Amanda Lillie - Department of History of Art, University of York (2024)

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BA (Auckland), MA, PhD (Courtauld Institute, London)

Amanda Lillie's research interests focus on fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italian art and architecture, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which buildings and works of art were shaped by social and economic conditions and ideological concerns. She is currently writing a second book on Florentine Renaissance Villas. Other interests include domestic interiors, patronage, concepts of place, the early development of landscape painting, and relations between town and country.



Amanda Lillie began work on Florentine villas of the fifteenth century with the aim of questioning the urban bias in renaissance studies and of extending the narrow canon of renaissance villa scholarship that, in the case of Florence, was focussed almost exclusively on the Medici. Her book on the country properties of the Strozzi and Sassetti clans, published by Cambridge University Press in 2005, addresses this problem by examining non-Medicean art and architectural patronage in the countryside. Rather than taking aesthetic merit as the criterion for selection this book examines a wide range of rural buildings by way of their historical, geographic and social contexts. A second book to be published by Yale University Press is a broader study of Florentine villas in the early renaissance exploring the interconnections between town and country, and addressing neglected areas such as the castellated villa, religious life in the country and the villas of the humanists. She has published on the villas and patronage of the Sassetti, Strozzi and Medici families, documents relating to the Piovano Arlotto, domestic chapels, memory of place, architectural models, a study of how renaissance buildings were conceived in relation to climate, Donatello's representations of air, and on Fiesole as a penitential landscape.

Research group(s)

  • Architectural History and Theory
  • Medieval Art and Medievalisms
  • Sculpture Studies
  • Renaissance and Baroque Cluster


  • AHRC Fellowship
    Between April 2013 and October 2014, Amanda was granted a AHRC Fellowship of£136,942 to fund research on 'Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting'.
  • University of York Strategic Intiative Fund
  • C. £6,500 grant awarded to cover teaching in the Autumn term from October –December 2012.
  • British Academy Small Research Grant
    £7,000 to fund trips to Italy to research Yale University Press book,2007-2009.
  • Lila Wallace - Reader’s Digest Special Grant
    $(US)8,000 in 2003 from the USA to help finance the illustration programme for the Cambridge University Press Book 'Florentine Villas in the Fifteenth Century'.


Amanda has wide interests in the history and culture of late medieval and early modern Italy c.1300-c.1600, and is committed to interdisciplinary work as well as to object-based art and architectural history.In the last few years Amanda Lillie has supervised successful PhDs on 16th and 17th-century Italian horticultural traditions and the emergence of the flower garden, on house, households and property management in fifteenth-century Florence and on the material culture of domestic religion in early modern Florence. Having worked extensively in the Florentine archives she is willing to undertake tailor-made training for individual PhD students working with specific types of document. She would welcome enquiries from those wanting to undertake postgraduate research in any of the above or related areas.

Amanda's supervision includes PhDs on:

  • Fictive Architecture in C15th Italian Painting (AHRC)
  • The Sensualisation of the Man of Sorrows in the work of Rosso Fiorentino
  • The Virgin’s House and other Architectural Narratives in Renaissance Marian Painting’ (AHRC CDA with National Gallery)
  • The Gardens of the Rev William Mason (1724-1797) (AHRC)
  • The Exhibition and Reception of British Art in late C19th Australia (co-supervised with Sarah Turner)
  • The Material Culture of Domestic Religion in early modern Florence (funded by an Overseas Student award and a departmental scholarship)


Selected publications


  • Florentine Villas In The Fifteenth Century: An Architectural and Social History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Revised paperback edition, 2011.

