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Prof Rose Marie San Juan
Prof Rose Marie San Juan profile picture
  • Professor of History of Art
  • Dept of History of Art
  • Faculty of S&HS

Rose Marie San Juan is Professor of History of Art at UCL, has been a member of the department since 2005 and received her Professorship in 2013. Previously she taught at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Theory.  Her work focuses on Italian art and culture, especially on early modern urban life in Rome, and deals with visual technologies such as print and film in relation to time, movement and urban space.  She has published on print culture and urban practices in early modern Rome, on the movement of images between Europe, Asia and the ‘New World’, on anatomical prints and wax models, on the body and problems of representation, and on film and urban space. She has just completed a book entitled Violence of the Anatomical Image, and her new research is on film, documentary and social architectural projects in Italy between the 1930s and 1950s. Rose Marie San Juan received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Art History at the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D (Combined Historical Studies) at the Warburg Institute, University of London. Her dissertation, supervised by Michael Baxandall, explored the myth of Orpheus in different genres of Renaissance art and culture.  

Research Summary

Rose Marie San Juan’s current research focuses on the relation between fiction and documentary film and projects of social housing and education in Italy from the 1930s to the 1950s.  She has just completed a book that takes a different view of early modern anatomical images, and explores how violence becomes a strategy to chart a new future for the human body. In this work she has focuses both on printed anatomical treatises and wax sculpture. 


Her publications have explored many aspects of print culture and its deployment and appropriations with urban life. Rome. A a city out of printdealt with the ways the city was reshaped and negotiated through the new form of print technology. Vertiginous Mirrors. Early modern travel and the animation of the image traced previously unknown journeys of images from Europe to different parts of the world through missionary travel, as well as their return to Europe and the afterlife of these well travelled images. 


She co- authored with Geraldine Pratt, Film and Urban Space, which deals with the recurrent claims for the political efficacy of film at different historical moments and in different kinds of filmmaking.  They are also the co-authors of  various articles on the relation between film, urban space and digital and virtual space.   Her current project takes up these concerns but seeks to explore the conjunction of film technologies and issues of space as conceived within architectural projects of social housing and education. 


Another area of research and publishing is the early modern re-conception of the human body in relation to anatomical research, public punishment, cabinets of curiosities, relics, notions of cannibalism, and the emergence of ethnography.  This follows her earlier work on issues of the body within urban life, including street processional and tourist practices, the recurrence of the plague in both Rome and Naples, and the representation of death and after death on which she has published extensively. 
Teaching Summary
 Rose Marie San Juan has supervised doctoral dissertations on most aspects of early modern print culture, including the deployment of print in Italy, the Netherlands, Britain and the Americas. Many of her students have worked on issues pertaining to early modern urban space, transient and ephemeral social practices, the everyday, anatomical images, and on the movement of images within urban space and world travel. She has also supervised dissertations on the relation of film and urban space, especially in relation to Italian film.  


One of her main interests is the relation of critical theory and art history. She teaches critical theory and methodologies, Rome and early modern urbanism, print culture, and early modern painting of everyday life. At UBC she and geographer Geraldine Pratt devised a course on Film and Urban Space, the first to be shared between departments in different faculties (Humanities and Social Sciences). At UCL, she has taught MA special subjects on ‘The body in the cabinets of curiosities’, and on ‘Cannibalism and the Visual Image’ 


Academic Background
1983   Doctor of Philosophy University of London
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