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Queen's University

Una D'EliaDElia_Una_biopic.jpg

Associate Professor & Graduate Chair
(613) 533 6000 x78140

Research Interests

Italian Renaissance painting, sculpture, prints, and architecture, with a particular interest in the relationships between art and literature, the games people played in interpreting and misinterpreting images, and the ways in which images were used as an integral part of the lives of poor and wealthy men and women.


Una Roman D'Elia is a specialist and has published on Italian Renaissance painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, and architecture. She is particularly interested in the complex relationships between Renaissance literature and visual art and in the role of art during the Counter-Reformation. Her first book, The Poetics of Titian's Religious Paintings, explores Titian's relationships with writers, and how the painter and his literary friends negotiated the shifting boundaries of decorum during an age of religious and social change. She has also published an award-winning article on Michelangelo, as well articles on art as evidence, debased imagery, artistic speed, literary descriptions of paintings, and gigantic sculptures in villa gardens. Her most recent book, Raphael's Ostrich (Penn State UP, forthcoming), examines the strange allegorical imagery of the sixteenth century, focusing on an improbable proliferation of images of ostriches. The book ranges from ancient Egypt to the end of the sixteenth century, exploring how by creating a naturalistic animal that evoked hidden knowledge -- a modern hieroglyph -- Raphael exposed the tensions around the issue of how the natural world is imbued with meaning, a question that came to a crisis with the rise of the foundations of both modern art history and natural history. This is the story of a weird Raphael and therefore a weird Renaissance, one of fantastic and improbable juxtapositions, hybrid monsters, and grotesques. Una D'Elia is also editing a collection of essays on drawing in the Renaissance. She has been a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Villa I Tatti, and has won numerous grants and fellowships from such agencies as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

View Una D'Elia's Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Raphael's Ostrich.  Penn State University Press, forthcoming in 2015. “Grotesque Painting and Painting as Grotesque in the Renaissance.”  Source,  forthcoming in 2014.
“Anatomizing Love, Vivisecting Cupid.” In  Essays in Honor of Joseph Connors,  ed.  Louis Waldman and Machtaelt Israels, 481-6. Harvard University Press, 2013. “Giambologna’s giant and the cinquecento villa garden as a landscape of suffering.”  Journal of the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes  31 (2011): 1-25.

"What Allegories Wear in Sixteenth Century Italy"

In Unfolding the Textile Medium in Early Modern Art and Literature, ed. Tristan Weddigen. Imorde, 2010





The Poetics of Titian's Religious Paintings

New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005deliaCover.jpg

Courses taught

ARTH 120/1.0 - Art in the West from Antiquity to Modernity 2L;1T
ARTH 245/1.0 - Art and Architecture in Venice
ARTH 345*/0.5 - Italian Art of the High Renaissance 3L/S
ARTH 347*/0.5 - Mannerism 3L/S
ARTH 370*/0.5 - Architecture of the Baroque Period 3L
ARTH 486*/0.5 - 16th-Century Painting in Venice 3S

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000