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Lisa Boutin Vitela, Associate Professor, Art History

Lisa at Museum Lisa Boutin Vitela, Ph.D. 
Art History / Visual & Cultural Studies
Office hours: On sabbatical leave -- Fall 2022 & Spring 2023
Office: FA 120
Phone: (562) 860-2451 ext. 2615 


Dr. Vitela received her B.A. from Emory University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from UCLA. Her dissertation analyzed the significance of ceramics created for Isabella d’Este, the most famous female patron of the Renaissance, and for her son Federico II Gonzaga within the context of the Mantuan court. Her articles about Renaissance banqueting practices and the reception of early modern ceramics have appeared in the journals Word and Image and Women's Studies: An inter-disciplinary journal. Dr. Vitela was principal investigator of IDEA Ceramics, a website and database dedicated to Isabella d'Este's maiolica as part of the Isabella d'Este Archive (IDEA) digital project.

Her current research projects analyze the collection and use of ceramics in the sixteenth-century papal and Medici courts to consider how the medium established identity and fit into broader artistic programs.

Dr. Vitela has presented at many conferences and symposia, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana in Mantua, Italy, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She regularly presents lecture series at local museums including the Bowers Museum and Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). 

She was a co-organizer of the 2019 Cerritos College Florence Summer Study Abroad Program

Dr. Vitela was a 2021-22 fellow in the Stanford University Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) Fellowship program.

Recent Courses:

  • ART 100: Introduction to World Art
  • ART 101: Art History I -- Prehistory to Gothic
  • ART 102: Art History II -- Renaissance to Rococo
  • ART 107: Asian Art History
  • ART 118/WGS 118: History of Women in Visual Arts
  • ART 125/HUM 125: Introduction to Visual and Cultural Studies


“Virgilian Imagery and the Maiolica of the Mantuan Court” in Virgil and Renaissance Culture, ed. Luke Houghton and Marco Sgarbi (Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2018), 49-62.

“Inscriptions and the dynamic reception of Italian Renaissance maiolica.” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Inquiry 30.2 (Jul., 2014): 168-176.

“Dining in the Gonzaga Suburban Palaces: The Use and Reception of Istoriato Maiolica” in Le Banquet de la Renaissance: Images et Usages, ed. Diane Bodart and Valérie Boudier (Pisa: Predella, 2013), 103-115.

“Passive Virtue and Active Valor: Carpaccio’s Two Ladies on an Altana above a Hunt.” Comitatus 43 (Sept., 2012): 133-146.

“Isabella d’Este and the Gender Neutrality of Renaissance Ceramics.” Women’s Studies: An inter-disciplinary journal 40.1 (Jan., 2011): 23-47.

Digital Humanities Project:

Principal Investigator, IDEA Ceramics: a website dedicated to the study of ceramics owned by Isabella d’Este and other Renaissance Collectors. Co-PI: Dr. Valerie Taylor (Pasadena City College); Technology: Dr. Anne MacNeil (UNC Chapel Hill). Website published 2017-2021. 


"Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este," in Smarthistory, August 1, 2019,

Interview about the Renaissance for the podcast "Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness" produced by Earwolf Podcast Network (Episode #54, May 15, 2018).

Contributing Researcher and Participant, The Illustrated Credenza (2015): a short film about the maiolica service of Isabella d’Este. Film produced by Dr. Valerie Taylor and Mario Piavoli. Available on YouTube and Vimeo.

Art History Basix YouTube Channel

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