History of Art and Architecture

Claire N. Ptaschinski

Biography

Claire N. Ptaschinski’s research addresses the role of early modern natural history and metaphysical theory in shaping a connection between meaning and materiality in the creation of 16th- and 17th-century chapels in Rome and in the global Catholic world. Her MA Thesis, “The Ecology of Chapel Design in Baroque Rome,” which won the 2021 Early Modern Worlds Biennial Graduate Essay Prize at the University of Pittsburgh, built upon the language of ecocritical art history and new materialism to provide a fresh analysis of three chapel spaces in 17th-century Rome. In Summer 2021, she received funding from the Bibliotheca Hertziana to participate in the Summer School, “Cultures of Art and Science in Rome, 1400-1900,” cosponsored by the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, to advance this research and explore the common visual language embedded in the design of the high altar of Santa Caterina a Magnanapoli and early modern mineralogical printed books. As she works to develop this material into a dissertation project, she seeks to examine the ways in which the design of Baroque chapel spaces presents a holistic and ecological worldview in line with Counter-Reformation thought.

Claire began her graduate studies in the History of Art and Architecture at Pitt in 2019 after spending several years working in museums, publishing, and academic administration. Just prior to joining Pitt’s department, she worked in the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago where she had the opportunity to contribute to the development of a new Italian Paleography website, a digital resource for the study of the Newberry’s hybrid version of Georg Rem’s Emblemata Politica, and a print catalogue published by Northwestern University Press for the Fall 2020 exhibition, “Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s ‘Nova Reperta.’”

Education Details

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture, in progress

M.A., University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture, 2021
Thesis: “The Ecology of Chapel Design in Baroque Rome”

M.A., Texas Christian University, Art History, 2013
Thesis: “Edward Burne-Jones, G.E. Street, and the American Church in Rome: Revivalism, Religion, and Identity”

B.A., University of Dallas, History, 2011
Thesis: “Bernard Berenson and the American Expatriate Tradition”

Selected Publications

“Vannoccio Biringucci, De la pirotechnia,” “Georg Agricola, De re metallica,” “Johannes Stradanus, Passio, mors, et resurrectio Dn. Nostri Iesv Christi,” “Tommaso Campanella, Civitas Solis,” and “Lucretius, De rerum natura,” in Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s Nova Reperta, edited by Lia Markey. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2020

“The Curious Collection of George Hubbard Clapp,” in The Curious Drawings of Dr. Clapp, edited by Christopher Nygren and Alex J. Taylor. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2019

Selected Presentations

“Material Iconographies, Natural History, and the High Altar of the Chiesa di Santa Caterina a Magnanapoli in Rome by Melchiorre Cafà,” Cultures of Science and Art, 1400-1900, The Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institut of Art History, July 2021

“Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, his Teatro de Virtudes Politicas, and the Project of Mediterraneanization,” Contact, Colonialism, and Comparison, Antiquity in the Americas, Virtual Conference, April 2021

Selected Awards

Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institut for Art History Grant to Attend Summer School: Cultures of Science and Art, 1400-1900, The Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 2021

Early Modern Worlds Biennial Graduate Essay Prize, University of Pittsburgh, 2021

Arts & Sciences Summer Research Grant for Italian Language Study at the Scuola della Società Dante Alighieri di Roma, 2021

Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Graduate Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, 2019–2020