Dr Maria Loh


Early Modern Italian art and theory

Email: m.loh@ucl.ac.uk



Dr. Maria H. Loh is a Reader in the history of early modern Italian art and theory. She received her BA in History from McGill University (1993), a CEAP from the Ecole Régionale des Beaux Arts de Rennes (1995), a Licence in History of Art from the Université de Rennes (1996), and her MA and PhD (2003) from the University of Toronto. She was a predoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute (2000-2002), a junior research fellow at St Hilda’s College Oxford (2003-2004), the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2007-2009), and a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2012-2013). 

She is interested in ghosts and portraiture. Her new book Still Lives: Death, Desire, and the Portrait of the Old Master (Princeton University Press, 2015) focuses on the perfidious nature of portraits, the perishable body of the artist, and the multiple lives that rise from the ashes of the dead. Maria Loh Still Lives


She has published on:

  • repetition and desire in art;
  • the function of multiples and replicas in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy; 
  • 'special affects' in early modern Italian painting and sculpture;
  • portraiture and loss;
  • remakes in cinema.

She is the author of Titian Remade. Repetition and the Transformation of Early Modern Italian Art (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007)

Reviews of Titian Remade (PDF):


  • She is the editor of and a contributor to Early Modern Horror (Special Issue: Oxford Art Journal), Vol. 34, no. 3 (2011)
  • "Early Modern Horror opens up a larger conversation about how images move us, change us, transform us, infect us, haunt us, and push us to think and to feel beyond ourselves. As a heuristic device, Early Modern Horror presents itself as a means to look awry, to look anew, and to look differently at the visual cultures of the distant past in ways productive for students and art historians in the present."

Selected publications:

  • ‘“I Am Not Who You Think I Am”: Attributing the Humanist Portrait, Identifying the Art-Historical Subject’, Fictions of Art History, eds. Michael Hatt and Mark Ledbury (Williamstown: Clark Art Institute, 2013).

Forthcoming publications

  • ‘Custodia degli occhi: Discipline and Desire in Post-Tridentine Italian Art’ in The Sensuous and the Church, ed. Tracy Cooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).


Potential doctoral students pursuing innovative research on early modern topics (c. 1500-1700) should get in contact with her directly to discuss their research project at: m.loh@ucl.ac.uk

She teaches undergraduate courses on: 

  • ‘Metamorphosis in the Italian Renaissance’;
  • ‘Art and Power in Renaissance Venice’; 
  • ‘Tears of Eros: Love and Death in Italian Art c.1500-1700’. (2013-2014)

And offers graduate seminars on:

  • ‘Theories of Authorship in Early Modern Italian Art’;   
  • 'Early Modern Horror'. (2013-2014)

Personal Statement

(The following comments do not reflect the opinions of the Department of History of Art per se or UCL at large).  

This is not the service industry.

As instructors in British Higher Education are being pushed by Senior Management Teams and other non-academic consultancy groups to consider themselves as providers of 'relevant vocational skills' for Students (who have been rebranded in the marketing-speak of both New Labour and the Cameronian Big Society as 'Clients'), it is my strict belief that education is the pursuit of knowledge by those Students—not 'Clients'—who seek to better themselves and the world in which they live, and not to fill in the pie-charts of 'Client Satisfaction Surveys'. A university education directed for the myopic goal of making money in the 'real world' is not an education, nor should it become the business of universities—that is the universe of business. Historically, the fast-track solution in which employment was the means to financial independence was the trajectory for those who could not afford an education because of either financial and/or academic restrictions. Now it is becoming the model even for those who have the privilege of spending the springtime of their young maturity learning how to learn. Not all of my Students will become art historians or work in the other varied art and culture industries, but it is my 'Aim and Objective' that all of my Students will become critical, thinking citizens of a future that they will help to build.  


A list of publications is available from UCL's Institutional Research Information Service via the Iris link below.