Dr Francesca Leoni
Dr. Francesca Leoni is the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art and a Research Associate at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford. She holds an MA and PhD in Islamic art and archaeology from Princeton University (2005 and 2008) and a Laurea Degree in Middle Eastern languages and civilizations from Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, Italy (1999, with honours). Dr. Leoni’s research interests focus on pre-modern and early-modern Islamic arts of the book; cross-cultural exchanges between the Islamic world, the Western world and Asia; and the history and circulation of technologies. Dr. Leoni is currently leading two projects: the analysis of a 13th century lustre bowl from Kashan in the Ashmolean collection in collaboration with Cranfield University (the research received private funding and will hopefully benefit from the George de Menasce Research Grant, to which an application was recently submitted) and a study of divinatory practices in pre and early modern Islamic societies in support of a large loan-exhibition entitled “Power and Protection: Art and the Supernatural in the Islamic World” scheduled to open at the Ashmolean in the autumn 2016. She is also directing the development of a portal for the arts of Islam, Islamic Art Online, generously funded by Mr. Yousef Jameel between 2011 and 2014. Amongst her latest publications are Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art, co-edited with Mika Natif (Farham: Ashgate, 2013), “Picturing Evil: Images of Divs and the Reception of the Shahnama,” in Shahnama Studies II, eds. Charles Melville and Christine Van den Berg (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 101-118, and the exhibition catalogue Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, co-authored with Ladan Akbarnia (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, distributed by Yale University Press, 2010).