Dr Emanuela Vai is Opler Fellow at Worcester College, University of Oxford and Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes. Previously, she has held positions at the University of Cambridge, at the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS) University of York, and at the Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, where she was Hanna Kiel Fellow. Her research is located at the intersection of art, architectural history and musicology and her publications focus on musical instruments, soundscapes, space and sensorialities in Renaissance social life. Co-author of Reshaping Sacred Space: Liturgy, Patronage and Design in Church Interiors ca. 1500 – 1750 (2015), her first monograph is titled Sensorial Performances in an Early Modern Venetian Town: Art, Music and the Senses at the Confraternity of the Misericordia Maggiore in Bergamo. She is also editing a collection of essays on the material culture of Renaissance music and preparing a book titled Renaissance Music Materialities. 




Sensorial Practices at the Confraternity of the Misericordia Maggiore in the Venetian Mainland (15th-17th c.), (in preparation).


Rethinking Renaissance Musical Instruments (in preparation with Routledge’s SRS series ‘Renaissance and Early Modern Worlds’).


Music Materialities: Making Music in Renaissance Art (in preparation).


Bramante e la sua arte nel Rinascimento, ed. F.P. Di Teodoro, J. Niebaum, E. Vai, (forthcoming with Max-Planck Institute for History of Art & Bibliotheca Hertziana).


Reshaping Sacred Space: Liturgy, Patronage and Design in Church Interiors ca. 1500 – 1750, North Street Review Special Edition, University of St Andrews (co-authored) 2015.


Chapters and Articles


‘Introduction’, The Museum of Renaissance Music, ed. T. Shepard, V. Borghetti (4,000 words, forthcoming Brepols 2020).


‘Renaissance Musical Decorations’, Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World, ed. K. Poole (7,000 words, forthcoming Routledge).


 ‘Staging Music, Shaping Space at the Basilica of the Misericordia Maggiore in Early Modern Bergamo’, Music and Art in the Italian Church Interior, Renaissance Studies Special Issue, ed. by L. C. Stefanescu, S. Sessini (8,000 words, forthcoming).


‘Music Materialities: Carved Representations on Scrolls, Finials and Headstocks of Renaissance Stringed Instruments’, Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy, ed. T. Shephard, Sanna Raninen (7,000 words forthcoming Routledge)


‘The Sensorial Experience of Heavens in Renaissance Italy’, Air and Heavens in the Hierotopy and Iconography of the Christian World, ed. A. Llidov, Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow (forthcoming 2020).


‘Sensorial experiences at the Confraternity of the Misericordia Maggiore in the Venetian mainland’, Confraternitas, Special Issue, ed. K. Eisenbichler, D. Reid, N. Terpstra (7,000 words  in preparation University of Toronto Press )


‘Urban Processions as Theatrical Sensoryscapes in Early Modern Bergamo’, The Theatre of the City, ed. M. Centanni, (9,000 words forthcoming Engramma)


Sounds of Devotion? Religious Performances at the Confraternity of the Misericordia Maggiore in Early Modern Bergamo’, The Soundscape of the Venetian Terraferma in the Early Modern Era, ed. D. Bryant and L. Collarile (7,000 words forthcoming Brepols 2021)


 ‘Looking for Harmonia at the time of Bramante in Renaissance Italy”, in Bramante e la sua arte nel Rinascimento. Conference proceedings of the International Seminar, ed. F. Di Teodoro, J. Niebaum, E. Vai, (10,000 words) (forthcoming forthcoming Max-Planck Institute for History of Art &  Bibliotheca Hertziana 2021)


‘Hearing the City in Early Modern Europe’, Renaissance Quarterly, 72(3), September 2019, pp.1118-1121


‘The Quest for Lost Sound’, Art History, Volume 42, Issue 3, June 2019, pp. 599-605


Extreme Gardening: 300 years before the Chelsea Flower Show. Architecture, Mechanisms and Music, University of York Research Digital Repository, May 2016.


‘Polyphonic Space. Harmony and measure in the Palatine Basilica of St Barbara in Mantua (Mantua, 1562)’, in, Spazi aurali. Archiettura e sound design, ed. R. Pe, Milano: Postmedia books, 2016, pp. 39-71.


Music at the time of Piero della Francesca: some thoughts between Art and Science’, in Piero della Francesca. Il disegno tra arte e scienza, ed. F. Camerota, F.P. Di Teodoro, L. Grasselli (Milano: Skira, 2015), pp. 100-113.


Ad efformandos Principes’. The ‘selected’ library of the Miles Christianus of the Jesuit Antonio Possevino: Music and Architecture”, Il Principe Invisible, Centro Studi Leon Battista Alberti di Mantova, 27-30 November 2013, (Brepols Publishers: Turnhout 2015), pp. 431- 462.


Magnificentia. Devotion and Civic Piety in the Renaissance Venetian Republic”, Investigating and Writing Architectural History: Subjects, Methodologies and Frontiers Papers from the Third EAHN International Meeting, ed. M. Rosso, (Compagnia di San Paolo Torino 2014), pp. 1219-1230.


The Basilica of St. Barbara: A Sounding Architecture’ in Monteverdi Vespers, Cantar Lontano, ed. M. Mencoboni (dir), E lucevan le stelle Records, Pesaro, Italia, pp. 17-20 and pp.33-38


Review of Francesca Muzio. Un trattato universale dei colori.Il Ms 2861 della Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna, Leo Olschki editore Firenze 2012, HISTARA, Le Comptes Rendus (online journal), August 2012.


Review of Susan Pollack ed., Il Dolce potere delle corde. Orfeo, Apollo, Arione e Davide nella grafica tra Quattro e Cinquecento, Leo S. Olschki, Florence 2012, HISTARA, Le Comptes Rendus, September 2012.


Blog Posts


    Renaissance Society of America (RSA)

    Society for Renaissance Studies (SRS)

    Society of Italian Studies (SIS)

    Early Music Association 

    Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO)

    European Architectural History Network (EAHN)

    Society for the Study of the Church Interior

    The Royal Historical Society (RHS)

    Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA)

    Society for the European Festival Research, University of Warwick (SEFR)

    The Galpin Society

    American Musical Instruments Society (AMIS)

    Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB)

    Royal Musical Association (RMA).

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