Mary Quinlan, Ph.D.

Title: Professor
Department: Art History
Office Location: Art Building, Room 201C
Office Phone: 815-753-7850
Office Fax: 815-753-7701


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    William Rainey Harper Dissertation Prize, Division of Humanities
  • M.A., Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
  • B.A., St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Hunter College, New York, New York
    Completed one year toward a Master of Arts in Studio Art with Robert Morris and Tony Smith

Current Research

  • History of vision and visual psychology
  • Sixteenth century European iconoclasms
  • Basic chem-physics and mathematics of the Early Modern world as these relate to artworks
  • Intersections between science, religion and art
  • Secular arts that incorporated scientific understandings of the universe
  • Poetry and art interrelations

Teaching Emphasis

  • Vision and visual psychology
  • Study of Nature by artists and scientists
  • Early Modern European intellectual history and art
  • Italian Renaissance art, art practices, and audience reception
  • Art and religious practices
  • Art in war propaganda
  • Research practices and publications in art history

Courses Taught

  • ARTH 282 - Introduction to World Arts
  • ARTH 330/530 - Studies in Early Modern European Art
    • Early Italian Renaissance Art
    • Sixteenth Century Italian Art
    • European Art of the Sixteenth Century
  • ARTH 331 Art and Science before 1800
  • ARTH 486 Art Historical Methodology
  • ARTH Topics and Seminars
    • Artists' uses of the history of vision
    • Art and iconoclasms
    • Images of war

Major Publications


  • Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013 (reissued in paperback 2016)
  • In progress: Art, Optics, and Iconoclasms in Sixteenth Century Europe (recipient National Science Foundation Scholar's Award, 2018)


  • "Raphael's School of Athens: ‘Theologians reconciling philosophy and astrology'." Memoirs of the American Academy Rome, 2016.
  • "The Sala dei Pontefici Vault: Raphael's Workshop and Napoleon's Troops." Memoirs of the American Academy Rome, 2004.
  • "The Horoscope(s) for St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, 1506," Isis: the Journal of the History of Science and its Cultural Influences, 2001.
  • "Caprarola's Sala della Cosmografia." Renaissance Quarterly, 1997.
  • "The Villa Farnesina, Time-telling Conventions and Renaissance Astrological Practice." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1995.
  • "Blosius Palladius, Suburbanum Augustini Chisii. Introduction, Latin Text and English Translation," Humanistica Lovaniensia: The Journal of Neo-Latin Studies, 1990.
  • "Aegidius Gallus, De viridario Augustini Chigii: Vera Libellus: Introduction, Latin Text and English Translation." Humanistica Lovaniensia: The Journal of Neo-Latin Studies, 1989.
  • "A Proposal for the Foundation Date of the Villa Farnesina." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1986.
  • "The Astrological Vault of the Villa Farnesina: Agostino Chigi's Rising Sign." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1984.