“My work explores the role of images in reflecting and creating attitudes and ideologies in western culture. I focus on the late medieval period, a transitional period in which changing systems of thought, including the Franciscan movement, encouraged a new naturalism and humanism in the arts. I am especially interested in the intersections of art, theology, and cultural definitions of gender.”
A specialist in medieval art, Amy Neff received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her thesis studied the artistic interaction between two medieval cultures, Italy and Byzantium. Recent publications have focused on the impact of the Franciscan movement on the arts and on the imagery of women. These include “The Pain of Compassion: Mary’s Labor at the Foot of the Cross,” in The Art Bulletin (1998); “‘Palma dabit palmam’: A Franciscan Program of Devotion,” in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (2002); and “Lesser Brothers: Franciscan Mission and Identity at Assisi,” Art Bulletin (2006). Dr. Neff was a contributor to the catalogue of Byzantium: Faith and Power, 1261-1557, a major exhibition that opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in March 2004; more recently, she authored an essay for the catalogue of the exhibition, Sanctity Pictured, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (2014). Her book, A Soul’s Journey into God: Art, Devotion, and Franciscan Theology in a late Duecento Manuscript will be published in 2015 by the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. Dr. Neff’s awards include the Rome Prize of the American Academy in Rome and fellowships from the Center for Advanced Studies of the National Gallery of Art, the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
PhD, University of Pennsylvania