Saints Cosmas and Damian; west wall of the narthex, church of the Virgin Peribleptos, 1294/95, Ohrid; photo by Ivan Drpic
Faculty / Ivan Drpić

Ivan Drpić

Assistant Professor, Art History
Art Building, room 365

M.A., Harvard University, 2005
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2011


Byzantine art

My areas of research and teaching interest include the art, architecture, and material culture of the medieval Mediterranean and Europe, with an emphasis on Byzantium; the nexus of aesthetics, anthropology, and religion; theories of the image; and the intersection of the verbal and the visual. In my current book project, I explore the relationship between art and epigrammatic poetry in the last centuries of Byzantium, taking as my focus the realm of personal piety and its artistic arsenal. The project is grounded in a close examination of the corpus of Byzantine epigrams, or verse inscriptions, on art objects produced from around 1100 to around 1450. I use this rich and largely neglected evidence to offer a novel account of the aesthetic and devotional parameters of art-making in later Byzantine society. I have also begun a second project on Byzantine enkolpia, a broad category of objects, ranging from miniature reliquaries to crosses and engraved gems mounted in precious metal, worn suspended on the chest. Proceeding from a detailed analysis of these diminutive and often highly intricate objects and of an array of textual sources that illuminate various aspects of their use and circulation, I address a cluster of larger issues, among them the interplay between artifice, materiality, and the body; the convergence of optic and haptic forms of perception; and the role of devotional artifacts as social agents and instruments for negotiating personal and group identities. Being a native of Serbia, a special interest of mine remains the art and culture of the Slavic Balkans.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications:

"Text and/as Art," forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Literature, ed. S. Papaioannou

(with Andreas Rhoby) "Byzantine Verses as Inscriptions: The Interaction of Text, Object, and Beholder," forthcoming in A Companion to Byzantine Poetry, ed. W. Hörandner, A. Rhoby, and N. Zagklas

"Chrysepes Stichourgia: The Byzantine Epigram as Aesthetic Object," forthcoming in Sign & Design: Script as Image in a Cross-Cultural Perspective (300–1600 CE), ed. B. Bedos-Rezak and J. F. Hamburger

"The Patron's 'I': Art, Selfhood, and the Later Byzantine Dedicatory Epigram,"Speculum 89.4 (2014): 895-935

"Painter as Scribe: Artistic Identity and the Arts of Graphē in Late Byzantium," Word & Image 29.3 (2013): 334-353

"The Serres Icon of Saints Theodores," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 105.2 (2012): 645-694

"Notes on Byzantine Panagiaria," Zograf 35 (2011): 51-61

"Art, Hesychasm and Visual Exegesis: Parisinus Graecus 1242 Revisited," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 62 (2008): 217-47

"Three Scenes from the Cycle of Christ's Ministry in the Exonarthex of Sopoćani" (in Serbian), Saopštenja. Republički zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture 34 (2002): 107-29 page