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Navigating the Canals. Making and Moving Venetian Renaissance Paintings

A fully-funded PhD studentship in partnership with the University of Warwick

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership

The National Gallery offers a small number of Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentships, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and run in partnership with higher education institutions. These studentships focus on specific themes relevant to the Gallery's collection and wider research themes.

Research project

Despite the impressive scholarly attention that the Venice of the Renaissance has commanded, there is as yet no overarching study devoted to the challenges posed by the city’s unique physical and geographical environment on the manufacture and delivery of large-scale paintings in the lagoon city. This doctoral project investigates two aspects of this problem: the handling and transport of paintings from the painter’s workshop to their intended destination, and how their supports were made across time, and whether innovations were made in response to Venice’s challenging physical environment.

The research will focus on Venetian paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries in order to plot changes over time as the binding agent in painting evolved from egg to oil and the paintings’ supports shifted from wood to canvas. This chronological scope also corresponds with Venice’s expansion into the mainland, and the growth of new distant markets. It will therefore enable discussion of environmental impact on transport beyond the lagoon, from water to land, over plains and mountains.