Sheila Barker carried out her studies in art history at Amherst College (B.A. Magna cum laude) and Columbia University (M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D.) with a specialization in Italian Baroque painting. Her doctoral dissertation investigated plague art in 17th-century Rome in light of medical and religious responses to the epidemic. For her article on Poussin, she won the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize of the College Art Association in 2005. Since obtaining the Ph.D., she has held a Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a Clowes Curatorial Fellowship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a Samuel Kress Fellowship at the Medici Archive Project. From 2011 to 2012 she was on the editorial staff of the journal Medicina e Storia, and since 2014 she has been a member of the advisory board of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation. She is the founding director of the Jane Fortune Research Program, which won the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Prize for “Best digital scholarship, new media, or web-based project of 2014.” Among the women artists at the focus of her current archival investigations are Plautilla Nelli, Suor Teresa Berenice Vitelli, Giovanna Garzoni, Violante Vanni, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Lucrezia Quistelli. Additionally, since 2017 she has held the position of General Editor of the Medici Archive Project Series at Harvey Miller / Brepols Publishers.
Artemisia Gentileschi in a Changing Light (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2017)
Women Artists in Early Modern Italy. Careers, Fame, and Collectors (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016).
Artiste nel chiostro. Produzione artistica nei monasteri femminili in età moderna (Florence: Nerbini) (= special issue of Memorie Domenicane 46 (2015)).
BOOK CHAPTERS AND ARTICLES
“The First Biography of Artemisia Gentileschi: Self-Fashioning and Proto-Feminist Art History in Cristofano Bronzini’s Notes on Women Artists,” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes, forthcoming in February 2019
“Making Ultramarine Blue at the Florentine Court of the Medici Grand Dukes,” in Trading Paintings and Painters’ Materials 1550-1800, ed. by Anne Haack Christensen and Angela Jager, forthcoming with Archetype Publications
“Artistic Production as a Conduit for Nuns’ Networks. The Case of Suor Teresa Berenice Vitelli at Sant’Apollonia in Florence,” co-authored with Julie James, in Convent Networks in Early Modern Italy, ed. by Marilyn Dunn and Saundra Weddle, forthcoming with Brepols Publishers
“Cosimo I de’ Medici and the Renaissance Sciences: ‘To Measure and to See,’” in Brill’s Companion to Cosimo I de’ Medici, ed. by Alessio Assonitis and Henk Th. van Veen, forthcoming with Brill Publishers
“‘Marvellously Gifted’: Giovanna Garzoni’s First Visit to the Medici Court,” The Burlington Magazine, 160 (August 2018), pp. 654–659
“Miraculous Images and the Plagues of Italy, ca. 590-1656,” in Saints, Miracles and the Image: Healing Saints and Miraculous Images in the Renaissance, ed. by Sandra Cardarelli and Laura Fenelli. Turnhout: Brepols
Book review: Francesca De Luca and Gianni Papi, eds, Davanti al naturale. Contributi sul movimento caravaggesco a Napoli, Renaissance Quarterly, 71.3, pp. 1065–1066.
Exhibition review of Artemisia Gentileschi e il suo tempo, Palazzo Braschi, Rome, Early Modern Women. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12.2 (April 2018), pp. 163–171
“Introduction: What is True About Artemisia?,” in Artemisia Gentileschi in a Changing Light, ed. Sheila Barker (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2017), 5–10.
“Artemisia’s Money. The Entrepreneurship of a Woman Artist in 17th-Century Florence,” in Artemisia Gentileschi in a Changing Light, ed. Sheila Barker (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2017), 49–88.
Catalog entries nos. 1 and 2 in Plautilla Nelli. Art and Devotion in Savonarola’s Footsteps, exh. cat., ed. Fausta Navarro (Florence: Sillabe, 2017), 70-77.
“Poisons and the Prince. Toxicology and Statecraft at the Medici Grand Ducal Court,” in Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Philip Wexler (Elsevier Publishers, 2017), 71-82.
“Introduction,” in Women Artists of Early Modern Italy. Careers, Fame, and Collectors, ed. Sheila Barker (Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016), 5-14.
“Lucrezia Quistelli (1541-1594), a Woman Artist in Vasari’s Florence,” in Women Artists of Early Modern Italy. Careers, Fame, and Collectors, ed. Sheila Barker (Turnhout: Harvey miller/Brepols, 2016), 47-80.
