Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, University Of Chicago

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Art History/Architecture, University of Chicago
Non est hic: Figuring the Absent Christ in Early Medieval Art

In this dissertation, I ask how early medieval art signified absence and so provoked Christians to confront the onus placed on them to believe in the unseen Christ. My project adopts a thematic, longue-durée approach because the problem of how to figure the Resurrected Christ in the Middle Ages was not specific to a single object, place, or even century. I will, however, focus my study on western European liturgical objects and spaces made c. 900-1200, a period of time when medieval artists variously invested in the project of representing what is not there. Charting different ways that the visual and performing arts depict the Resurrected Christ, I will examine how art in this period was tasked with representing Christ's absence on earth as a relational condition, a project that expanded the remit of art making, art objects, and architecture with figuring that which is not always visible. The dissertation is organized in two parts. The first (chapters 1 and 2) asks how narrative images struggled to mediate sacred written texts that did not easily lend themselves to representation: namely, the canonical Gospels' accounts of Christ's Resurrection and Ascension. Part two (chapters 3 and 4) moves beyond the Gospel narratives to explore how specific contemporary events, namely the Crusades and Eucharistic debate, may have exerted their own pressures on the broader project of figuring the Resurrected Christ in eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscript painting and architecture. With the support of a Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship, I would complete research for part one of my dissertation, i.e. chapters 1 and 2, in France, New York, the United Kingdom, and Germany.