Ph.D., Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1989
Professor Barber’s area of specialization is the history of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art, with a particular focus on the history and theory of the icon. He has also worked extensively on Byzantine aesthetics and intellectual history and with Byzantine manuscripts. He has written and edited a number of books. These include two studies of the contested status of the icon in Byzantium: Figure and Likeness: On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Iconoclasm (2002) and Contesting the Logic of Painting: Art and Understanding in Eleventh-Century Byzantium (2007). Current and future research will lead to books that examine the status of the icon in the 14th and 16th centuries.
In addition to presenting papers at numerous domestic and international conferences and symposia, Professor Barber has co-organized several interdisciplinary workshops on Byzantine intellectual history. These have resulted in such publications as Reading Michael Psellos (2006), Medieval Greek Commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics (2009) and Michael Psellos on Literature and Art: A Byzantine Perspective on Aesthetics (2017).
Professor Barber teaches undergraduate lecture courses on all aspects of Early Christian, Byzantine, and Post-Byzantine art. Undergraduate and graduate seminars focus on current conversations in the field and will emphasize conceptual issues.
Professor Barber is currently at work on a book that examines the intellectual grounds of late-16th-century Cretan painting, particularly the work of Michael Damaskinos, George Klontzas, and Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco). He is also overseeing a multivolume publication of translations of sources for the study of Byzantine art and aesthetics.
Michael Psellos on Literature and Art: A Byzantine Perspective on Aesthetics. Co-edited with Stratis Papaioannou. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
“On the Origin of the Work of Art: Tradition, Inspiration and Invention in the Post-Iconoclastic Era,” L’icône dans la pensée et dans l’art. Constitutions, contestations, reinventions de la notion d'image divine en context chrétien. Eds. Kristina Mitalaité and Anca Vasiliu. Turnhout: Brepols, 2017: 143–62.
"Contemplating the Life of Christ in Icons of The Twelve Feasts of the Lord," The New Testament in Byzantium. Eds. Derek Krueger and Robert S. Nelson. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2016: 221–38.
“Beyond Representation/the Gift of Sight,” Byzantium/Modernism. Eds. Roland Betancourt and Maria Tarutina-Pitard. Leiden: Brill, 2015: 330–45.
"Neophytus Prodromenus on Epigraphy," Theologisches Wissen und die Kunst: Festschrift für Martin Büchsel. Berlin: Mann Verlag, 2015: 211–25.
“Out of Sight: Painting and Perception in Fourteenth-Century Byzantium,” Studies in Iconography 35 (2014): 107–20.
“Thingliness,” Byzantine Things in the World. Ed. Glenn Peers. Houston: Menil Collection, 2013: 98–105.