Skip to main content
Alexis Culotta, Newcomb Art Department, Tulane University

Alexis Culotta

Professor of Practice, Art History

113D Woldenberg Art Center


Ph.D., University of Washington, Renaissance and Baroque Art


Alexis Culotta specializes in the art and architecture of sixteenth-century Rome. Her research investigates the working relationships of artists and how the tensions of competition, collaboration, and innovation drove artistic and architectural practice in the Eternal City and beyond.

Tracing the Visual Language of Raphael’s Circle

Her recent book, Tracing the Visual Language of Raphael’s Circle to 1527 (Brill, 2020),  explores how the Renaissance artist’s style – one infused with borrowed visual quotations from other artists both past and present – proved influential in his relationship with associate Baldassare Peruzzi and in the development of the artists within his thriving workshop. Shedding new light on the important, yet often-overshadowed, figures within this network, this book calls upon key case studies to illustrate how this visual language and its recombination evolved during Raphael’s Roman career and subsequently served as a springboard for artistic innovation in the years following Raphael’s death.

Her current projects are centered in the realm of the digital humanities. The first is the development of Vicino, a digital visualization of Raphael’s workshop and its various associates within an online platform that offers new ways to visualize the ways in which this network operated and exchanged ideas. The second is a developing project funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that aims to document the rapidly vanishing tradition of the sixteenth-century Roman frescoed façade in the digital realm.  

Prior to coming to Tulane in 2020, she served as a lecturer in both the Art History, Theory, and Criticism department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Learning and Public Engagement Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. She enjoyed an appointment as a Scholar in Residence at the Newberry Library from 2017-2020 and has been invited to share her work and knowledge in lectures across the Midwest and around the world as Member Travel Study Leader for the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Professor Culotta’s research and teaching interests include all topics relating to the Renaissance and Baroque eras, but of particular appeal are the Renaissance reception of and response to antiquity, the modes of workshop exchange during the era, and the reach of and reaction to period thought around the globe, and the benefits of digital humanities applications within the field. Of parallel interest is the evolution of Renaissance and Baroque ideologies into the eighteenth century among Italian artists amid the rise of the Grand Tour and the convergence of the art and souvenir markets.

Select Publications

“Façades of Friendship: Polidoro and ‘Pals’ in Early Sixteenth-Century Rome.” In K. Helmstutler Di Dio and I. Andreoli, eds., Friends with Benefits: Art and Friendship in Early Modern Italy (Belgium: Brepols, forthcoming 2022). 

“The Early Modern Italian Influence on New Orleans' Art Collections,” in L. Estevez, ed., Collecting, Conserving, Documenting, and Exhibiting Early Modern Art in the Southern US (UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021).

Tracing the Visual Language of Raphael’s Circle to 1527 (Amsterdam: Brill, 2020).

Invited entry, “Raphael and His Roman Workshop,” for the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World (RERW). 

“Self-Fashioning from the Screen into the Studiolo: Reframing the Renaissance in Remote Learning.” Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 51, no. S1 (Summer 2020).

“Baldessarre Peruzzi and the Architecture of Painting,” Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 50, no. 4 (Winter 2019).

"The Dramatic Side of Breaking Bad: Raphael, Peruzzi, and a Remarkable Revival of Vitruvius' Scaenae Frons," in J. Fischer, ed., Breaking with Convention in Italian Visual Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, August 2017). 

“A Novel Nymphaeum: Raphael’s Inaugural Architectural Commission in Rome Reconsidered,” Rutgers Art Review (Summer 2015).