Emily Monty

Emily Monty

I Tatti/Museo Nacional del Prado Joint Fellow
Empire within Reach: Spanish Subjects and Roman Prints, c. 1493-1651
2023-2024 (January-June)
Emily Monty


Emily Monty specializes in the art and visual culture of early modern Europe and the Spanish world with a focus on the history of print. She received her doctorate from Brown University in 2021, where she completed the dissertation Printmaking in the Rome of Philip II, 1556-1598. Emily returned to Brown as a Deans’ Faculty Fellow in 2021-2022 to teach courses on art of the Spanish Empire and book illustration through a transatlantic, decolonial lens. Her research has been supported by numerous fellowships and institutions, including the Fulbright Program, the Kress Institutional Fellowship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, and Trinity College Dublin.

Project Summary

Empire within Reach: Spanish Subjects and Roman Prints, c. 1493-1651 is the first art historical study of Spanish pictorial printmaking in early modern Rome. Members of the powerful Spanish faction in Rome were subjects of prints as well as publishers, artists, patrons, and authors. The single sheet prints and illustrated books produced in this milieu focused on antiquarian knowledge, historic battles, saints’ lives, and local religious festivals, as well as more contentious topics including conflict among national factions, fear of the Islamic Other, and questions of Catholic reform. Unusually, however, this corpus includes almost nothing about the Spanish Americas until the Tesoro Messicano, published in 1651. Roman prints, therefore, make a stark contrast to popular images of American cannibals, Aztec temples, toucans, and silver-veined mountains printed throughout Europe. This book will use the methodologies of global art history to chart the horizons of the Spanish monarchy in Roman print. Iconography, narrative inscriptions, dedications, and material histories of prints are analyzed in the context of Spanish conquest and Catholic missions in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. The project, therefore, reveals the paradoxical priorities of both the Spanish Monarchy and the Catholic Church at a time of global expansion and internal strife, and argues for the central role of Roman printmaking in asserting the temporal and spiritual authority of the Spanish Monarchy in Europe.