Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University
Dr. Carla Benzan is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University whose past and present research investigates the changing epistemological status of sacred images in northern Italy after the Council of Trent. In the context of zealous reform and intense concern surrounding the conversion of Christian souls, new kinds of visual images transformed the way that viewers could access the divine and engender self-transformation. Her doctoral research, completed at the University College London (2015), reassessed the role played by images in pilgrimage to the Sacro Monte of Varallo. Carla's postdoctoral research project, "Suspending Belief: visual images and the art of falling (1570/1970)" argues that illusionistic images of falling heretical bodies paradoxically created a suspension of belief that gave impulse to more modern forms of experience in art theory, scepticism, and empiricism c. 1570. Since completing her PhD, Carla has been a Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at the University of Essex (2015-16) and a Teaching Fellow at UCL (2014-2015). She has given papers at numerous international conferences and has published articles and book chapters on contemporary, modern and early modern art, including two forthcoming book chapters based on her PhD research.