A Cultural History of Disability in the Renaissance

Dr Susan Anderson, Sheffield Hallam University @DrSusanAnderson In around 1490, Leonardo da Vinci sketched a figure in one of his notebooks that has become known as the Vitruvian Man. As Leonardo’s notes record in his characteristic mirror-writing, the sketch is drawn according to the ideal proportions of the human body, as described by the Roman … Continued

Venice’s Secret Service: Organizing Intelligence in the Renaissance

Dr Ionanna Iordanou, Oxford Brookes University @IoannaIordanou   According to conventional wisdom, systematised intelligence and espionage are ‘modern’ phenomena, spanning  from the eve of the First World War to the present. Venice’s Secret Service overturns this academic orthodoxy, recounting the arresting story of one of the world’s earliest centrally organised state intelligence organisations. Headquartered in … Continued

The Sacred Home

Mary Laven is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College. She is a social and cultural historian of early modern Italy and Europe, with particular interests in religion, gender, sociability, and material culture. She is the author of ‘Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent’ (Viking Penguin, 2002) and ‘Mission to China: Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit Encounter with the East’ (Faber and Faber, 2011).

In her contribution to the Research Exchange, she reflects on the challenges of writing the social history of the Renaissance and the benefits of collaborative research. Her new book ‘The Sacred Home in Renaissance Italy’ was co-written with Abigail Brundin and Deborah Howard and published in July 2018 by Oxford University Press.