Medieval and Early Modern Art

The fields of medieval and early modern art history have a rich historiographic tradition. Much of the most significant art historical writing of the past hundred years has confronted and responded to art made in Europe between the sixth century and the eighteenth century. More recently, these fields have embraced new approaches, challenging traditional assumptions with exciting results. If the notion of a "Renaissance" once served to distinguish the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries from the "medieval" past and implied value judgments that sometimes hampered intellectual exchange, today these fields engage in mutually enriching dialogue on shared methods and problems as well as cultural and historical differences.

Medieval and early modern art have been a particular strength of the Art History department of the University of Chicago for decades. Scholars who have taught at the University include Edgar Wind, Otto von Simson, Barbara Stafford, Herbert Kessler, Francis Dowley, Michael Camille, Ingrid Rowland, Linda Seidel, and Robert Nelson.

Today, the programs in medieval and early modern art history at the University of Chicago provide a multi-pronged introduction to the field, engaging students in both a close consideration of visual form and the in-depth reading of primary texts and archival documents. Students work with core department faculty in these fields as well as affiliated and resource faculty in other fields of art history and other departments. They are also encouraged to take classes at area institutions (Northwestern, the Newberry Library, the University of Illinois at Chicago) when relevant courses are offered. Supplementing coursework is the system of interdisciplinary workshops for graduate students and faculty sponsored by the Council on Advanced Study. Relevant workshops include the Western Mediterranean, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern workshops.

Additional pages detail the specific programs in Medieval, Early Modern, and Islamic art history, as well as current student work, research resources, and special events.