UNCW Assistant Professor Abigail Upshaw Awarded Pedretti Fellowship

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Dr. Abigail Upshaw, an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History, has been awarded the Pedretti Fellowship from the Renaissance Society of America.

The fellowship is awarded to a rising scholar in the field of Leonardo da Vinci studies and supports scholarly research at the archive, collection, site, library or other venue for the scholarship of one’s choice.

"It is a tremendous honor that the Renaissance Society of America has selected me as the 2022 Pedretti Fellow,” said Dr. Upshaw. "It means a lot to me that my peers recognize the contribution I am making to our understanding of Leonardo da Vinci."

Da Vinci is known for his extant masterpieces, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. However, most people don’t know that da Vinci spent much of his time designing sets, costumes and stages for theatrical productions at the court of Milan, said Upshaw. Her research examines this important aspect of da Vinci’s career.

The Pedretti Fellowship will support Upshaw’s summer research in the rare book department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and her efforts to conduct additional research at the Morgan Library’s drawings collection archive.

Dr. Upshaw’s on-site research is relevant to an article she is currently writing, titled “‘Marvel at the New Star: The Apotheosis of Danaë, Baldassare Taccone, and Leonardo da Vinci.” This article is the first focused study of da Vinci’s stage designs for a production of a popular Renaissance play, La omedia di Danaë, she added.

“My summer research will ultimately be incorporated into my book-length study of da Vinci’s many ephemeral productions at the court of Milan,” said Dr. Upshaw, who joined UNCW in 2021.

The Renaissance Society of America established the Pedretti Fellowship to honor the late Professor Carlo Pedretti, one of the world’s leading experts on the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.

--Venita Jenkins