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Sarah Dillon

Assc Professor


Biography / Research Interests

Dr. Sarah Dillon is an Associate Professor of Art History at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY and has taught at Kingsborough since 2013. She earned her doctoral degree from The Graduate Center, CUNY in 2013.

She has published articles and book chapters on early modern art of Italy. Her book, Seeing Renaissance Glass: Art, Optics, and Glass of Early Modern Italy, 1250-1425, was published by Peter Lang in 2018 and, with a grant from Knowledge Unlatched, is available online through open access. This book catalogues the many examples of early Renaissance artists engaging with glass, whether through depictions of glass objects or working with actual panels of glass. It suggests that it was not a coincidence that the artists interested in glass were some of the same ones best known for their innovative naturalism. It argues that these early Renaissance artists interested in naturalistic illusions were informed by the physical properties, spiritual symbolism, and optical associations of glass.

Her current research program continues builds on the topic of art and materiality by exploring issues of ecocriticism within the context of early modern art. She is currently preparing a manuscript on this topic.


Art 22 (Medieval Art), online and in-person

Art 38 (Renaissance Art), online and in-person

Art 31 (Survey of Art History: Survey from Prehistory to the Present), online and in-person

Art 33 (Survey of Art History I: From Ancient to Renaissance Art), online and in-person

College Teaching:

In addition to teaching at Kingsborough, Prof. Dillon has previously taught at the following schools: Parsons New School, Hunter College, City College, and Bronx Community College. Her courses have included various formats of the art history survey as well as courses on Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art.


BA, DePaul University, Chicago, 2002

MA, Syracuse University, Florence, Italy, 2004

M.Phil., The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2011

Ph.D., The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2013

Publications and Presentations:

Dillon, Sarah. Seeing Renaissance Glass: Art, Optics, and Glass of Early Modern Italy, 1250-1425. New York: Peter Lang, 2018.

Journal Articles:

Dillon, Sarah. “The Problematic Baptist: Benedetto da Maiano’s Sala dei Gigli Doorway in the Palazzo Vecchio.” Burlington Magazine 160 no. 1385 (August 2018): 624-629.

Dillon, Sarah. “Verre Églomisé Reliquaries: Windows to Relics and Mirrors of the Divine.” Chicago Art Journal 21 (2012): 20-30.

Dillon, Sarah. “Trecento Devotion and Visuality: A Verre Églomisé Reliquary by Tommaso da Modena.” Comitatus 43 (2012): 115-132.

Book Chapters:

Dillon, Sarah. “The Piety of Glass: Relics and Issues of Materiality in the Reliquary of Mary Magdalene.” In The Interaction of Art and Relics, edited by Livia Stoenescu, (153-167). Turnhout: Brepolis, 2020.  

Dillon, Sarah. “Early Renaissance Reliquaries: Shaping Renaissance Art Through Private Devotion.” In More than Mere Playthings: The Minor Arts of Italy, edited by Julia Fischer, (83-98). Newcastle- upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2016.

Online Publications:

Dillon, Sarah. “Art History as Civic Engagement.” Art History Teaching Resources ( Sept. 17, 2015.

Dillon, Sarah. “Italian Renaissance Art: 1400-1600.” Art History Teaching Resources ( Oct. 1, 2014.

Conference Presentations:

“Ecocriticism and Early Modern Glass.” Medieval Ecocriticisms Roundtable, The 58th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (May 11-13, 2023).

“Putting the Material Back in Materiality.” The 107th Annual Conference of The College Art Association, New York, NY (Feb. 13-16, 2019).

“The Duality of Glass: Revealing and Concealing Holy Relics in Early Modern Italy.” The 63rd Annual Meeting of The Renaissance Society of America, Chicago, IL (March 30-April 1, 2017).

“Locating the Boundary Between the Vitreous and Crystalline in Early Modern Italy.” The 105th Annual Conference of The College Art Association, New York, NY (Feb. 15-18, 2017).

“The Splendor of Roman Gold: Gilded Glass in Medieval Roman Monuments.” The 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (May 12-15, 2016). (Accepted but unable to attend.)

“Italian Stained Glass of the Trecento: Late Medieval, Gothic, or Early Renaissance?” 71st Annual Southeast College Art Conference, Pittsburgh, PA (Oct. 21-24, 2015).

“Enhancing Civic Engagement in a First-Semester Art History Learning Community,” 24th Annual International Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Conference, sponsored by The Community College National Center for Community Engagement, Scottsdale, AZ (May 19-21, 2015).

“Action is Eloquence: Multi-Modal Walkabouts Unbinding Typical Notions of Literacy,” Literacy Unbound: Exploring Text Across Multiple Modes, Teacher’s College, New York, NY (May 1-2, 2015).

“Early Renaissance Glass Reliquaries,” American Association of Italian Studies, sponsored by The Italian Art Society, Boulder, CO (March 26-29, 2015).

“At the Threshold of the Divine: Gilded Glass in Early Renaissance Art,” South-Central Renaissance Conference, Raleigh, NC (March 12-14, 2015).

“Shaping the Divine: Trecento Devotional Art and Ugo Panciera’s Treatise on Perfection,” Annual Meeting of The Renaissance Society of America, New York, NY (March 27-29, 2014).

“Remediation and Early Modern Reliquaries,” Annual Meeting of The College Art Association, Chicago, IL (February 12-15, 2014).

“A Reevaluation of Fourteenth-Century Verre Églomisé Reliquaries,” Annual Meeting of The Renaissance Society of America, San Diego, CA (April 4-6, 2013).

“A Multimedia Devotional Panel and the Journey from the Material to the Immaterial,” New Media and the Middle Ages: The Eighth Annual Pearl Kibre Medieval Study Interdisciplinary Student Conference, New York, NY (March 1, 2013).

“Through Western Eyes: Relics and their Repositories from the Loca Sancta,” Annual Meeting of The Renaissance Society of America, Washington, DC (March 22-24, 2012).

“Relics on View: The Optical and Spiritual Implications of Transparent Glass in Trecento Reliquaries,” Experimental Cultures: Mergers of Art and Science, University of Toronto (January 27, 2012).

“Encountering Islamic Optics: The Revival of Verre Églomisé in Early Italian Renaissance Art,” Early Modern Encounters, Early Modern Interdisciplinary Group of the City University of New York Graduate Center (April 29, 2011).

“The Door of the Sala dei Gigli and the Misplaced Sculpture of Saint John the Baptist,” Alla Porta: Studies on the Renaissance Threshold, Syracuse University Graduate Program in Renaissance Art, Florence, Italy (December 3, 2004).

Events and/or Key Dates:

Tenure Granted, Fall 2019

Advanced to Associate Professor, Fall 2019