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Medieval Jewish Art

It is characteristic for scholarship concerning art made for Jews to position this art squarely in relation to Christian imagery: viewed as either having been influenced by, or created in response to it. Certainly, Jews and Christians in medieval Europe did not live in hermetically enclosed societies, completely distinct from one another: the interaction between the two communities is well-documented.  But the notion of “influence” is thorny at best, dangerous at worst, especially when it comes to the exchanges between a majority and a minority culture, whereby the significance of Jewish art is diminished and submerged by the implicit assumption that it has to respond in some way to images made for Christians. In several new projects, which range from zoocephalic imagery in Hebrew manuscripts to liturgical implements used during the Havdalah ritual, I hope to shift focus from intention to reception and consider these images and these objects on their own terms.

Click below to read my most recent essay on Hebrew manuscripts.

Medieval Abstraction

The concept of abstraction has always been considered the domain of modern art. Abstraction, the master narrative goes, was forged and developed in the twentieth century in response to the cataclysmic events of the 1900s and as a revolt against the figurative tradition of the past. Our project intends to challenge this narrative and release the notion of abstraction from its modern and contemporary confines. Focusing on the long and rich tradition of nonfigurative art, which remains virtually unacknowledged by our field, we aim to identify and explore the concept of abstraction as it develops and transforms throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.  Predicated on the pre-modern theological articulation between truth, facts, and language, abstraction emerged as the primary vehicle for materializing the unspeakable, the unrepresentable, and the ineffable. Interdisciplinary in nature, our project aims to reformulate the very way that we approach the history of representation.

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Lödöse, Sweden, 12 century, shell badge.

Medieval Nordic Art

A series of essays on devotional objects from medieval Scandinavia

Collectors, Commissioners, Curators

Studies Inspired by Stephen N. Fliegel.
Series: Early Drama, Art, and Music.
Berlin: De Gruyter / Medieval Institute Press

Leading curators in their fields offer insights into curatorial practices, and perspectives on the histories of collecting and display by highlighting key objects in some of the most famous medieval collections in North America and Europe—Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Getty, the Groeningemuseum, The Morgan Library, Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Medieval Medium: Matter and Meaning

A collection of essays on medieval matter: bone, skin, flesh, animality

Current Projects: Work
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