Claire N. Ptaschinski’s research considers the languages used to describe Baroque chapels in the 17th century to reveal how an ecological mindset transformed the Baroque built environment, integrating chapel spaces into the urban landscape and broader global networks. 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 ecocritical art history and new materialism to provide a fresh analysis of three 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. Her dissertation develops this material to analyze Roman Baroque chapels in the long 17th century by examining typologies of the built environment through the theological and artistic languages used to describe them, thereby revealing how an ecological mindset transforms the Baroque bel composto.
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.’”
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture, in progress
Advanced to Candidacy, October 2022
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”
“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.
“Ecology and Chapel Design: Athanasius Kircher, Melchiorre Cafà, and Santa Caterina,” 2022 Multidisciplinary Conference in Premodern Studies, Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies, January 2022
“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
Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2023-2024
European Studies Center Graduate Student Professional Development Grant to Participate in the Winter Seminar in Paleography and Archival Studies, Medici Archive Project, Florence, 2023
Wilkinson Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in Premodern Art, University of Pittsburgh, 2022
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