Claire Renkin, BA, DipEd, AMusA, MA, PhD

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Claire Renkin has been teaching art history and spirituality at YTU since 2001. Her teaching areas include the art and architecture of the Early Christians and Byzantium, and the art and spirituality of the late Middle Ages. In addition to these topics Claire co-teaches units on death, dying and bereavement in art and spirituality, and the history of Mary in the Christian tradition.  In addition to her teaching at YTU she lectures regularly throughout Australia on the intersection of visual art, theology and spirituality. Her research and publications focuses on the role of gender and devotion in depictions of female sanctity in European art from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period, c. 1350-1650. Claire together with Sr Angela Slattery ibvm is researching a little-known cycle of fifty paintings of the life of Mary Ward 1585-1645, the founder of the Institute of the Virgin Mary also known as Loretos.

Her Publications include the following:

“Sanctity.” In Imagination, Books and Community in Medieval Europe, edited by Greg Kratzman. 173-181. Melbourne: Macmillan Art Publishing, 2010.
“Visualising Spiritual Intimacy in the Franciscan Tradition: An Image from a German Fifteenth-Century Life of St Clare.” In Interpreting Francis and Clare of Assisi: From the Middle Ages to the Present, edited by Constant J Mews and Claire Renkin. 255-70. Melbourne: Broughton Publishing, 2010.
“Real Presence: Seeing, Touching, Tasting: Visualising the Eucharist in Late Medieval Art.” In Reinterpreting the Eucharist. Explorations in Feminist Theology and Ethics, edited by Anne Elvey, Kim Power, Claire Renkin and Carol Hogan. 131-151. London: Equinox Publishing, 2013.
“’A Feast of Love’: Visual Images of SS. Francis of Assisi and Mary Magdalen and late Medieval Mendicant Devotion.” In Poverty and Devotion in Mendicant Cultures 1200 – 1450, edited by Constant Mews and Anna Welch. 92-104. London: Routledge, 2016.


Claire supervises research on the intersection of art history, visual culture and spirituality in Europe from the late Middle Ages through the Early Modern period. She especially welcomes projects that explore the connections between gender, devotion and changing concepts of holiness in the period c. 1350-1700.

Claire has supervised successful master’s level and Ph.D  projects on a commentary on scenes from the Life of St Catherine of Siena  painted by Giovanni di Paolo c. 1461; Joseph Willem’s Chelsea Pietà and the devotional function of porcelain sculpture on religious subjects in 18thcentury England; Mary Ward: Her Life and Spirituality in Visual Images; The relevance of the ‘death desired’ as visualized in fifteenth-century Books of Hours to the ‘good death’ of contemporary palliative care, and Franciscan Liturgy and Identities: The Codex Sancti Paschalisand Networks of Manuscript Production in Umbria 1280-1350. A current research student is working on women, men and monastic life in northern Germany, c. 1450-1520.

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