Topic outline

  • Autopsy, Art, and Art History


    Jack Hartnell is a Visiting Lecturer in the Medieval section whose work focusses broadly on the intersections of art, science, and the body in late medieval Europe. A full CV is available here.

    He is a Teaching Fellow at UCL and from September 2014 will take up a Post-Doctoral Fellowship between the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

    This academic year he is teaching a BA3 Special Option, Dripping Guts and Heavenly Wonders, and a BA2 Texts and Context course entitled Writing the Medieval Body.

    His recent PhD "Towards An Anatomical Art History. Medieval Objects in the Shared Space Between Art and Medicine" addressed the relationship between artistic and anatomical practice in the Middle Ages and today, questioning the status of objects and bodies as things dissected and revealed by scholars. 

    It focuses on three main areas. The first encompasses the theoretical and philosophical repercussions of comparing the fields of anatomy and art history, investigating the ways that early stage physicians and art historians are both trained, as well as charting a parallel history of the two fields. The second examines the practical correlations between art history and anatomy, investigating the two as disciplines of literal and theoretical dissection and forensics, as well as exploring the techniques and technologies used across both fields to examine and screen bodies and artworks. Finally, the main chapters of the thesis are given over to examining two objects: a medieval Vierge ouvrante from Maubuisson (detail, above right) now lost, and a medical scroll of the surgeon John Arderne, now in the Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm (detail, above left). These objects, largely unexamined due to their difficult historical or visual circumstances, are considered afresh through an anatomical framework.

  • Academic Positions

    Post-Doctoral Fellowship
    Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
    and Victoria and Albert Museum, London

    Commencing September 2014
    "Knives and Saws. Dichotomies of Design and Knowledge in Surgical Blades (1400-1600)"

    Teaching Fellow
    University College London
    Spring Term 2013/14
    Selected Themes in Medieval Art and Architecture
    The Manipulated Medieval Body

    Spring Term 2013/14
    Thematic Seminar
    Skin and Bones: The Medieval Body in London Museums and Galleries
    Visiting Lecturer
    Courtauld Institute of Art
    Autumn Term 2013/14
    BA3 Special Option
    Dripping Guts and Heavenly Wonders. The Body as Subject and Object in Northwestern Europe (1200-1450)
    Spring Term 2013/14
    BA 2 Texts and Contexts
    Writing The Medieval Body
  • Publications and Editorships

    (forthcoming) “Tools of the Puncture. Skin, Knife, Bone, Hand” in Larissa Tracey (ed.) Down to the Skin: Images of Flaying in the Middle Ages (expected early 2015)

     (forthcoming) Painted Patients: Investigating Objects Like Bodies, book project, 60,000 words, in manuscript

     (forthcoming) “Opening Bodies and Parchment in Arderne’s Stockholm Scroll” journal article, 7,000 words, in manuscript

     (forthcoming) “Dissecting Blanche of Castile and a Vierge Ouvrante from Maubuisson” journal article, 7,000 words, in manuscript

     (forthcoming) “Displaying the Opened Body at Maubuisson” journal article, 7,000 words, in manuscript

    Editor immedtiations, the Courtauld Institute research journal (September 2009 – Jan 2013)

    "Review: Umberto Pappalardo's The Splendour of Roman Wall Painting," Burlington Magazine, Summer 2010 pdf

  • Selected  Papers and Invited Lectures

    (forthcoming) “Touching Ivory Online” Gothic Ivories Project sponsored session of the International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo. May, 2014

    (forthcoming) “Scientific and Spiritual Images of the Heart in the Middle Ages” Imaging the Historical and Medical Heart, Research seminar co-convened with Dr. Jim Harris (Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum) and Prof. Robin P. Choudhury (Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University of Oxford). Oxford Acute Vascular Imaging Centre, University of Oxford. November 2013

    “Osmosis or Forensics? Art History and the Bleeding Boundaries of Medicine” Negotiating Boundaries. The Plural Fields of Art History, Two day conference (University of Birmingham) June 2013

    “Embodied Bodies. Performing Medieval Surgery and Performing Medieval Art History” Performing Medieval Text, an Interdisciplinary Conference, Two day conference (Merton College, University of Oxford) May 2013

    "Anatomical Image as Anatomical Model: Evoking Skin and Surgery" The History and Cultural Representations of Human Remains, Three part conference (Academy of Medicine, Paris) April 2013. Held in conjunction with the Natural History Museum (Tolouse), Academy of Medicine (Paris), and the Hunterian Museum (London)

