Botticelli

Recent publications


Essays and articles

  • ‘Fra Angelico’s The Miracle of the Black Leg: Skin Colour and the Perception of Ethiopians in Florence before 1450’, Art History, 4:2, 2022, pp. 250-278
  • ‘Battling for Meaning: Bertoldo’s Bronze Battle in the Bargello’ in A. Ng, A. J. Noelle and X. F. Salomon (eds), Bertoldo di Giovanni: The Renaissance of Sculpture in Medici Florence, exh. cat. Frick Collection, New York, 2019, pp. 189-204
  • ‘The value of contrast: ‘Beyond Compare’ at the Bode Museum, World Art, 9:3, 2019, pp. 351-357
  • ‘Botticelli, Lucretia, and the Visualization of Violence’ in N. Silver (ed.), Botticelli: Heroines and Heroes, exh. cat. Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2019, pp. 56-77
  • ‘Traditionelle Rivalen? Künstlerische Dialog zwischen Florenz und Siena im zweiten Viertel des 15. Jahrhunderts’ in A. Schumacher (ed.), Florenz und seine Maler: von Giotto bis Leonardo da Vinci, exh. cat. Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, 2018, pp. 115-123
  • Armeggerie, wedding chests and battles in fifteenth-century Florence’, Renaissance Studies, 32:2, April 2018, pp. 282-304
  • ‘Introduction: Ghiberti and the Courtauld’, Sculpture Journal, 26:1, 2017, pp. 93-98
  • ‘The First Murder: The Representation of Cain and Abel in Bologna, Florence and Bergamo’ in T. Dean and K. J. P. Lowe (eds.), Murder in Renaissance Italy, Cambridge, 2017, 15-40
  • ‘Carlo Dolci and the Art of the Past’ in E. Straussman-Pflanzer (ed.), Carlo Dolci: The Medici’s Painter and 17th-Century Florence, New Haven and London, 2017, pp. 42-53
  • ‘“ Parve cosa miracolosa”: Giusto Giusti d’ Anghiari and Leonardo da Vinci’ in J. Harris, S. Nethersole and P. Rumberg (eds.), ‘Una insalata di più erbe’: A Festschrift for Patricia Lee Rubin, London, 2011, pp. 73-82
  • ‘Drunkenness, War and Sovereignty: Three stucco panels from the Palazzo Scala in Florence’, Art History, 34: 3, June 2011, pp. 466-485
  • (with Helen Howard), ‘Two Copies of Perugino’s Baptism of Christ’, The National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 31, 2010, pp. 78-95
  • (with Helen Howard), ‘Perugino, Sassoferrato and a “beautiful little work” in the National Gallery, London’, The Burlington Magazine, CLII: 1286, June 2010, pp. 376-384
  • ‘The Power of Beautiful Nudity in Donatello’s Bronze David’, Immediations 1:2, 2005, pp. 6-24

Reviews and catalogue entries

  • Review of book: ‘In search of the self. Review of Victor Stoichita, Darker Shades: The Racial Other in Early Modern Art’, Art History, 43:4, September 2020, pp. 856-858
  • Review of book: Stephen J. Campbell, The Endless Periphery: Towards a Geopolitics of Art in Lorenzo Lotto’s Italy, Apollo, April 2020, pp. 88-89
  • Review of exhibition: Piero della Francesca: Monarch of Painting, State Hermitage Museum, 2018-19, The Burlington Magazine, CLXI, March 2019, pp. 233-35
  • Review of book: ‘What is Violence? Review of Allie Terry Fritsch and Erin Felicia Labbie with W. J. T. Mitchell, Beholding Violence in Medieval and early Modern Europe’, Art History, 37:5, November 2014, pp. 982-984
  • Review of book: Anne Leader, The Badia of Florence: Art and Observance in a Renaissance Monastery, The Burlington Magazine, CLVI, July 2014, p. 465
  • Review of exhibition: Bagliori dorati: Il Gotico Internazionale a Firenze, 1375-1440, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 2012, Renaissance Studies
  • Review of exhibition: La Sainte Anne l’ultime chef-d’œuvre de Léonard de Vinci, Musée du Louvre, Paris 2012, The Burlington Magazine, CLIV, July 2012, pp. 512-514
  • Entries on Leonardo’s anatomical and proportional drawings, as well as his Saint Jerome, in L. Syson (ed.), Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, exh. cat. National Gallery, London, 2011.
  • ‘Florence domestic paintings, Florence’, Review of exhibition: Virtù d’amore: Pittura nuziale nel quattrocento fiorentino, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, 2010, The Burlington Magazine, CLII, September 2010, pp. 637-639
  • Online catalogue entries for Italian paintings included in Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, exh. cat. National Gallery, 2010
  • Review of exhibition: Botticelli, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, 2009-10, The Burlington Magazine, CLII: 1283, February 2010, pp. 126-8.
  • ‘After Michelangelo: Leda and the Swan’, catalogue entry in Botticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces, exh. cat., Szepmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest, 2009
  • Review of book: David Summers, Vision, Reflection & Desire in Western Painting, The Burlington Magazine, CLI: 1281, December 2009, p. 840.
  • Review of book: Jonathan Conlin, Civilisation, The Burlington Magazine CLI:1278, September 2009, pp. 627-28.