I earned my bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College (2009), a masters in Art History from the University of Alabama (2014), and a doctorate from the University of Virginia (2020). My master’s thesis, “Quod vocatur Paradiso: The Pigna and the Atrium of Old St. Peter’s,” focused on the monumental ancient bronze pigna, or pinecone, that was once the unifying water feature of a fountain located in the atrium of the church of Old St. Peter’s in Rome. I studied the pigna‘s eighth-century incorporation into the church and examined how the sculpture’s addition to the forecourt led to the creation of a new architectural term – the paradiso – that reflected Old St. Peter’s emergent status as a center for pilgrimage and papal influence.


Prior to joining the Department of Art History at the University of Virginia as a doctoral student, I was a Eugene McDermott Educational Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art, a Teaching Assistant at the Pantheon Institute in Rome, an International Intern for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and a grant writer for the Nashville Cultural Arts Project: Seed Space. My ongoing research pertains to topics in late medieval and early modern art in Italy, specifically objects that are created, acted on, and restored many times – works that frustrate a study of the moment of creation and require an analysis that moves across time and geographic borders.


At the University of Virginia, I concentrated on topics involving art and cultural interchange between Italy and Byzantium, particularly as it relates to members of the Byzantine émigré Basil Bessarion’s (b. Trebizond ca. 1403, d. Ravenna 1472) humanist academy in Rome, relics and reliquaries, and the art and architecture of Crusade. I am also a former member of the UVA Society of Fellows, the Praxis digital humanities program in the Scholars’ Lab, the Graduate Student Public Humanities Lab at UVA, and served as the coordinator of UVA’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Medieval Colloquium.


Research Interests


Italian art

Late medieval and early modern art

Rome in the fifteenth century

Basil Bessarion (b. Trebizond ca. 1403; d. Ravenna 1472)

Art and cultural interchange between Italy and Byzantium

Relics and reliquaries

Visual cultures of Crusade

The Later Crusades

The militarization of works of art; works of art as weapons

Layered objects and sites

Digital and public humanities

World art; pedagogy of survey of art history

Public art; modern and contemporary art


BA, Art History & English, Kenyon College, 2009
MA, Art History, University of Alabama, 2014
Ph.D., Art History, University of Virginia, 2020

Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities, University of Virginia



Jordan Buysse, Alicia Caticha, Alyssa Collins, Justin Greenlee, Sarah McEleney, and Joseph Thompson, “DASH-Amerikan: Keeping up with the Social Media Ecologies of the Kardashians,” American Quarterly 70, no. 3, September 2018: 609-11. https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/39105.


Justin Greenlee, “Quod vocatur Paradiso: The Pigna and the Atrium of Old St. Peter’s,” Athanor 32 (2014): 7-15.

Justin Greenlee

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