Current Research

Saint_Sulpice_Church_Interior_1,_Paris,_France_-_DiliffArt and Religion: Inside the Parish Churches of 18th-Century Paris
Book. This book explores the crucial question of religion in 18th-century France by investigating the vast amounts of religious art produced in this period which have been surprisingly unexamined by art historians. Focusing on the parish churches of Paris as both material sites and social spaces, this book follows two interweaving strands to discover the role of art and material culture in religious experience, and the role of religion and the Church in artists’ lives. Informed by art-historical, historical, and anthropological methods, this book combines close readings of objects and spaces with a social study of urban religious experience and local currents of piety.

Artists in Paris: Mapping the 18th-Century Art World
Digital project. Artists in Paris explores the cultural geography of the Paris art world in the 18th century by combining digital mapping technologies with new archival research. Paris’s artistic communities of the 19th and 20th centuries in Montmartre or Montparnasse are very well known, but this project will be the first to explore artists’ neighbourhoods in the early modern history of the city. Unearthing the residential addresses of hundreds of artists who lived in Paris between 1675 and 1793, this data will be located on georeferenced historical maps of the city, made available on an openly accessible website for students and scholars to search and make their own inquiries into how artists inhabited the city.

Germain_detailArtists’ Things: Lost Property from 18th-Century France
Book. Co-written with Katie Scott. Lost Property is a book about ‘things’ that once belonged to artists in 18th-century France. Through short essays recounting the lives of individual objects (Fragonard’s Colour Box, Boucher’s Shells, David’s Table, Coypel’s Watch…), this book relates unfamiliar stories about some of the most important figures of the period, offering an alternative guide to the art world of early modern Paris. Engaging with fundamental historical debates about consumption and sociability, this book proposes a ‘material’ investigation that sheds new light on the role of objects in the lives of their owners, and in turn navigates through complex social networks and the overlapping territories in 18th-century France between commercial and sociable, emotional and practical.