Media @ McGill

Henry, Chriscinda


Assistant Professor

Interest and Bio: 

Professor Chriscinda Henry joined the Art History faculty in 2013. She received her MA from Columbia University and her PhD from the University of Chicago. Before coming to McGill, she was ACLS/Mellon Postdoctoral fellow at Yale University and Visiting Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art History at Oberlin College.

Professor Henry’s research area is Renaissance Europe, with special focus on Venice. Her interests include the cross-fertilization of the arts (theater, literature, music, and visual art); the early modern art market and practices of collection and reception; hierarchies of genre and media, intermediality, and technological innovation. She is currently principal investigator of the FQRSC-funded project “Playful Pictures: Comic Painting, Pleasure, and Entertainment in Renaissance Italy” (2014-2017). Professor Henry is also a founding member of the “Nouveaux Modernes” research group based in Montreal, which hosts an inter-university (Concordia, Laval, McGill, UdM, UQÀM) seminar on topics in medieval and early modern art history during the academic year.


Domestic leisure and the arts as interactive forms of recreation in the Renaissance; self-promotion and the intersection of secular art with performance and other modes of cultural production (poetry, theater, music); cultural tourism in Italy prior to the Grand Tour; the role of political allegory in Renaissance visual culture; early modern cultures of play, sociability, and representation; the visual culture of carnival and carnivalesque art in Renaissance Italy; the decoration and use of “low” and liminal spaces (e.g. the cantina, grotto, casino) in Renaissance palace and castle complexes.


Chriscinda Henry has just finished her first book, Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home, which examines the status of leisure and development of vernacular art between 1490 and 1540. Chapters explore the relationship of art to literature, music, carnival, comic theater, and the various recreational activities and spaces of the home. In addition, she has published articles in Italian Studies, The Journal of the History of Collections, and in several edited volumes.

Her previous publications include:

“Alter Orpheus: Masks of Virtuosity in Renaissance Portraits of Musical Improvisers,” Italian Studies 71/2 (2016): 238-58.

“What Makes a Picture? Evidence from Sixteenth-Century Venetian Property Inventories,” Journal of the History of Collections 23/2 (2011): 253-65.

“Whorish Civility and Other Tricks of Seduction in Venetian Courtesan Representation.” In Sex Acts in Early Modern Italy: Practice, Performance, Perversion, Punishment, ed. Allison Levy, pp. 109-23. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2010.

(Italian Edition) “Civiltà Puttanesca e armi di seduzione nei ritratti delle cortigiane veneziane.” In Sesso nel Rinascimento: pratica, perversione e punizione nell’Italia rinascimentale, ed. Allison Levy, pp. 105-118. Florence: Le Lettere, 2009.

Faculty page: 

Visit Professor Henry's faculty page here.


European Renaissance art and culture, with special focus on Italy; social rites, leisure, and festivity; cultural tourism; the early modern art market and practices of collection and display; art theory and hierarchy of media and genres; issues of interpictoriality and intermediality