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Photograph of Joanne Allen

Joanne Allen Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer Art

PhD, University of Warwick, 2010

MA, Courtauld Institute of Art, 2005

BA, University of Warwick, 2003

My research investigates the function, accessibility, and control of constantly evolving sacred spaces in medieval and early modern Italy. My book, Transforming the Church Interior in Renaissance Florence (Cambridge University Press, 2022) proves the almost ubiquitous presence of architectural rood screens in Italian churches, and clarifies the religious and aesthetic motivations behind their widespread elimination in the charged Counter-Reformation period. My previous articles have investigated issues of sacred space in the church architecture of Venice, Padua, Vicenza, and Rome.

I teach survey classes on Medieval and Renaissance art history and offer specialized courses on Gothic Architecture and Renaissance Venice. I was awarded the Greenberg Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award for the experiential teaching in my course Washington DC Architecture. My Complex Problems course Depicting the Divine focuses on controversial issues of art and faith of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
See Also
Art History Program
For the Media
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Spring 2024

  • ARTH-105 Artists/Audiences & Afterlives

  • ARTH-216 Washington, DC Architecture

  • ARTH-303 Medieval Art

  • ARTH-794 Master's Digital Projects Sem

Summer 2024

  • ARTH-105 Artists/Audiences & Afterlives

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Academia page:

Research Interests

Medieval and Renaissance Art and Architecture, Sacred Spaces, Church Furnishings, Architecture of Washington DC, Religious Art of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Honors, Awards, Fellowships

  • Renaissance Society of America Image Subvention Grant for Art Historians
  • Italian Art Society Research and Publication Grant
  • CAS Book Incubator Grant
  • CTRL Greenberg Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award
  • Rubinstein Post-doctoral Fellowship, Society of Renaissance Studies
  • Rome Award, British School in Rome

Selected Publications


Transforming the Church Interior in Renaissance Florence (Cambridge University Press, 2022)


  • ‘Religious Reform, Sacred Space, and Bad Behavior in late sixteenth-century Orsanmichele’, in Space, Image and Reform, ed. Ian Verstegen and Art Di Furia, (DeGruyter Press, 2021), pp. 161-88
  • ‘The San Zaccaria choir stalls in context’, in La chiesa e il monastero di San Zaccaria, Chiese di Venezia: nuove prospettive di ricerca, edited by Bernard Aikema, Massimo Mancini O.P., Paola Modesti (Marcianum Press, 2016), pp. 151-174
  • ‘Giovanni Bellini’s Baptism of Christ in its visual and devotional context: Transforming sacred space in Santa Corona in Vicenza’, Renaissance Studies, Vol. 27, Issue 5 (November 2013), pp. 681-704
  • ‘Innovation or afterthought? Dating the San Giobbe retrochoir’, in Art, Architecture and Identity in Venice and its Territories 1450-1750, (Ashgate, 2013), pp. 171-81
  • ‘Nicholas V’s Tribuna for Old St. Peter’s in Rome as a Model for the New Apsidal Choir at Padua Cathedral’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 72, no. 2 (June 2013), pp. 166–189
  • ‘Carthusian choir stalls and the misericord in Italy’, The Antiquaries Journal, vol. 92 (2012), pp. 307-330
  • ‘The Choir Stalls of Lincoln Cathedral, Chester Cathedral and St Mary’s Church, Nantwich'’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, vol. 161 (2008), pp. 104–130

Art Exhibitions

Infinite Geometries: Exploring the Arts of the Medieval Islamic World

Student work

Renaissance Venice: Mapping Intercultural Artistic Connections