Spotlight on Bridget Heal
March 15, 2013 1 Comment
Bridget Heal did her undergraduate degree at Newnham College Cambridge, followed by an MA in fourteenth-century Italian art history at the Courtauld Institute in London. She stayed in London for her PhD, working with supervisors at Royal Holloway, the Courtauld and the National Gallery. In 2000 Bridget returned to Newnham for two years as a junior research fellow, and then came to St Andrews in 2002.
Bridget’s research interests focus on German history and art history of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Her first book, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany (CUP, 2007) used both visual and textual sources to investigate what happened to the fervent Marian piety of the late Middle Ages during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. The project that Bridget is now working on, Lutheran Visual Culture during the Age of the Renaissance and Baroque, asks why Lutheranism – a confession that of course derived its significance from the promulgation of the Word – came to value the visual so highly. It will explain the origins and significance of splendid monuments such as Dresden’s Frauenkirche. Bridget was fortunate enough to be able to spend 2010-2012 in Berlin on research leave working on this project.
At the moment Bridget is Director of the Reformation Studies Institute here in St Andrews, and she has recently become co-editor of the journal German History. Particular projects for 2013 include advising Sir John Eliot Gardiner on Lutheranism for his programme, The Genius of Bach, to be broadcast on BBC2, and hosting an international workshop on Art and Religious Reform in Northern Europe, 1500-1650.
Bridget teaches at all levels in the School and offers the honours module Art and Piety in Western Europe, 1400-1700.
Bridget is married to fellow St Andrews historian Guy Rowlands. They used to have an exchange rate of one castle visit to two church visits on their holidays. Since their son, Thomas, arrived in 2007, they have mostly just surrendered to the lure of Playmobil Funpark, though.