18 Nov 2008

Open University researcher receives prestigious prize for putting Renaissance Rome on art history map.

Dr Carol Richardson, Lecturer in Art History at The Open University, has scooped one of the prestigious Philip Leverhulme prizes for 2008. The prizes, worth £70,000 each, are awarded to outstanding young scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study.

One of Dr Richardson’s most significant research achievements to date has been to help put Renaissance Rome on the art historical map. Her scholarly initiatives and substantial archival research have enabled a series of articles, book chapters, conferences and international seminars, and a forthcoming monograph and edited collection, which have redrawn and enriched cultural and art historical assumptions about Renaissance Rome. Her work addresses the relationship between history, culture and art, as is illustrated in her pioneering studies of artefacts created to mark, celebrate or defend monuments of triumph and crisis in Papal Rome.

In her nomination, Professor Gill Perry, Head of Art History, praised Dr Richardson for being a researcher of exceptional abilities, and said: “Her commitment to disseminate and enhance art historical research has led to the production of several important collaborative publications and projects, and her planned future research shows enormous promise.”

Commenting on the award, Dr Richardson said: “I am delighted to receive recognition for this exciting part of my work. Renaissance Rome is generally viewed as a poor cousin of Florence, and my research involves careful reconstruction of fifteenth century monuments, those in old St. Peter’s being the prime example; close scrutiny of some renaissance stereotypes, such as the unchanging nature of the papacy; and an approach that combines the study of art, architecture, archaeology, religion and history.”

Editor's notes
1. The Philip Leverhulme Prizes commemorate the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of the Founder.
The broad fields of research covered by this year s awards were:
- Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
- History of Art
- Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern History
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Zoology
- Earth, Ocean

2. The Art History department specialises in high quality research and teaching relating to four broad areas of art and architectural history. These include the Renaissance, particularly Italian art and architecture; art and art theory from the seventeenth through to the twentieth century; recent and contemporary art; and eighteenth and twentieth-century architecture. The Department has been awarded a grade 5 in the last two Research Assessment exercises (1996, 2001), and continue to expand its research activities. The Department is particularly proud of collaborations with museums and galleries, including Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Milton Keynes Gallery.

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