Leslie Geddes specializes in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture. Her research broadly concerns how early modern artists studied and depicted the natural landscape. Her work investigates the interrelation of art and science, specifically how early modern artists, architects, engineers, and cartographers studied, depicted, and shaped the world around them.
Her first book, Watermarks: Leonardo da Vinci and the Mastery of Nature, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press and examines the work of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and his peers to analyze the subject of water in art in conjunction with the practical undertakings of hydraulic engineering. A revision of her prize-winning dissertation, the book has been awarded subventions from the Barr Ferree Publication Fund and Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts.
Her second book project, Weapons of Atlas: The Art and Science of Early Modern Cartography (1580–1650), foregrounds how mechanical instruments and art theory in tandem had profound implications for map design in Italy and beyond. The expanding world required firsthand observation, oftentimes aided by tools, and effective means of transcribing and interpreting terrain. Key to map production, the use of optical devices and measuring instruments, i.e., the compass and rule, magnetic compasses, astrolabes, and sextants, shaped habits of visualization formed through the use of pen and ink. In turn, artistic representation provided an expressive pictorial idiom for synthesizing the quantitative assessment and visual apprehension of land and sea. This new research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (The Newberry Library) and a Tulane Georges Lurcy Affiliated Fellowship (American Academy in Rome).
She received her Ph.D. in the history of art from Princeton University in 2014. She was awarded the 2016 Jane Faggen Ph.D. Dissertation Prize in Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Her research has been supported by a grant from the Kluge Foundation, a Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship, and a Readership in Renaissance Studies at Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti in Florence. Prior to coming to Tulane, she was a curatorial research assistant at the Morgan Library & Museum and a bibliographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dr. Geddes has been invited to present lectures in Ottawa, Turin, Mexico City, Florence, Los Angeles, Rochester, and elsewhere.
Her teaching interests include Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture; landscape theory; the reception of antiquity; scientific illustration (including cartography); artistic rivalries; the art of Rome; prints and the history of the book; and old master drawings. She warmly welcomes working with graduate students interested in these and related topics.
Watermarks: Leonardo da Vinci and the Mastery of Nature (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, under contract, in press, forthcoming 2020).
Catalogue entry in Marcantonio Raimondi, Raphael and the Image Multiplied, exh. cat., edited by Edward H. Wouk (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 192–93.
"Drawing Bridges: Leonardo da Vinci on Mastering Nature." In Illuminating Leonardo: A Festschrift for Carlo Pedretti Celebrating His 70 Years of Leonardo Scholarship (1944–2014), edited by Constance Moffatt and Sara Taglialagamba, 278–92. Leonardo Studies 1. Leiden: Brill, 2016.
“‘Infinite Slowness and Infinite Velocity’: The Representation of Time and Motion in Leonardo's Studies of Geology and Water." In Leonardo on Nature, edited by Alessandro Nova and Fabio Frosini, 269–83. Studi e Ricerche 11. Venice: Marsilio, 2015.
Ph.D. Thesis Committees
Facing Pilgrimage: Tenon Head Sculptures at the Ceremonial Center of Chavín de Huántar, Peru (in progress)
M.A. Thesis Committees
The Art of Erasure (in progress, examiner)
Heavenly Perspectives: Imagining Celestial Space in Giovanni di Paolo’s Paradiso Miniatures (second examiner, Spring 2019)
Becoming “Brazilian”: The Brazilian Cultural Performance in Henry II’s 1550 Entry into Rouen (second examiner, Spring 2019)
Codex Xolotl (second examiner, Spring 2017)
The Early Career of John Gadsby Chapman (third examiner, Spring 2016)
The Emulative Copy: Andrea del Sarto’s 1525 Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals (second examiner, Spring 2016)
Undergraduate Independent Study Project Advisor
Vesalius and the Medical Art (Spring 2018)
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Advisor Committee Member
Between Two Worlds: Cy Twombly’s Nine Discourses on Commodus (second examiner, Spring 2019)