History of Art


Sena Lee

Sena Lee



Re-Framing Mythological Pictorial Space in Seventeenth-Century Italian and Spanish paintings. 

The thesis explores ways of approaching the pictorial space in 17th century paintings that depict mythological stories. It examine a series of important courtly mythological paintings including Annibale Carracci's fresco cycle in Galleria Farnese (Rome), Domenichino's fresco cycle in Villa Aldobrandini (Frascati), Velàzquez's Las Hilanderas (Madrid) and Manfredi's Bacchus and a Drinker (Rome). Instead of viewing the paintings in terms of visual storytelling, I focus on the representation of the body in connection with a transitional pictorial space.

From the start of my PhD candidacy in 2013, the dynamism of the Department of History of Art, UCL, has been invaluable in helping me expand my research, and inspiring my engagement in both Art History and contemporary visual culture. Within this atmosphere, I was encouraged to apply post-structural critical theories, especially those of thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Louis Marin, to 17th century art. The academic environment has also given me the opportunity to be a co-editor for Issue 17 of Object, the departmental postgraduate art history journal.

Prior to embarking on my PhD, I had completed an MA in Art History at UCL, which was preceded by a Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London. As an undergraduate, BA in Psychology, Yonsei University (Seoul), I explored the multi-sensorial perceptions of art and its psychological impression.

Research Interests

The spatiality (across painting, fresco and sculpture) in 17th century mythological art with particular focus on the changing representation of the body and its relation to the pictorial and viewing space.

The relationship between the traditional and new forms of representation of painting in an emergence of the art market which dealt with 'the everyday'.

The blurring of boundaries of gender, age and class in early modern art, especially through the representation of different genres and media.