Departmental Events

  • Stoddard Lecture Spring 2019-- Monastic Lessons in Cloth from Late Antique Egypt: Worn, Embodied, and Remembered

    Until 7:00 pm | 03/19/2019

    Thelma K. Thomas, Associate Professor of Fine Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

    Explorations of late antique painted portraits of the Egyptian desert fathers yield lessons about leading a righteous life. This presentation considers how visual messages and teaching texts about clothing directed attention to lessons embedded in the actual garments in which monastic fathers vested their spiritual children. In this way, the monastic habit could cue memories ranging from instruction about daily behavior to contemplation of the salvific virtues of monastic life that would form the monk's future resurrection body.

  • Stoddard Seminar Spring 2019-- "Designing Identity"

    Until 2:00 pm | 03/20/2019

    Thelma K. Thomas, Associate Professor of Fine Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

    The seminar is based on Professor Thelma Thomas' essays and work for the exhibition Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antique Egypt (2016).

    Ideals of character and beauty, and conceptions of self and society, were in flux during Late Antiquity, a period of extensive dramatic cultural upheaval for the Roman world, as the extraordinary growth of Christianity eclipsed paganism. Textiles from Late Antiquity document transformations of cultural traditions and societal values at the most intimate level of the individual body and the home. These textile artifacts are fragile, preserved only in arid conditions, often in fragments, and only rarely intact.

    The textiles selected for the exhibition Designing Identity at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World present an aesthetic of vibrant colors, fine materials, technical virtuosity of professional production, and variations on designs that display personal identity in the clothing of men, women, and children, as well as hopes for prosperity and protection in the textile furnishings of households. Prized for their artistry since the earliest discoveries beginning at the turn of the nineteenth century, such textiles were eagerly collected by designers, artists, scholars, museums, and captains of industry. This exhibition catalogue explores the parallel histories of ancient textile production and consumption, and the modern business of collecting Late Antique textiles.

    Attendance is open to UC Berkeley History of Art Department students, faculty, staff, and invited guests.

  • The 2019 Berkeley/Stanford Symposium at SFMOMA- Save the Date!

    The thrid Berkeley/Stanford Symposium will be on April 13, 2019. 

    The Berkeley/Stanford Symposium is an annual gathering of emerging voices in the arts. Organized collaboratively by graduate students in Art History at both Stanford and UC Berkeley, the symposia are open to graduate students in all fields and young members of the wider community of visual culture, including artists, designers, museum professionals, and writers.

    Details and RSVP information will be announced when available, check back soon!

  • Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop Series, 2018-19

    Until 2:00 pm | 04/17/2019

    Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Tenure Track Market
    Speakers: Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1:00-2:00, 308A Doe


    **Brown Bag event. Light refreshments will be provided**

  • Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop Series

    Until 2:00 pm | 04/17/2019

    Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz

    Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Tenure Track Market
    Speakers: Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1:00-2:00, 308A Doe Library

    **Brown Bag event. Light refreshments will be provided** 

  • St. Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read; 18th century; Goa. Repository: St. Joseph's Seminary Museum, Macau

    2019 Judith Stronach Travel Seminar Symposium

    Until 5:00 pm | 04/23/2019

    Indian Ocean Art Histories: Goa; Bombay; Kochi

    The 2019 Judith Stronach Travel Seminar focuses on the Indian Ocean, the third largest water body and the world’s oldest cultural continuum that has facilitated the mobility of people, objects, and ideas over millennia. Students in the seminar map the ways in which such oceanic networks also shaped the global history of art from the early modern period to the contemporary by focusing on three key moments in this longue durée history: Goa in the early modern period, Bombay under British rule, and the contemporary in Kochi via the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Participants of the Travel Seminar to India will present their research papers at a symposium in honor of the Seminar's benefactor, Judith Stronach.

