UC Berkeley History of Art Department

People / Faculty


  • Beate Fricke


    Medieval Art and Architecture

    D.Phil., University of Trier, 2005
    M.Phil., University of Karlsruhe, 1999

  • Bio

     Beate Fricke teaches European Medieval Art and Architecture. Her research focuses on the history of images, objects and places, using perspectives from philosophy, cultural anthropology, history of the sciences and theology. Her research interests include theories of perception and animation, the history of allegory and mimesis, the prehistory of aesthetics and political participation, cultural and mercantile exchange, as well as the materiality of minor arts, decorative arts and reliquaries.

    She is currently working on two projects: The first, Trading Architecture analyses the loci of exchange of merchandise, knowledge and culture in the Mediterranean with the Middle and the Far East. For the second, Object Histories. Early Modern Flotsam, she was awarded a collaborative research grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, together with Finbarr Barry Flood. She is also the recipient of fellowships from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Swiss National Research Foundation (SNF), the Gerda-Henkel-Foundation, the Hellman Faculty Fund, and other awards.

     Fricke's first book, Ecce fides. Die Statue von Conques, Götzendienst und Bildkultur im Westen (2007), investigated key issues in medieval religious imagery and culture: idolatry, veneration and medieval theories of images and relics. The translation has been published in the series Studies in the Visual Cultures of the Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols 2015), as Fallen Idols, Risen Saints. Sainte Foy of Conques and the Revival of Monumental Sculpture in Medieval Art.

    Her second book Beautiful Genesis. Creation and Procreation in Late Medieval Art (under contract with Penn State University Press), scrutinizes the intersections between art, natural philosophy, and theology, and investigates how the emergence of life is reflected, described and represented.

    Beate Fricke has co-edited an anthology of articles on the relation between image and collective [Bilder und Gemeinschaften, Studien zur Konvergenz von Politik und Ästhetik in Kunst, Literatur und Theorie, Fink 2011], probing the impact of images on the formation of communities from late antiquity until the 21st century. Together with Urte Krass she has edited the anthology “The Public in the Picture. Involving the Beholder in Antique, Islamic, Byzantine, Western Medieval and Renaissance Art" (Zurich/Berlin, 2015).

    Before joining the faculty at the Department of History of Art at Berkeley, she taught in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. In 2010 she spent the summer as a visiting professor in Shanghai, 2012 she was visiting professor at the LMU, Munich. Undergraduate teaching has included seminars on Beginnings in Medieval art and present theory, Albrecht Dürer, and lecture courses on Relics, reliquaries and cult images, Premodern Visual Culture, Gothic art and “Art & Science". On the graduate level she has taught seminars on art, alchemy, procreation and the divine artist in late medieval art, the Proseminar (HA 200) on theories and methods in the history of art history to present, as well as seminars on Theories of the Sacred and on Mimesis.

  • Books

  • Select publications

    "Presence through Absence. Thresholds and Mimesis in Painting", in: Representations 130 (2015), pp. 1-27 (download pdf)

    "Tales from Stones, Travels through Time. Narrative and Vision in the Casket from the Vatican", in: W86th. A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 21/2 (2014), pp. 230-250 (download pdf)

    "A Liquid History. Blood and Animation in Late Medieval Art", in: Wet/Dry, ed. by Francesco Pellizi and Christopher S. Wood, Res. Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics (2013), 52-69 (download pdf)

    "Matter and Meaning of Mother of Pearl: The Origins of Allegory in the Spheres of Things" in: Gesta 2012 in a volume on Res et significatio: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. by Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey (download pdf)

    "Kommentare als Archiv. Relektüren der Genesis von Lucas Cranach und Martin Luther", in: Gewalt der Archive, hg. von Burkhart Wolf und Thomas Weitin, Konstanz University Press 2012, pp. 315-344 (download pdf)

    "Jesus Wept! On the History of Anthropophagy in Christianity. A new reading of a miniature in the Gospel book of Otto III", in: Res. Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 59/60 (2011), pp. 192-205 (download pdf)

    "Schaumgeburten. Zur Topologie der creatio ex nihilo bei Albrecht Dürer und ihre Vorgeschichte", in: Medio Mare. Zu einer Ikonologie des Meeres, hg. von Hannah Baader und Gerhard Wolf, Zürich 2009, pp. 33-58 (download pdf)

    "Fingerzeig und Augenblick. Galileo Galileis Finger zwischen Fetisch und Reliquie, Denkbild", in: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte III/1 (2009), pp. 80-94 (download pdf)

    "Fallen idols and risen saints: Western Attitudes towards the Worship of Images and the 'Cultura Veterum Deorum'", in: The Negated Image - Case Studies of Past Iconoclasms, ed. by Anne McClanan and Jeffrey Johnson, Ashgate 2005, pp. 67-59 (a Chinese translation published by Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House, PRC, pp. 93-106) (download pdf)