Dr Sheila McTighe

Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Sheila McTighe has left the Courtauld Institute to work as an independent art historian. She taught previously at Cornell University and Barnard College of Columbia University before arriving at The Courtauld Institute as visiting professor in 1998 and then becoming a permanent member of staff. Her teaching and research interests continue to focus on southern Europe in the 16th to 18th centuries, and the movements of artists and printmakers between Italy, France and England. The crossroads of disciplines in the humanities provide models for her work, in the ground between literary and theatre history, cultural anthropology, social and intellectual history. She enjoys being able to teach in front of works of art in London’s museum collections, and travelling with students to study paintings and prints in Paris and Rome.

Research interests

  • The art and letters of Nicolas Poussin
  • Genre imagery in southern Europe
  • Caravaggio and Caravaggism
  • Jacques Callot and 17th-century print culture
  • Reception theory and reception history
  • Artistic practice and the techniques of painting and printmaking
  • Early modern collecting and the arts of memory
  • Word and image studies, the ut pictura poesis tradition

Major grants

  • Leverhulme 3-year Major Research Fellowship, 2005-2008
  • Guggenheim Fellowship 1997-98.
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, 1989-90.
  • AHRC Collaborative PhD award with the British Museum Dept. of Prints and Drawings, 2012-2015, to co-supervise with Dr. Mark McDonald the PhD research of Naomi Lebens



  • Representing from Life in 17th-century Italy (Amsterdam University Press, 2020).
  • The Imaginary Everyday: Genre Paintings from 17th-century Italy and France (Gutenberg Periscope Press, 2008).
  • The Landscape Allegories of Nicolas Poussin (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Forthcoming Books

  • Genre Paintings and Prints of Everyday Life, 1550-1630: Essays Toward a Social History of Early Modern Italian Art (for Amsterdam University Press in early 2021).
  • The Letters of Nicolas Poussin (in preparation).

Essays, articles and reviews

  • ‘A New Plea for Poussin as a Painter’ in Kermes: Rivista del Ristauro (March 2015)
  • ‘Poussin and the Modes of Music’ Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture (2013)
  • ‘The Old Woman as Art Critic: Speech and Silence in Response to the Passions, from Annibale Carracci to Denis Diderot’ Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 71, (2008) 239-260
  • ‘Foods and the Body in Italian Genre Paintings, about 1580: Campi, Passarotti, Carracci’ The Art Bulletin 86 (2004) 301-323