    Joseph Albanese
    Katherine Bruhn
    Melissa Carlson
    Alex Ciolac
    Riad M. Kherdeen
    Andrea Jung-An Liu
    Ariana Pemberton
    Ramón De Santiago
    Joel Thielen

  • Computational Photography Techniques for Object-Based Research

    Until 2:00 pm | 03/15/2019

    Carla Schroer, Co-founder and Director of Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), San Francisco

    In this workshop, Carla Schroer will introduce the basics of two methods of computational photography—RTI and photogrammetry--and the extraordinary possibilities they offer for the study of artworks and historical artifacts. Schroer will demonstrate how light alone can be harnessed to reveal surface information unavailable through direct observation. Her talk will also will showcase the applicability of photogrammetry (3-D modeling) for the research, conservation, and documentation of artworks. The presentation includes an overview of the needed equipment, software, basic image collection techniques, and data preservation through Digital Notebook. Schroer is a pioneer and leader in the field of computational photography. She has worked on numerous cultural preservation projects (a Diego Rivera mural, Greek stelai, medieval manuscripts) and taught such workshops around the world. Her talk is not to be missed.


    The workshop has received funding from the Stoddard Lecture Series Fund and the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley.

  • Ceiling of Main Chamber, Cave 9, Yungang. Second Half of the Fifth Century.

    The Architecture of Hyperbole: Problematics of Scale and Style in Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture

    Until 7:15 pm | 02/27/2019

    Jun Hu, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

     The physical dimensions of Buddhas, like the Dharma, are often understood to be unfathomable. Even when they are described in scriptures, they appear in such hyperbolic terms that put them beyond human measure. The creation of cultic images and architectural spaces to enclose them therefore becomes a challenge and an opportunity to articulate the scaled relationship between the Buddha and the devotee. This lecture will look at how this is achieved at two levels: the creation of cave complexes and the construction of standalone timber structures and will conclude with some thoughts on the implications of this encounter with Buddhism for the development of Chinese architecture.

  • Shrine of the Mañjughoṣa Emperor, c. 1787. Niched hanging panel and calligraphy couplet. Eastern side hall, Pavilion of Raining Flowers, Palace Museum, Beijing.

    Refuge in the Empire: Art of Buddhist Kingship in Qing Dynasty China

    Until 7:15 pm | 02/20/2019

    Wen-Shing Chou, Assistant Professor, Hunter College

    In 1757, the Qing Qianlong emperor of China sent a portrait of himself to Tibet with the express instructions that the image serve as his surrogate for making pilgrimages and receiving veneration. The portrait, which subsequently became a locus of devotion in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, features the emperor in the guise of an ordained Buddhist monk, king, and deity at the center of a vast spiritual pantheon above a paradisiacal landscape. At least a dozen similar works were produced at imperial workshops in Beijing throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. This talk examines how these ideological images harnessed the efficacy of vision, materiality, lineage, and liturgy within an Indo-Tibetan devotional framework to effect and affirm a Qing-centered Buddhist orthodoxy. 

  • Shoroon Bumbagar: Tombs with Mounds in Central Mongolia

    Nancy S. Steinhardt, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

     The talk begins with a tomb often known as Shoroon Bumbagar that was excavated in Bayannuur, Bulgan province, Mongolia, in 2011. Covered with murals but without an inscription or other information about its date, the tomb is studied alongside the better known tombs such as Pugu Yitu’s (d. 678), only five kms away, and tombs of Tang China and Sogdiana. Before drawing conclusions, the talk turns to Türk, Uyghur, and other contemporary painting and architecture in Mongolia, to question the borders of Chinese art and architecture and why they are so extensive.

    Moderator: Patricia Berger, History of Art Emerita, UC Berkeley

    Event Contact:, 5106422809

    Free and open to the public.

    Sponsors: UC Berkeley Mongolia Initiative, History of Art, Archaeological Research Facility, Center for Chinese Studies

  • Eduardo Westerdahl, Jacqueline Lamba, and André Breton at the exhibition in Tenerife, 1935

    Upcoming Lecture: Óscar Domínguez and the International Surrealist Exhibition of Tenerife, 1935

    Until 12:00 pm | 02/06/2019

    Join us for “Culture and Politics in Spain: Óscar Domínguez and the International Surrealist Exhibition of Tenerife, 1935,” a lecture by Dr. Javier Cuevas del Barrio (University of Málaga).

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