Media @ McGill

Vanhaelen, Angela



Interest and Bio: 

Professor Angela Vanhaelen received her PhD in Art History in 1999 from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000 before taking up a position at the University of Regina, where she taught before coming to McGill in 2003. Professor Vanhaelen’s teaching overlaps with her research interests. She offers courses on early modern art and visual culture (Renaissance and Baroque), historiography and theory.

Vanhaelen is principal investigator of the research project, “Making Worlds: Art, Materiality and Early Modern Globalization:”

She is co-investigator in the international, interdisciplinary research project, “Early Modern Conversions:”



History of automata; Dutch garden and landscape architecture in a global context; Boredom and Dutch realism; Genre painting as a point of interface between private and public life; Early Modern Conversion; Making Worlds: Art, Materiality and Early Modern Globalization


Vanhaelen specializes in the study of seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture. Her book, The Wake of Iconoclasm: Painting the Church in the Dutch Republic (Penn State University Press) was awarded the 2013 Roland H. Bainton Book Prize by the international Sixteenth Century Society and Conference for the best book written in English dealing with Art and Music History within the time frame of 1450–1660. The Wake of Iconoclasm explores the fraught relationship between art and religion after the iconoclasm, when sacred imagery was stripped from the Dutch churches. Taking up the history of painting in the aftermath of iconoclasm, the book reassesses Dutch realism and its pictorial strategies in relation to the religious and political diversity of the Dutch cities.

Vanhaelen’s first book, Comic Print and Theatre in Early Modern Amsterdam: Gender, Childhood and the City (Ashgate: 2003), explores shifts in the popular culture traditions of late seventeenth-century Amsterdam, particularly the ways that inexpensive printed imagery worked to define key urban spaces and generate new practices of everyday life. Professor Vanhaelen is co-editor with Joseph Ward (University of Mississippi) of Making Space Public in Early Modern Europe: Performance, Geography, Privacy (Routledge: 2013). This collection of essays is the second of two volumes resulting from a Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI), funded by SSHRC: "Making Publics: Media, Markets, and Association in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700." Professor Vanhaelen’s work in the MaPs project has been featured in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio series, Ideas, as Episode 5: "Painting Modernity" of the fourteen episode series "The Origins of the Modern Public."

Professor Vanhaelen is co-editor, with Bronwen Wilson (University of East Anglia) of a special issue of the journal Art History titled The Erotics of Looking: Materiality, Solicitation and Netherlandish Visual Culture (November 2012). 

Professor Vanhaelen has published a number of articles in journals such as Art BulletinOxford Art JournalHistory CompassArt History, De Zeventiende EeuwRES: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics and History of Photography.

Faculty page: 

Visit Professor Vanhaelen's faculty page here.


Early modern art and cultural studies (1500–1700); historiography and methodologies