In December 2019, the VRC welcomed Alice Sullivan to the team!
Alice Isabella Sullivan is an art historian whose knowledge and training in the field span the artistic production of Europe and the Mediterranean from Antiquity through the modern periods. She specializes in the art, architecture, and visual culture of East-Central Europe and the Byzantine-Slavic cultural spheres between c. 1300 and c. 1700. Alice has taught art history courses on medieval, Byzantine, Islamic, and early modern topics, as well as seminars on methodology and critical theory. She has published articles in The Art Bulletin, Speculum, Studies in History and Theory of Architecture, The Metropolitan Museum Journal, Romanian Medievalia, and Rutgers Art Review, and is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled Byzantium Reimagined in Moldavian Art and Architecture. In 2019, two of her publications received awards from the Medieval Academy of America and the Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture. Alice serves on the Board of Directors of several scholarly organizations, is an Editor for the Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, and is co-founder of the initiative North of Byzantium. Her research activities are available here.
Alice has worked with art and digital collections in various curatorial and research capacities at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Recently, she was involved with the Sinai Archive Project & Digital Humanities Initiative, which seeks to make the collection of religious icons and liturgical objects from Mount Sinai Monastery—held at both Princeton University and the University of Michigan—better known and accessible to students, researchers, and the wider public.
In the role of Information Resource Technical Specialist, Alice oversees image cataloging, collection development, and user outreach for the Visual Resources Collections unit in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan.
Alice is also the recipient of The Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture (SHERA) Emerging Scholar Prize. This award recognizes and encourages original and innovative scholarship in the field of East European, Eurasian, and Russian art and architecture. Alice won for her article “The Athonite Patronage of Stephen III of Moldavia, 1457-1504” Speculum 94.1 (2019): 1-46.
The committee's citation:
The committee is honored to award this year’s SHERA Emerging Scholars Prize to Alice Isabella Sullivan for her article, “The Athonite Patronage of Stephen III of Moldavia, 1457-1504” Speculum 94.1 (2019). After contextualizing Stephen III’s activities within the mid-fourteenth-century legacy of patronage directed from within the sub-Carpathian Romanian-speaking lands, Sullivan demonstrates how the Prince’s “aspirations as a Christian ruler and protector of Orthodox faith” (8) in a kingdom perceived as a bulwark of Christianity, and his fashioning himself “an heir to the authority of Byzantine emperors among Christian peoples under Ottoman control”(4) motivated his activities as a patron of Athonite monasteries of the “Holy Mount”. The committee felt this highly original study deserves the Prize for its new and significant contribution to our understanding of not only how sacred landscapes developed within the northeastern Greek territories in the nearly fifty-year period of Stephen III’s rule, but also how princely patronage from Europe’s eastern borderlands had a direct and profound impact on the broader reification of Byzantine culture after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Whereas previous scholarship has tended to focus on the study of Byzantine ideology in these lands (historical Wallachia, Moldavia) in the sixteenth-eighteenth centuries, Sullivan turns a conventional center-periphery argument on its head. An impressive linguistic and material array of primary sources that includes liturgical artifacts, vestments, manuscripts, buildings, inscriptions, and monetary records in Church Slavonic, Greek and Romanian underpins Sullivan’s deft elucidation of the connection between cross-cultural exchange and contemporary patronage. The committee would like to recognize and praise the intellectual work that a study of this type requires, the clarity of its presentation, and the demonstration of how the study of “borderland” territories is essential to how we interpret and theorize cross-cultural exchange.