John Renner - The Courtauld Institute of Art

John Renner

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Dr John Renner

Associate Lecturer

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John Renner teaches courses on Italian art of the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance. He read History and French at Oxford and, after some years in journalism and broadcasting, he took an MA in Art History at Birkbeck College and a PhD at the Courtauld Institute. His research focuses on the art of the mendicant orders in Italy during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, especially the Franciscans.

Research interests

  • Painting, sculpture and stained glass in late medieval and early Renaissance Italy
  • Art for the Franciscan Order
  • Art and theology/ image and text in the Middle Ages
  • Narrative and allegory in visual art

Recent conference papers and talks

  • ‘St Francis and the Angels: Reconsidering the Vele in Assisi’, Cambridge Medieval Art Seminar Series, November 2019
  • ‘Trecento Glories: Two Frescoes of St Francis’, Medieval Work in Progress Seminar, Research Forum, Courtauld Institute, May 2019
  • ‘A Treasure-Chest for Paupers: The Sacristy of the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce, Florence, and its Fourteenth-Century Decoration’, Secret Spaces: Medieval Sacristies, Vestries and Treasure Houses and their Contents, Conference, Society of Antiquaries, February 2019
  • Noctem clarere fecit: Taddeo Gaddi, Blinding Light and the Transfiguration of St Francis’, Light and Darkness in Pre-Modern Visual Cultures, Research Forum Seminar, Courtauld Institute, November 2018


  • ‘Dating the windows by the Maestro di San Francesco in Assisi’, The Burlington Magazine 160 (2018), pp. 470-77
  • ‘Bonaventure and the Maestro di San Francesco’, in Aesthetic Theology in the Franciscan Tradition: The Senses and the Experience of God in Art, ed. by Xavier Seubert and Oleg Bychkov (New York & London: Routledge, 2020), pp. 20-48
  • ‘The Sculpted Saint: A Statue of St Francis in Siena’, in Circling Giotto: Essays in Honour of Joanna Cannon, ed. by Donal Cooper and Beth Williamson (Boydell Press, forthcoming)


  • Book review: A Soul’s Journey: Franciscan Art, Theology and Devotion in the Supplicationes variae, by Amy Neff (PIMS Toronto, 2019), in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 162 (June 2020)
  • Book review: Cimabue and the Franciscans, by Holly Flora (Harvey Miller, London & Toronto, 2018), in Speculum, vol. 95/3 (July 2020)


  • Research Fellowship, Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte, Florence (2011)
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

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