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Dr. Elena  Calvillo
Dr. Elena Calvillo
Associate Professor of Art History

Elena Calvillo’s research and writing have focused on artistic service and imitative strategies in sixteenth-century papal Rome.  She is broadly interested in theories of representation and cultural translation and brokerage in Italy, Spain and Portugal in the sixteenth century. She has published several articles on the Croatian miniaturist Giulio Clovio at the court of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and the writings of Clovio’s Portuguese contemporary Francisco de Holanda.  Her most recent study, “Authoritative Copies and Divine Originals: Lucretian Metaphor, Painting on Stone and the Problem of Originality in Michelangelo’s Rome,” Renaissance Quarterly  66 (2013), considers techniques of painting developed by Clovio, Holanda, and Sebastiano del Piombo in the context artistic theory and practice during the Tridentine period. She continues to work on the technique of oil painting on stone supports and the Roman career of Sebastiano del Piombo and is editing a collection of papers on the practice in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. She is also completing her book manuscript on Clovio, “The Cardinal’s Artist: Giulio Clovio and artistic Service in Sixteenth-century Rome,” and has begun a new book project that examines, on one hand, the way in which artists experienced and reproduced in novel or precious media the canonical forms of Early Modern Rome and, on the other hand, the ways in which collectors outside of Italy received and valued these artistic translations.  

Selected Publications

Almost Eternal: Painting on Stone and Material Innovation in Early Modern Europe, (Leiden: Brill, 2018)


“L’epopea in un guscio di noce: Giulio Clovio e la questione della scala dimensionale (Epic in a Nutshell: Giulio Clovio and the Question of Scale)”, trans. Marcella Marongiu, in Michelangelo e “la maniera delle figure piccole,” ed. Marcella Marongiu. Buonarrotiana. Studi su Michelangelo e la famiglia Buonarroti, 1 (Florence: EDIFIR-Edizioni, 2019), pp. 83-94.

Inventive Translation, Portraiture, and Spanish Hapsburg Taste in the Sixteenth Century,” in The Spanish Presence in Sixteenth-century Italy: Images of Iberia, pp. 175-97, eds. Piers Baker-Bates and Miles Pattenden. Transculturalisms, 1400-1700 (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015).

“Authoritative Copies and Divine Originals: Lucretian Metaphor, Painting on Stone, and the Problem of Originality in Michelangelo’s Rome” Renaissance Quarterly 66 (2013): 453-508.

“Reading Pliny in Francisco de Holanda’s Roman Dialogues,”Gifts in Return: Essays in Honor of Charles Dempsey, pp. 263-96, ed. Melinda Schlitt. Essays and Studies, 30, ed. Konrad Eisenbichler (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2012).

Buon Giudizio e Miniatura della Controriforma per il Cardinal Farnese,” in the commentary volume for the facsimile of Il Farnese Lezionario, ed. Jonathan J.G. Alexander (Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini Editore, 2008), pp. 63-96.

“Some New Contexts for the Farnese Hours,” in Umjetnički dodiri dviju jadranskih obala u 17. i 18. stoljeću (Split: Knjizevni Krug, 2007), pp. 137-52.

“‘Il Gran Miniatore’ at the Court of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese,” in Artists at Court: Image-Making and Identity, 1350-1550, ed. Stephen J. Campbell (Chicago/Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, distributed by the University of Chicago Press, 2004), pp. 163-75, 238-44.

 “Romanità and Grazia: Giulio Clovio’s Pauline Frontispieces for Marino Grimani,” The Art Bulletin LXXXII, no. 2 (2000): 280-97.


No Stranger in Foreign Lands”: Francisco de Hollanda’s Translation of Italian Art and Art Theory” in Trust and Proof: Translators in Renaissance Print Culture, ed. Andrea Rizzi (Leiden: Brill, 2017), pp. 112-45.

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University 2003
M.A., Johns Hopkins University 1995
A.B., University of Michigan 1991
History of Art
Contact Information
314 Visual Arts Building
(804) 484-1575
(804) 287-6006 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Renaissance and Baroque Art History
Museum Studies