Chapters in Books

  • ‘Artists interpreting Water in Fourteenth and Fifteenth-Century Tuscany’ inLe civiltà delle acque dal Medioevo al Rinascimento, eds. Arturo Calzona, Francesco Paolo Fiore and Daniela Lamberini, (Centro Studi Leon Battista Alberti, Florence 2010) Vol. I, pp. 315-328.
  • 'Sculpting the Air. Donatello's narratives of the environment' inDepth of Field: Relief Sculpture in Renaissance Italy, eds. Donal Cooper and Marika Leino, Peter Lang, (Oxford, 2007), pp.97-124
  • 'Planen für das Wetter. Microklima und Umweltstrategien in der italienischen Architekturtheorie und Baupraxis des 15. Jahrhunderts', in B. Busch ed., (Luft, Bonn, 2003), pp. 162-182
  • `Memory of Place: luogo and lineage in the fifteenth-century Florentine countryside', inArt, Memory and the Family in Early Renaissance Florence, eds.G. Ciappelli and P. Rubin(Cambridge University Press, New York, 2000)
  • 'Cappelle e chiese delle ville medicee ai tempi di Michelozzo”, in Michelozzo scultore e architetto (1396-1472), ed. G. Morolli,(Florence: Centro Di, 89-98, 1998).
  • `The patronage of villa chapels and oratories near Florence: a typology of private religion', inWith and Without the Medici: Studies in Tuscan Art and Patronage 1435-1530, eds.A. Wright and E. Marchand,(Ashgate, 1998)
  • 'The Humanist Villa Revisited', inLanguage and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed.A. Brown(Oxford, 1995), pp. 193-215
  • 'Giovanni di Cosimo and the Villa Medici at Fiesole', inPiero de'Medici "il Gottoso" 1416-1469, eds.A. Beyer and B. Boucher (Berlin, 1993), pp. 189-205
  • 'The Piovano Arlotto: New Documents' (with F.W. Kent) in Florence and Italy. Renaissance Studies in Honour of Nicolai Rubinstein, eds.Denley, P. and Elam, C. (ed.) (Westfield, London: 1988) pp. 347-367.
  • 'Francesco Sassetti and his Villa at la Pietra', inOxford, China and Italy. Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday, eds. E.Chaney and N. Ritchie, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1984) pp. 83-93.


  • 'Fiesole: Locus Amoenus or Penitential Landscape?', I Tatti Studies. Essays in the Renaissance, Vol. XI, (2008), pp. 123-168
  • 'Lorenzo de' Medici's Rural Investments and Territorial Expansion', Rinascimento. Rivista dell'Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, Vol. XXXIII, 1993, pp.53-67
  • 'Vita di palazzo, vita in villa: l'attività edilizia di Filippo Strozzi il Vecchio', in D. Lamberini (ed.), Palazzo Strozzi metà millenio 1489-1989 ( Rome, 1991), pp. 167-182

Practice-based Research

  • ‘Titian, Portrait of a Woman known as “La Schiavona”, c.1510-12’, in Sculpture in Painting, exhibition 10 October 2009- 10 January 2010, Henry Moore Institute Leeds, catalogue ed. Penelope Curtis, (The Henry Moore Foundation, 2009) pp. 80-83.
  • Lillie, A., 'Villa Medici a Fiesole', 'Biagio d’Antonio (c.1445- 1510), Anunciazione', commissioned essay and catalogue entries for an exhibition of 168 works held in the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio in Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, Vicenza from March-July 2005. The catalogue was published in Italian, Beltramini G. and Burns, H.(ed.) Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarca a Carlo Scarpa, (Venice: Marsilio, 2005).

Edited CD-Roms

  • 'Art Theorists of the Italian Renaissance' withHoward, D. (eds) (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 2 CD-ROMs, 1997-98).



  • Art & Patronage in 15th Century Florence
  • Raphael, Michelangelo and High Renaissance Rome
  • Art in Venice from Bellini to Tintoretto


  • Research Sources, Skills and Methods
  • The Domestic Interior in Italy c. 1400-c.1550
  • Cities and their Hinterlands

External activities


  • 2011-present Editorial Board of Art History
  • 2011-present: Advisor to York Art Gallery on planning and content of new Italian Renaissance display
  • 1999–continuing: on advisory board of Villa Gamberaia, Settignano, Florence, a celebrated historic villa and garden, now being transformed into a centre for academic research and conferences with the help of a group of international advisors.

