Originally trained as an art historian at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Melina developed a great love for the art and culture of the sixteenth century Low Countries early on during her studies. During her masters’, she focused on painting and patronage in the Low Countries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Both pre- and post-graduation, she was also involved in various projects in museums in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, as researcher or guest-curator. She started her PhD-research at the History department of UGent in September 2020.
Her current research project ‘Renovating the church’ focuses on material culture within the prominent urban churches of the Netherlands, using the Church of Saint Gudula in Brussels as a point of departure. The premise of this research is that Catholic patrons sought visual responses to the Reformation, even before the more coordinated Counter-Reformation campaign emerged in the late sixteenth century. The project aims to recognise and better understand these early experiments of ‘counter-reformational’ religious material culture.
To map out religious patronage, Melina takes all kinds of religious objects into account: altarpieces, micro-architecture, stained glass windows, liturgical garments, and more. Each type holds its unique material characteristics, iconographic conventions, and ways of conveying meaning. In addition, sources like church accounts, treatises, chronicles, epitaphiers and ego-documents provide her with valuable insights.
- Member of the UGent Old Masters seminar group
- Committee member of Signum, contact group for socio-economic and institutional-legal history of spiritual and ecclesiastical institutions in the Low Countries in the Middle Ages