Art History Department

Cohen, Adam S. MA, PhD

Medieval Art (UT St. George)


I am fascinated by the tension medieval art presents as something that is both alien and yet deeply connected to the motives and concerns of people today.  In my research and teaching, I try to uncover how and why people in the Middle Ages invested considerable resources in the production of art, and how that art provided a unique means of linking abstract theory (theological or philosophical) and daily practice (religious or secular).  I find illuminated manuscripts a particularly fruitful area for such investigations, especially for monastic communities and audiences, and I confess that I still get a remarkable charge whenever I have the privilege of holding a medieval book much as its original users did.  As a teacher, I encourage my students to find their own voices but always to listen to the messages being communicated by their materials.  I am currently working on several different projects:  an investigation of double-page spreads in manuscript illumination, a study of miscellanies and schematic illustrations in twelfth- and thirteenth-century manuscripts, and a work on illustrated Haggadot (the book used at the Passover seder service).

Areas of Academic Interest
  • Medieval Art
  • Jewish Art
  • Ph.D The Johns Hopkins University, 1995
Selected Publications
  • 100 Illustrated Haggadot (Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, forthcoming)

  • Eye and Mind:  Essays in Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Art by Robert Deshman (Kalamazoo, Mich.: The Medieval Institute, Richard Rawlinson Center, 2010)

  • The Uta Codex:  Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany (University Park, Pa.:  Penn State University Press, 2000)

  • Editor, Gesta (the journal of the International Center of Medieval Art), 2013–16

  • Confronting the Borders of Medieval Art, co-edited with Jill Caskey and Linda Safran (Leiden: Brill, 2011)

  • “Monastic Art and Architecture: 700–1050,” in Cambridge History of Medieval Western Monasticism (Series: Cambridge New History), ed. Alison Beach and Isabelle Cochelin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

  • “King Edgar Singing and Dancing Before the Lord,” in Imagining the Jew: Jewishness in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Samantha Zacher (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming)

  • “La Haggadah multi-sensorielle,” Cahiers de civilization medieval 55 (2012) [2013]: 521–39

  • “The Art of Regensburg Miscellanies” in Manuscript Miscellanies: Composition, Authorship, Use (Medium aevum quotidianum, Sonderband 31), ed. Lucie Dolezalova and Kimberly Rivers (Krems, 2013), 34–69

  • “Magnificence in Miniature: the Case of Early Medieval Manuscripts,” in Magnificence and the Sublime in Medieval Aesthetics: Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, ed. C. Stephen Jaeger (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 79–101

  • “Making Memories in a Medieval Miscellany,” in Making Thoughts, Making Pictures, Making Memories in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Essays in Honor of Mary Carruthers, ed. Anne D. Hedeman, Gesta 48 (2009): 135–52

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