Lehti Mairike Keelmann is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She specializes in late medieval and early modern northern European art, with a particular focus on art production and exchange in the Baltic Sea region during the time of the Hanseatic League (c. 1300-1600). Her research interests include local-regional artistic exchange and mediation, patronage studies, altarpiece production, and issues of materiality. Lehti explores a particular form of conversion, that of artistic exchange, and its connection to the relationship between local and regional influence (as opposed to the hierarchical conception of centre-periphery). Her dissertation concerns the art patronage of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads, an elite urban corporation of unmarried men in the eastern Baltic, and their artistic ambitions and links abroad. Using the Brotherhood as a case study, she approaches the notion of conversion from an art historical perspective, whereby the art objects they commissioned can be understood as visual conversions involving a mediation of artistic traditions with the patron’s desire for self-expression.
Lehti serves on the Student Committee of the International Center of Medieval Art as the newsletter liaison and co-organized the committee sponsored session, “The Scandalous and Marvelous in Medieval Art” at the 2013 International Medieval Congress (Kalamazoo). She has also participated in conferences and workshops in Sweden, Germany, England, and the U.S.A. In March 2013, Lehti was a visiting doctoral researcher at the Baltic Borderlands International Research Training Group at the University of Greifswald.