    "Blanche’s Body and Opening Death in a Sculpture from Medieval Maubuisson" Art and Death One day workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) Feb 2013

    "Laszlo Fejes' Suffering Christ" Short talk (Photographers Gallery, London) July 2012

    Performing Art History II Conference, Speaker and organiser (Courtauld Institute of Art) May 2012

    "Food TV and Art TV" Art History Despite TV, a Performing Art History Workshop, Speaker and organiser (Courtauld Institute of Art) March 2012

    "Anatomy as Analysis" Postgraduate Symposium, Two day conference (Courtauld Institute of Art) March 2011

    "Anatomy of A Scroll" Lille, Leuven, London, Three day workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) December 2011

    "Stasis Crisis, or 10 New Ways of Doing The Same Thing" The Cambridge Medieval Seminar Series, Invited Speaker (University of Cambridge) October 2011

    "The Gloss of Glossy Pages: Reliquaries in Exhibition Catalogues” Leeds Medieval Congress, British Museum sponsored session, Invited Speaker, Three day conference (University of Leeds) July 2011 

    Performing Research: Art History Not For Publication, Introduction and Conference Organiser, One day conference (Courtauld Institute of Art) May 2011

    "Online Viewing and the Google Art Project" Performing Art History: Art History and The Internet, One day workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) March 2011 

    "Autopsy: Revealing the Body, Revealing the Art, Revealing the Art Historian" CAA Annual Conference 2011, ICMA sponsored session. Three day conference (College Art Association, New York) February 2011

    "The Sound of Art" Performing Art History: Art History and Radio. Workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) January 2011 

    "The Many Faces of Simon Schama" Performing Art History: Art History and TV, One day workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) November 2010 

    Introduction and panel chair Exhibiting Research IV: Dizziness, Delusion and Devotion: The Extremes of Viewership Then and NowExhibiting Research Series, Panel Discussion (Courtauld Institute of Art) June 2010

    "Ockham's Razor and the History of Medieval Art" Medieval Art in Theory Conference, One day conference (Courtauld Institute of Art) June 2010

    "Spiritual Batteries: The Price of Reanimation and the Death of the Relic" Association of Art Historians Annual Conference 2010, Three day conference (University of Glasgow) April 2010

    "Humour and Apotropaic Function in a Sculpture form Herculaneum" Laughing At Art: Humour in the Visual Arts, Two day conference (University of Cambridge) April 2010 

    "The History of Medieval Art as a Mimetic History" Mimesis: The Third Medieval Art In Theory Workshop, One day workshop (Courtauld Institute of Art) February 2010

  • Education

    The Courtauld Institute of Art

    2009-present: PhD candidate working with Antony Eastmond and John Lowden. Working title of thesis: Containment in Medieval Art.

    2008-2009: MA History of Art (Distinction): Byzantium and its Rivals. Specialist areas indclude: Middle and Late Byzantine Art, Anatolian Islamic Art, Armenian Manuscripts, Crusader Painting.

    2005-2008: BA History of Art (1st Class Honours). Specialist areas include: Insular British Art, Roman Art, Seventeenth-Century Southern Europe, Twentieth-Century German Aesthetics.

    Chelsea College of Art and Design

    2004-2005: Foundation Diploma in Fine Art (Distinction).
  • Other Academic Activity

    Previous Teaching Positions:

    Teaching Assistant, MA History of Art 
    Courtauld Institute of Art (Autumn Term, 2012/13)

    BA Induction Week 
    Courtauld Institute of Art (Autumn Term, 2012/13)

    Lecturer, BA History of Art, 1st Year Foundation Course
    UCL (Autumn Term, 2011/12)

    Teaching Assistant, MA History of Art 

    Courtauld Institute of Art (Autumn Term, 2011/12)

    Teaching Assistant, BA History of Art, 2nd Year Methodologies Course
    Courtauld Institute of Art (Autumn Term, 2010/11)


    AHRC Research Degree Funding, 2009-2012

    College Art Association Fellowship, 2011

    International Centre for Medieval Art Travel Scholarship, 2011

    Courtauld Research Forum AAH Conference Scholarship, 2010

    The Association of Art Historians Dissertation Prize, 2008 for dissertation on humour in late Roman sculpture

    The Courtauld Prize, 2008 for excellent academic achievement

    Research Groups:

    Performing Art History Special Interest Group, Organiser A research group interested in the presentation of Art Historical research in settings with a live audience or through the broadcast media (September 2010 - ongoing)

    Gallery Work: 

    Sam Fogg Gallery, object research and design for gallery publications. (April 2009 - September 2009)