Gloria de Liberali


Lorenzo Costa’s Triumphs in the Bentivoglio Chapel. Spiritual Salvation and Artistic Invention in Renaissance Bologna


This dissertation examines the pictorial decoration of the Bentivoglio chapel in the church of San Giacomo Maggiore, a space under the patronage of the de-facto ruling family of Bologna in fifteenth-century Italy. Specifically, my research offers the first, detailed analysis of two previously overlooked, albeit striking pictures, the so-called Triumph of Fame and Triumph of Death. These two paintings, realized by the Ferrarese artist Lorenzo Costa in 1490, draw their subject matter from the homonymous work by Italian poet Petrarch (The Triumphs), and feature triumphal chariots, allegorical personifications, celestial visions, ancient characters, and portraits of Bentivoglio family members past and present. By conflating Christian and biblical iconographies with imagery drawn from vernacular poetry, classical mythology, history, and moral philosophy, these images disrupt our expectations about chapel decoration in Quattrocento Italy and resist traditional categories of artistic genres. Through a combination of close visual and textual analysis and the study of art criticism and theory, of the history of literature, and of the reception of the classical and medieval traditions, this dissertation situates Costa’s Triumphs in the lively cultural milieu of fifteenth-century Bologna, at the intersection of seignorial court, university, and artistic practice.

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  • Stuart Lingo, Chair (Art History)
  • Estelle Lingo (Art History)
  • Sonal Khullar (Art History)
  • Beatrice Arduini (Italian and French Studies)


Gloria de Liberali specializes in the visual arts and culture of early-modern Europe, with a focus on 15th-century art of literary and mythological subject. Her research interests include iconography and the afterlife of ancient and medieval imagery in the art of later periods; the reception of mythological and poetic subject matter in the Renaissance; strategies of self-fashioning of artists and patrons; devotional and miraculous images; and artistic practices and theories in 16th- and 17th-century Italy. 

During her time at the University of Washington, Gloria served as a teaching assistant and writing tutor in the departments of Art History and History. At UW, she has also been a member of the Graduate Students of Art History organization and a co-founder of the reading group Dismantling the Canon, formed in the summer of 2020 to wrestle with questions of inclusivity, accountability, racial, and social justice within art history and museum practice. She has held curatorial internships at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and at the Seattle Art Museum, and has recently completed a nine-month internship fellowship at the Dallas Museum of Art. 


  • de Cillia Graduating with Excellence Award, 2021
  • Presidential Dissertation Fellowship, 2021
  • Mortar Board Alumni/Tolo Foundation scholarship, 2021
  • Lloyd W. Nordstrom Art History Scholarship, 2020
  • Alvord Endowed Fellowship in the Humanities + Frank L. and Catherine D. Doleshy Endowed Scholarship, 2019-20
  • de Cillia Teaching with Excellence Award, 2019
  • Lloyd Nordstrom Scholarship in Art History, 2018-19
  • Chester Fritz International Fellowship, 2017
  • Lloyd W. Nordstrom Top Scholar Award in Art History, 2015-18


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Art History, University of Washington, Seattle, 2021
  • Master of Arts, Art History, University of Bologna, 2014
  • Bachelor of Arts, Art History, University La Sapienza, Rome, 2011