Sean Roberts, Ph.D.

roberts, se..pngSean Roberts, Ph.D. (Prof. of Art History, USC)



4.8 – The Da Vinci Conspiracy (4.6.12)




  • Ph.D. in History of Art, Univeristy of Michigan, 2006
  • BA in Art HistoryUniversity of New Hampshire, 1999


Sean Roberts is a specialist in the arts of Renaissance Europe. His research is concerned with the interactions between Italy and the Islamic lands and with the place of prints in the histories of art and technology. Sean is the author of Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople and the Renaissance of Geography (Harvard University Press, 2013) and is the co-editor with Tim McCall and Giancarlo Fiorenza of Visual Cultures of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe (Truman State University Press, 2013). He has been awarded major fellowships from Harvard’s Villa I Tatti, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Huntington Library. His essays on cartography, diplomacy, and printmaking have appeared in journals including Imago Mundi, Print Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, the Journal of Early Modern History, and Intellectual History Review. He is currently writing an examination of skullduggery and malfeasance among the earliest engravers titled Sabotage! Rivalry, Technology, and the Making of Renaissance Prints.


Recent Presentations and Workshops
Rome: Introduction and moderator for Italian Art Society/Kress Foundation Annual Lecture in Italy, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, June 29, 2018.

Beirut: “Re-Naturalizing Bellini’s Portrait of Mehmed II,” lecture for series Beyond Resemblance, American University of Beirut, April 25, 2018.

Los Angeles: respondent for “The Renaissance Contribution to the Formation of ‘Islamic Art’,” College Art Association, February 24, 2018.

Milwaukee: “Envy, Jealousy, and the Conditions of Renaissance Engraving,” Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, October 29, 2017.

Tainan: “Mapping Arcadia,” Keynote address for the 11th Conference of the Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, National Tainan University of the Arts, October 20, 2017.

Bologna: Introduction for Italian Art Society/Kress Foundation Annual Lecture in Italy, Università di Bologna, June 7, 2017.

Chicago: “Raw Materials and the Globalism of Local Craft in Renaissance Italy,” Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, April 1, 2017.

Atlanta: “Strategies of Resistance in Times of Global Flux,” Southern Graphics Council, International Panel, March 2017.

Nicosia: “Charting Crusade in Grand Ducal Florence,” for “Knowledge is Power,” paper for Third Annual Symposium of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, November 4, 2016.

Los Angeles: “Early Modern Print Culture and the Islamic World,” Advisory Group Workshop for upcoming Getty/Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, Getty Center, June 2-5, 2016

Boston: “Previously Unknown Portraits from Vasari’s Lisbro de’ disegno,” (with Laura Moretti) Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, April 2, 2016


Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople, and the Renaissance of Geography (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Visual Cultures of Secrecy in Early Modern Europe, co-edited with Timothy McCall and Giancarlo Fiorenza (Truman State University Press, 2013, distributed by Penn State University Press, 2018)

Journal Essays and Chapters
“The Antiquarian Discovery of Constantinople,” in Sarah E. Bassett, The Cambridge Companion to Constantinople (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2020).

“Who Made Renaissance Interiors?” in Stephanie Miller ed., A Cultural History of Interiors, 1450-1650 (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019).

“Picturing Peace in Renaissance Europe,” in Isabella Lazzarini ed. A Cultural History of Peace:1450-1650 (Bloomsbury, forthcoming, 2019).

“Engravings,” in Dennis Duncan and Adam Smyth eds. Book Parts (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2018)

“Charting Crusade in Ferdinando II’s Tuscany,” in Knowledge is Power (Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, forthcoming 2018).

With Laura Moretti, “From the Vite or the Ritratti? Previously Unknown Portraits

“From Vasari’s Libro de’ Disegni,” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 21:1 (2018): 105-136.

“Luxury, Technology, and the Diplomatic Gift,” in Catherine Kovesi ed. Luxury and the Ethics of Greed (Brepols: Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2018): 207-226.

“A Global Florence and its Blind Spots,” in Daniel Savoy ed. The Globalization of Renaissance Art: A Critical Review (Brill, 2017): 17-44. 

With Timothy McCall, “Raw Materials and Object Lessons,” in William Caferro, The Routledge History of the Renaissance (Routledge, 2017): 105-124.

With Timothy McCall “Art and the Material Culture of Diplomacy,” in Monica Azzolini and Isabella Lazzarini, Italian Renaissance Diplomacy: Texts in Translation (University of Toronto Press/Pontifical Institute, 2017): 214-233.

“Salimbeni’s Epitalamio, Francia, and Maso Finiguerra,” Source: Notes in the History of Art 35:3 (2016): 227-234.

“The ‘Lost’ Map of Matteo de’ Pasti: Cartography, Diplomacy, and Espionage in the Renaissance Adriatic,” Journal of Early Modern History 20:1 (2016): 19-38.

“From Colossus to Crusade: Rhodes in the Early Modern European Visual Imagination,” in Sharon Gerstel, Viewing Greece: Cultural and Political Agency in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean (Brepols, 2016): 237-259.

“Inventing Engraving in Vasari’s Florence,” Intellectual History Review 24  (2014): 367-388.

“Silence and Secrecy in Domenico Fetti’s Portrait of a Man with a Sheet of Music,” Renaissance Studies 27 (2013): 270-290.

“Francesco Rosselli and Berlinghieri’s Geographia Re-Examined,” Print Quarterly, 28 (2011): 4-17.

“Poet and ‘World Painter’: Francesco Berlinghieri’s Geographia (1482),” Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography 62 (2010):145-160.

Professional Service

President, Italian Art Society (2017-2019)

Executive Vice President Italian (2015-2017)

Affiliated Faculty, USC/Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, 2014-present [1] 




Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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