Dr. Lynn Jones and PhD candidate Sarah Mathiesen presented papers at the 42nd annual Byzantine Studies Conference (BSC), which was held at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art in December, 2021.
Dr. Jones organized the panel Macedonian Imperial Ideology, sponsored by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Studies. In this panel she also presented her paper, “The Vestibule Mosaic at Hagia Sophia: Visual Opposition to Macedonian Imperial Ideology.” In this reexamination of the tenth-century vestibule mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Jones suggests that the composition offered a visual corrective to emergent Macedonian imperial ideologies opposed by the Church. Pointing out the choice to depict Constantine without Helena, the rank and status accorded to the emperors in their inscriptions, the types and forms of imperial regalia, and the representation of age, Jones argues that this imperial image could not visually serve as a model for middle Byzantine rulership.
In the Graduate Student Session, Sarah Mathiesen presented, “Let Your Clothes Do the Talking: Iconography and Identity in a Cappadocian Rock-Cut Church,” in which she focuses on the representations of military saints – the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste and an unnamed saint wielding a weapon – located in the narthex of the Cappadocian rock-cut church, Yılanlı Kilise. The particular depiction of these saints is significant for two reasons: first, they provide iconographical data that can be used to re-date the church from the 9th century to the 10th – 11th century and, second, their distinctive dress (a kaftan) demonstrates the transference and absorption of non-Byzantine visual and cultural elements into Cappadocia. The decorative program of Yılanlı thus presents new evidence through which we can examine the rich socio-cultural and artistic interactions of Byzantine Cappadocia with the broader eastern medieval world.
Left: Sarah Mathiesen presenting her paper. Right: FSU art historians at the BSC: Caitlin Mims, Nina Gonzalbez, Dr. Brad Hostetler (PhD ’16), Sarah Mathiesen, Sonia Dixon, Dr. Lynn Jones, Madison Gilmore-Duffey.