“The Contributions of Medici Women to Medicine in Granducal Tuscany and Beyond,” in The Medici and Their Archive. Power and Representation in Early Modern Tuscany, ed. Alessio Assonitis and Brian Sandberg (Turhnout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016), 101-116.
“’Secret and Uncertain’: A History of Avvisi at the Court of the Medici Grand Dukes,” in News Networks in Early Modern Europe, ed. Joad Raymond and Noah Moxham (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 716-38.
“Forward: Women Artists in the Cloister,” in Artiste nel chiostro, ed. Sheila Barker (Florence: Nerbini, 2016) (=Memorie Domenicane 46 (2016)), 13-15.
“Painting and Humanism in Early Modern Florentine Convents,” in Artiste nel chiostro, ed. Sheila Barker (Florence: Nerbini, 2016) (=Memorie Domenicane 46 (2016)), 103-37.
“Early American Artists in Florence’s Galleria degli Uffizi, 1763-1860,” in Percorsi di arte e letteratura tra Toscana e le Americhe, ed. Nicoletta Lepri (Aonia Edizioni, 2016), 131-48.
“House Left, House Right: A Florentine Account of Maria de’ Medici’s 1615 Ballet de Madame,” The Court Historian 20.2 (2015), 137-65.
“Christine de Lorraine and Medicine at the Medici Court,” in Medici Women: The Making of a Dynasty in Grand Ducal Tuscany, ed. Judith C. Brown and Giovanna Benadusi (Toronto: The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2015), 155-81.
“A New Document Concerning Artemisia Gentileschi’s Marriage,” The Burlington Magazine, 156 (2014): 803-4.
“The Drowning Man in Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina,” in Renaissance Now!, ed. Brendan Dooley (Bern: Peter Lang, 2014), 19-37.
“The Public Figure of the Woman Artist in Florence, 1770-1860,” in Women, Femininity, and Public Space in European Visual Culture, 1789-1914, ed. Temma Balducci and Heather Belnap Jensen (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), 65-79.
“Irene Parenti Duclos’s Copy of the Madonna del Sacco: Politics and Perfect Painting,” in Sheila Barker, et al., Irene Parenti Duclos. A Work Restored, an Artist Revealed (Florence: The Florentine Press, 2011), 26-41.
“News about Bernini at the Medici Court: An Avviso Account of the Four Rivers Fountain,” Medicea. Rivista interdisciplinare di studi medicei, 7 (2010): 6-15.
“Pasquinades and Propaganda: The Reception of Urban VIII,” in The Papacy since 1500: from Italian Prince to Universal Pastor, ed. Thomas Worcester, S.J., and James Corkery, S.J. (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 69-89.
“Malaria and the Search for Its Cure in Granducal Tuscany,” in Medicea. Rivisita interdisciplinare di studi medicei, 5 (2010): 54-9.
“Women Painters at Work in the Uffizi,” in Jane Fortune, Invisible Women. Forgotten Artists of Florence (Florence: The Florentine Press, 2009), 110-116.
“The Making of a Plague Saint: Saint Sebastian’s Iconography and Cult before the Counter Reformation,” in Piety and Plague: From Byzantium to the Baroque, ed. Franco Mormando and Thomas Worcester (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2007), 90-131.
“Art, Architecture, and the Roman Plague of 1656,”in La Peste a Roma (1656-1657), ed. Irene Fosi (=Roma moderna e contemporanea 14, n.1 (2006)), 243-262.
Catalogue entries on Valentin de Boulogne, Claude Lorrain, Carlo Maratti and Jean-Antoine Watteau in Indianapolis Museum of Art. Highlights of the Collection, ed. Ellen Wardwell Lee and Anne Robinson (Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2005), 105-108. Nominated for “Outstanding Book or Catalogue, 2005” by the Association of Art Museum Curators.
“Plague Art in Early Modern Rome: Divine Directives and Human Remedies,” in Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a Time of Plague, 1500-1800, exh. cat., ed. Gauvin Alexander Bailey, etc. (Worcester, MA: Worcester Art Museum, 2005), 45-64.
“Poussin, Plague, and Early Modern Medicine,” The Art Bulletin 86, n.4 (2004): 659-689.