Ana Howie

PhD candidate in Early Modern History
Ana Howie

Originally from New Zealand, I completed my BA in Art History and French at the University of Auckland and the Université Paris-Sorbonne. I completed my Master’s degree in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, specialising in early modern Netherlandish art. My dissertation, "Portrait of a Republican Princess: Space, dress and istoria in van Dyck’s Portrait of Elena Grimaldi-Cattaneo" considered the fluidity of the social and pictorial boundaries suggested through space, the representation of dress, and the dynamics of Afro-European encounters, as illustrated in the portrait. During a two-year break in my studies, I worked for the art fair Masterpiece London, before moving back to New Zealand to take a role at Auckland Art Gallery. I began my PhD at Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Ulinka Rublack in 2019. My research is funded by the Prince of Wales Cambridge International Scholarship.

My current research investigates elite women, dress, and portraiture in the Republic of Genoa between 1606 and 1627 through portraits executed by Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. The Republic of Genoa was an incredibly culturally-rich milieu, and Genoese women skillfully used their dress and fashions to mediate a pseudo-courtly Republican arena. My PhD investigates the sartorial vocabulary used by women, their relationship with a materialised world, and the impact of this interaction on the dynamics of Genoese society. The portraits of Genoa’s elite women by Rubens and van Dyck provide a useful lens through which the relationship between women and their dress, and the manner in which this informed their social identifications can be explored.

Association of Dress Historians - New Research in Dress History conference, Edinburgh - May 2019 - "Clothing Republican Queens: Dress and the feminine body in 17th-century Genoese portraiture".

Key publications