The study of medieval art and architecture has a long and distinguished history at the University of Toronto, where such influential scholars as Peter Brieger, Elisabeth Alföldi-Rosenbaum, Luba Eleen, Robert Deshman, and Kay Openshaw helped amass a formidable collection of photographs, books, and other research tools that continue to benefit students and faculty members. The department’s two medievalists, Jill Caskey and Adam Cohen, share a methodological approach that emphasizes close reading of individual objects situated firmly in their specific historical context, as manifest in their various research topics (see their faculty pages for details on current projects) and teaching. Some graduate seminars focus on themes, such as patronage or pilgrimage; others focus on specific media or locations, such as medieval books or Rome. A full list of courses appears here. Dissertations currently being written by Toronto students testify to the diverse interests of the faculty, with topics covering the whole medieval period and a variety of media.
Toronto provides an unusual laboratory for research in medieval art history, given the city’s fine collections of early Christian and late medieval art in particular. At the same time, we recognize and seek to address the larger scholarly, humanistic, and theoretical questions confronting not only art historians but also medievalists more broadly. We are active members of the University of Toronto’s wider community of medievalists and encourage our students to take courses at and participate in the rich offerings of the Centre for Medieval Studies, as well as the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and its remarkable specialized library. In short, with two medievalists on the faculty, a coterie of prominent medievalists in other fields, and an array of exceptional resources, the University of Toronto provides unusual breadth and depth for the study of medieval art and architecture. We invite you to contact and visit us to learn more about our program.