Marsha Libina

Assistant Professor

  • Department: Art History and Fine Arts
  • Office: 
    C-504
  • Office Hours: 
    By appointment

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Professor Libina specializes in the art of Renaissance Italy, with a focus on artistic responses to the religious controversies of the Catholic Reformation. She is particularly interested in the artistic image as an object of visual attention and devotional engagement. Her work equally deals with questions of materiality and mediality in art – that is, with the ways images contend with their status as material fictions but also vehicles of knowledge in the early modern period. Libina has published on the devotional painting of Sebastiano del Piombo, revealing the Venetian artist's deep commitment to thinking through the figuration of the divine and the problematic of human mediation of divine truths within early Catholic reform. Libina has also published on works made for artists' academies in Florence and Rome after the Council of Trent as part of her second project, "The Artist as Visionary and the Authority of Pictorial Invention." The project investigates the intersection of discourses on the artist’s imagination and the dangers of visionary experience in early modern academies of art. In particular, it looks at reform-minded thinkers’ attempts to reign in the license of imaginative vision and the rise of works that, despite these attempts, lay claim to the visionary power of the artist.



Education/Degrees

  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
    Hon. B.Sc., University of Toronto

Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Visions in Stone: Illusion, Animation and the Devotional Gaze in the Art of Northern Italy.” Renaissance Studies, online Early View (2021): 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1111/rest.12763
  • “Picturing Time and Eternity in Sebastiano del Piombo’s Viterbo Pietà.” The Sixteenth Century Journal 51, no.2 (2020): 385-418. 
  • “Divine Visions: Image-Making and Imagination in Pictures of St. Luke Painting the Virgin.” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut) 61, no.3 (2019): 235-263.
  • “‘False Prophecies,’ Scripture, and the Crisis of Mediation in Early Modern Rome: Sebastiano del Piombo’s Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro in Montorio.” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance 21, no.1 (2018): 67-104.

Books

  • Sebastiano del Piombo and the Sacred Image: Mediating the Divine in the Age of Reform. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers (in press, Spring 2022).

Book Reviews

  • “Review of Robert Williams. Raphael and the Redefinition of Art in Renaissance Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.” Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 42, no.1 (2019): 424-27.

Conferences & Lectures

Panels Organized

  • 2022. “Bodily Relics and Anatomies of the Sacred.” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Dublin. March 30-April 2, 2022.
  • 2021. “Illusion and Early Modern Simulacra,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Virtual. April 13-22, 2021. Co-organized with Grace Harpster.
  • 2019. “The Artist’s Faculties and the Artistic Process,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Toronto. March 17-19, 2019. Co-organized with Colin Murray.
  • 2018. “Visions and the Reliability of Sight, 1500-1700,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), New Orleans. March 22-24, 2018. Co-organized with Alexandra Letvin.
  • 2017. Workshop. “Early Modern Vision: The Imagination and the Religious Image,” Lichtenberg Kolleg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Göttingen. November 6-7, 2017.

Panels Chaired

  • 2019. The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto. January 15, 2019.

Papers Presented

  • 2022. “Sebastiano del Piombo and the Materiality of the Sacred,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Dublin. March 30-April 2, 2022.
  • 2021. “Visions in Stone: Illusion and the Devotional Gaze in Borromeo’s Sacred Images,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Virtual. April 20, 2021.
  • 2020. “Visions in Stone and the Devotional Gaze in Borromeo’s Sacred Images,” Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC), Baltimore. October 29-November 1, 2020 (conference cancelled).
  • 2019. “Artists’ Academies and the Ideation of ‘Divine Things’ in the Age of Reform,” Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Toronto. March 17-19, 2019.
  • 2019. “‘The Flux and Fog of Matter’: Materiality and the Senses in Sebastiano del Piombo’s Devotional Painting,” Fellows Seminar Series, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto. February 8, 2019.
  • 2018. “The Illusion of Vision: Artistic Fictions and Religious Experience,” The Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC), University of Waterloo. October 25-28, 2018.
  • 2018. “The Artist as Visionary and the Legend of St. Luke Painting the Virgin,” The Renaissance Society of America (RSA), New Orleans. March 22-24, 2018.
  • 2017. “Divine Visions: Image-Making and Imagination in Early Modern Academies of Art,” Lichtenberg-Kolleg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Göttingen. November 15, 2017.
  • 2017. “Vision and the Mediality of Art in Pictures of St. Luke Painting the Virgin.” Medialität und Materialität “großer Narrative”: Religiöse (Re-)Formationen, Universität Salzburg, Krems on der Donau. September 27-29, 2017. 
  • 2016. “‘False Prophecies’: Scripture and the Crisis of Mediation in Early Modern Rome.” The Renaissance Society of America (RSA), Boston. March 31-April 2, 2016. 
  • 2014. “Meditation on Motion and Stillness in Sebastiano del Piombo’s Viterbo Pietà.” The Renaissance Society of America (RSA), New York. March 27-29, 2014.

Research Areas

  • Devotional art and religious reform
  • Vision and imagination
  • Discourses on idolatry
  • Artists' academies
  • Artistic collaboration
  • Relationship between theory and practice

Curriculum Vitae