Claire N. Ptaschinski is a PhD candidate in the History of Art & Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, and associated researcher at Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) for 2023-24. Her research considers the languages used to describe Baroque chapels in the 17th century to reveal how an ecological mindset transformed the Baroque built environment, integrating chapel spaces into the urban landscape and broader global networks.
Her MA Thesis, “The Ecology of Chapel Design in Baroque Rome,” which won the 2021 Early Modern Worlds Biennial Graduate Essay Prize at the University of Pittsburgh, built upon ecocritical art history and new materialism to provide a fresh analysis of three spaces in 17th-century Rome. In Summer 2021, she received funding from the Bibliotheca Hertziana to participate in the Summer School, “Cultures of Art and Science in Rome, 1400-1900,” cosponsored by the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, to advance this research and explore the common visual language embedded in the design of the high altar of Santa Caterina a Magnanapoli and early modern mineralogical printed books.
As an associated researcher at the KNIR, Claire is working on her dissertation, “Designing Baroque Ecologies: Dynamic Altar Spaces in Rome, 1640-1720,” which develops that previous work to analyze Roman Baroque architecture using ecology as a critical method to chart the intersection between natural elements and complex social ecosystems that facilitate the construction of the built environment.
Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh’s department, Claire worked in the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago where she had the opportunity to contribute to the development of a new Italian Paleography website, a digital resource for the study of the Newberry’s hybrid version of Georg Rem’s Emblemata Politica, and a print catalogue published by Northwestern University Press for the Fall 2020 exhibition, “Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s ‘Nova Reperta.’”