Shane Harless

Dissertation Title: Veiled Epiphanies: Encountering the Body of Christ within the Art and Architecture of the Poor Clares of Central Italy (1212 – 1350)

Advisor: Anne Derbes

Shane Harless is a PhD Candidate in the Art History department at Rice University. He is currently working on his dissertation, which focuses on the Eucharistic devotion of the Clarissan Order in Italy during the 13th and 14th centuries, and the manner in which the Poor Clares participated in the solemnities from the remote location of their choir. By analyzing the spatial experience, architectural layout, sculptural, and painted embellishment of extant nuns’ choirs throughout the region, his study attempts to glean further insight into how cloistered viewers sought access to the body of Christ through images, transforming their enclosed prayer chambers into prime resources for ocular communion.

Shane recently presented his work at the 2022 Andrew Ladis Memorial Trecento Conference in January and will be presenting another paper entitled, Fruit of the Vine: Pacino di Bonaguida’s Lignum Vitae and Clarissan Visual Literacy, at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Dublin this coming April.

Research Areas

Late Medieval Italian Art and Architecture


MA, Art History, Tulane University

MTS, Theological Studies, Vanderbilt University

BA, Religion, Birmingham-Southern College

Honors & Awards

2020 James T. Wagoner ’29 Foreign Study Scholarship

2021 Amici di Via Gabina Traveling Fellowship


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