Prof. Caylen Heckel headshot

Caylen Heckel

Assistant Professor
Art History


My research broadly examines the role of visual culture at the intersection between individuals and institutions in Renaissance Europe. I have been drawn to questions of gender and sexuality in art and the ways in which objects can perpetuate and contest dominant political and legal forces. My book manuscript examines sixteenth-century goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini through the lens of exile, drawing on juridical, medical, metallurgical, and literary sources to analyze his three-dimensional works, from sculptures to coins.

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach a range of classes, such as “Visualizing Public Shame” and “Hair, Flesh, Body,” which approach a topic through case studies that cut across global historical contexts. I believe that history can tell us a lot about the world we live in today, and my classes often approach topics from both historical and contemporary perspectives.  

Research Areas

Europe, Italy, early modern, Renaissance, exile, sculpture, coins, gender, sexuality, crime


“Hierarchies of Value: The Medallist’s Work in Sixteenth-Century Art.” 
Source: Notes in the History of Art 41, no. 2 (Winter 2022): 99-108.

“Freedom, Exile, and Murder: The Story of an Unfinished Medal for Duke Alessandro de’ Medici.”
The Medal 79 (Fall 2021): 22-28.