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Sally J. Cornelison

Sally J. Cornelison

Sally J. Cornelison

Professor and Director, Florence Graduate Program in Italian Renaissance Art


Art and Music Histories
308 E Bowne Hall
Office: 315.443.4184


Medieval and Renaissance Studies


Ph.D., Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art

M.A. Art History, Syracuse University

Social/Academic Links

Courses Taught


  • Arts & Ideas I
  • Italian Renaissance Art
  • Art, Faith, & Power in Late Medieval Italy
  • The Italian Renaissance Home
  • Michelangelo
  • 15th-Century Italian Art: Inventing the Renaissance
  • 16th-Century Italian Art & Identity
  • Senior Seminar: Doing Art History, Research & Professional Practices
  • Women in Art: Late Medieval & Early Modern Italy


  • Vasari @ Santa Croce
  • Art & Ritual in Renaissance Italy
  • Early Modern Encounters: Italy & World Cultures
  • The Art of Devotion in Late Renaissance Italy
  • Italian Renaissance Art in New York Collections
  • Art & Court Culture in Late Renaissance Italy
Research Interests

Sally J. Cornelison is a specialist in the history of Italian late medieval and Renaissance religious art. She teaches a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on the history of sacred, as well as secular, art and architecture in early modern Italy. Many of her publications concern art, devotion, ritual, and patronage as they relate to the cult of saints and relics in Renaissance Florence. More recently, the focus of her research has been the sacred art of Giorgio Vasari, and she is currently completing a book on Vasari’s work at the prestigious church of the Pieve in his hometown of Arezzo.

Selected Publications

“Saints & Status in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Florence.” In Late Medieval Italian Art and Its Contexts. Essays in Honour of Professor Joanna Cannon. Edited by Donal Cooper and Beth Williamson, 289-306. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2022.

"Art & Religion in Late Renaissance Arezzo: Reconsidering Vasari’s Church Renovations." In Renaissance Religions: Modes and Meanings in History. Edited by Peter Howard, Nicholas Terpstra, and Riccardo Saccenti, 301-23. Turnhout: Brepols, 2021.

"Recycling, Renaissance Style: Hybridity and Vasari’s Pieve Altarpieces." In Hybridity in Late Medieval and Early Modern Art. Edited by Ashley Elston and Madeline Rislow, 137-51. New York and London: Routledge, 2021.

"'Michelangelo's panel': Content, Context, and Vasari’s Buonarroti Altarpiece." Art History 42, no. 3 (2019): 416-49.

“Giorgio Vasari.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation. Ed. Margaret King. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195399301-0350

“Accessing the Holy: Words, Deeds, & the First Tomb of St. Antoninus in Renaissance Florence.” In Mendicant Cultures in the Medieval and Early Modern World: Word, Deed, and Image. Edited by Sally J. Cornelison, Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby, and Peter Howard, 223-44. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016.

“Vasari’s Relics.” In Encountering the Renaissance: Celebrating Gary Radke and 50 Years of the Syracuse University Graduate Program in Renaissance Art. Edited by Molly Bourne and A. Victor Coonin, 3-14. Ramsey, NJ: The WAPACC Organization, 2016.

“Testo e contesto rituale: L’Ingresso di Sant’Antonino a Firenze di Giambologna.” In Antonino Pierozzi: La figura e l’opera di un santo arcivescovo nell’Europa del quattrocento. Edited by Maria Pia Paoli and Luciano Cinelli. Memorie Domenicane 43 (2012): 485-94.

“From Florence to Lawrence: Vasari’s Christ Carrying the Cross.” Register of the Spencer Museum of Art 8, no. 3 (2010-11): 14-51.

“Relocating Fra Bartolomeo at San Marco.” Renaissance Studies 23, no. 3 (2009): 311-34.

“Tales of Two Bishop Saints: Zenobius and Antoninus in Florentine Renaissance Art and History.” Sixteenth Century Journal 38, no. 3 (2007): 627-56.

“When an Image is a Relic: The St. Zenobius Panel from Florence Cathedral.” In Images, Relics, and Devotional Practices in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Edited by Sally J. Cornelison and Scott B. Montgomery, 95-113. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2005.

“Art Imitates Architecture: The St. Philip Reliquary in Renaissance Florence.” Art Bulletin 86, no. 4 (2004): 642-58.

“A French King and a Magic Ring: The Girolami and a Relic of St. Zenobius in Renaissance Florence.” Renaissance Quarterly 55, no. 2 (2002): 434-69.

Turning Gratitude Into Opportunity

(Feb. 3, 2021)

Carol Bullard ’67 M.A. ’73 Ph.D. establishes and endows The Abraham Veinus and William Fleming Founders Fund to benefit the Florence Graduate Program in Italian Renaissance Art.

Conference Honors 16th-Century Artist, Architect Giorgio Vasari

(March 1, 2016)

Professor Sally J. Cornelison G’89 among organizers, presenters

Selected Awards and Grants
  • American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grants, 2007, 2014, 2021
  • Samuel H. Kress Foundation multi-year History of Art Grant in support of Syracuse University’s Florence Graduate Program in Italian Renaissance Art, 2019-24
  • Samuel H. Kress Foundation History of Art Grants in support of Syracuse University’s Florence Graduate Program in Italian Renaissance Art, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • (with Medici Archive Project and Opera di Santa Croce) Samuel H. Kress Foundation History of Art Grant in support of the international conference “Vasari @ Santa Croce,” 2015, 2016
  • Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History, Yale University Art Gallery, 2013
  • University Scholarly Achievement Award, University of Kansas, 2013
  • (with Spencer Museum of Art) Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne Grant in support of the exhibition “Giorgio Vasari and Court Culture in Late Renaissance Italy,” 2011
  • (with Spencer Museum of Art) Samuel H. Kress Foundation, History of Art Grant in support of the exhibition “Giorgio Vasari and Court Culture in Late Renaissance Italy,” 2011
  • Library Research Grant, Getty Research Institute, 2010
  • Renaissance Society of America-Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento Research Grant for Florence, 2008
  • Ned N. Fleming Trust Award for distinguished teaching, scholarship, and service, University of Kansas, 2006
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2006
  • Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2006