Leslie Geddes

Geddes cropped

Leslie Geddes

Renaissance and Baroque


Ph.D., 2014

Leslie Geddes is visiting assistant professor of European art 1400–1800 in the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University. She specializes in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture. Her research focuses on how early modern architects and engineers studied and depicted the natural landscape, specifically attending to the use of drawing in the production of knowledge.

Her dissertation, “Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Water,” was supervised by Professor John Pinto. Leslie has been awarded a research 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. She was a participant in the NEH Summer Institute Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art and Science.

Previously, she was a curatorial research assistant at the Morgan Library & Museum and a bibliographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition she curated, By and After: Early Modern Italian Prints, was on display at the Princeton University Art Museum from November 2013 to February 2014. At Princeton’s School of Architecture she served as a research assistant on a project to archive student theses dating from the 1930s to the 1960s. Prior to graduate school she worked at several contemporary art galleries. 

Current Research

Her first book project, “Watermarks: Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance Mastery of Nature,” analyzes the subject of water in art in conjunction with the practical undertakings of hydraulic engineering. She has two forthcoming articles, one on Leonardo’s geological studies and another on his drawings of mobile bridges, an ancient military technology. She is also producing an article on written descriptions of experiments that agitate natural phenomena, such as boiling water or lighting fires.

Selected Publications

“‘Infinite Slowness and Infinite Velocity’: The Representation of Time and Motion in Leonardo’s Studies of Geology and Water,” in Leonardo on Nature, ed. Alessandro Nova and Fabio Frosini (Marsilio, forthcoming).

“Drawing Bridges: Leonardo da Vinci on Mastering Nature,” in Leonardo Studies in Honor of Carlo Pedretti on the Occasion of His 70 Years of Leonardo Scholarship, ed. Constance Moffatt and Sara Taglialagamba (Brill, forthcoming).

Selected Talks

“‘To Make Beautiful Spectacles’: Leonardo da Vinci on Thinking Visually,” at Rethinking Early Modernity: Methodological and Critical Innovation Since the Ritual Turn, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University, Toronto, June 26–27, 2014.

“Breathing Under Water to See Under Water in Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawings,” at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, New York, March 27–29, 2014.

“Drawing Bridges: Leonardo da Vinci on Mastering Nature,” at the Annual Institute of Fine Art-Frick Symposium in the History of Art, April 19–20, 2013.

“Leonardo’s Mobile Bridges,” at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, San Diego, April 4–6, 2013.

“Infinite Slowness and Infinite Velocity in Leonardo’s Water Studies,” at Leonardo on Nature, organized by Alessandro Nova and Fabio Frosini, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, Italy, March 1–2, 2013 (invited paper).

“Infinite Slowness and Infinite Velocity in Leonardo’s Water Studies,” at After the Deluge: Reimagining Leonardo’s Legacy School of Architecture, University of Virginia, January 30, 2013 (keynote).