Invited talks and conferences

  • The wooden models of Palazzo Strozzi as flexible instruments in the design process
    International Giuliano da Sangallo conference: Centro di Architettura, Vicenza, June 2012
  • Invited lecture on Florentine Villas
    University of Pisa, April 2012
  • The Rest of the Picture
    Looking for Meaning in Renaissance Art: Warburg Institute, London, November 2011.
  • Castellation as Seignuerial paradigm
    The Medici in the fifteenth-century: Signori of Florence? : Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Florence, October 2011.
  • International Workshop on Giuliano da Sangallo
    Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, September 2011
  • Artists interpreting water in fourteenth and fifteenth-century Tuscany
    Society for Renaissance Studies Fourth International Conference: York, July 2010
  • Fiesole as a penitential landscape
    Courtauld Institute, London, October 2010.
  • Artists interpreting water in fifteenth-century Tuscany
    La Civiltà delle Acque tra Medioevo e Rinascimento: Mantua, October 2008. Published by Olschki, Florence in 2009. Funded by the Centro Studi Leon Battista Alberti.
  • Artists interpreting sacred meteorology in fifteenth-century Tuscany
    Society for Renaissance Studies Third International Conference: Trinity College Dublin, July 2008. Invited speaker for session on Responses to Natural Disaster in the Renaissance.
  • Gothic in the Renaissance
    Renaissance Architecture and Theory Scholars (RATS) annual meeting: Oxford Brookes University, June 2008.
  • Sculpture in Painting
    For related exhibition at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds: May 2008. Contribution made to catalogue for exhibition, published 2009.
  • Research visit to the villa, gardens and estate of La Pietra
    For staff of New York University, November 2007. The recording was archived for the benefit of staff and students of NYU.
  • Fiesole: locus amoenus or penitential landscape?
    Public lecture for New York University, La Pietra Campus, September 2007.
  • Art and Faith in Renaissance Italy
    Italian Forum Workshop:University of Manchester, June 2007
  • Space and air: terms, concepts and mentalities in C15th Italy
    Architectural History and Theory Research School Study Day: History of Art Department, University of York, February 2007.
  • Fiesole: locus amoenus or penitential landscape?
    Renaissance Society of America, San Francisco,2006. Funded by the Kress Foundation of New York.
  • Presentation on exhibition
    Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, Vicenza, June 2005. Invited and funded to help present a major new exhibition to a group of scholars and to participate in the seminar and field trips organized around the exhibition.
  • La Masseria di Filippo Strozzi a Napoli e i primi sviluppi dell’architettura da giardino
    Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, Florence, 2004. Funded by the Italian National Institute for Renaissance Studies.
  • Sculpting the Air: Donatello’s narratives of the environment
    Public lecture to accompany an exhibition on 'Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello', Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2004.
  • Designing for the Weather: Microclimates and Environmental Strategies in Fifteenth-Century Italian Architectural Theory and Practice
    Italian Forum,University of Manchester, December2003.Part of a workshop on ‘The Italian Renaissance Villa’.
  • Designing for the Weather: Microclimates and Environmental Strategies in Fifteenth-Century Italian Architectural Theory and Practice
    “Luft” [Air]: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle des Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, 2002.
  • Designing for the Weather: Microclimates and Environmental Strategies in the Fifteenth-Century Florentine Countryside
    Air in the Renaissance: Warburg Insitute, London, June2002.
  • Hierarchies of Housing and Social Status in Renaissance Italy
    Norwegian Institute in Rome, 2000.

Amanda Lillie - Department of History of Art, University of York (2)

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Professor AmandaLillie

Emeritus Professor

Department of History of Art


Amanda Lillie - Department of History of Art, University of York (2024)
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