Pamela Patton  Director

Pamela Patton_3357 final edit

Pamela Patton

DirectorThe Index of Medieval Art


Ph.D., Boston University, 1994

Pamela Patton’s scholarship centers on the visual culture of medieval Spain and its environs, particularly the role of the image in articulating cultural identity and social dynamics among the multiethnic communities of the Iberian Peninsula. Central to her work is the exploration of medieval iconographic traditions as uniquely expressive of community ideologies, practices, and folkways critical to modern understanding of the medieval world. She has published two monographs: Pictorial Narrative in the Romanesque Cloister (Peter Lang, 2004) and Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain (Penn State University Press, 2012), the latter the winner of the 2014 Eleanor Tufts Book Award. Her edited volumes include Envisioning Others: Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America (Brill, 2016). Her current research and forthcoming publications concern the significance of skin color in the visual traditions of Iberia and the western Mediterranean.

Before joining Princeton in 2015, Patton was professor and chair of art history at Southern Methodist University, where her recognitions included the President’s Associates Outstanding Faculty Award and a Godbey Author’s Award. She is a coeditor of Studies in Iconographyand an editorial board member of Oxford Bibliographies in Art History. Her scholarship has been supported by fellowships from the Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

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Teaching Interests

Patton’s teaching interests include multiculturalism in medieval Spain, artistic exchange in the medieval Mediterranean, and the nature of the medieval image.

Current Research

Patton is currently at work on a book about the role of depicted dark skin in medieval Iberia and the western Mediterranean, with particular focus on the tension between the traditional valencies of skin color in mainstream medieval Christendom and its more complex renderings and meanings in a multiethnic, multicultural Mediterranean.

Selected Publications

“Demons and Diversity in León,” Medieval Encounters (special issue, edited by Therese Martin), vol. 25, nos. 1-2 (2019), 150-179.

“The Other in the Middle Ages: Difference, Identity, and Iconography,” in The Routledge Companion to Medieval Iconography, ed. Colum Hourihane (London: Routledge, 2017).

“An Ethiopian-Headed Serpent in the Cantigas de Santa María: Sin, Sex, and Color in Late Medieval Castile,” Gesta 55.2 (2016).

Editor and introduction, Envisioning Others: Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America (Brill, 2016).

“The Little Jewish Boy: Afterlife of a Byzantine Legend in Thirteenth-Century Spain,” in Byzantine Images and Their Afterlives: Essays in Honor of Annemarie Weyl Carr, ed. Lynn Jones (Ashgate, 2014).

Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain (Penn State University Press, 2012).

“Constructing the Inimical Jew in the Cantigas de Santa María:Theophilus’s Magician in Text and Image,” in Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture, ed. Mitchell B. Merback (Brill, 2008).

“An Islamic Envelope-Flap Binding in the Cloister of Tudela: Another ‘Muslim Connection’ for Iberian Jews?” in Spanish Medieval Art: Recent Studies, ed. Colum Hourihane (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Index of Christian Art, Princeton University, 2007).

“Cain’s Blade and the Question of Midrashic Sources in Medieval Spanish Art,” in Church, State, Vellum, and Stone: Essays in Honor of John Williams, ed. Julie Harris and Therese Martin (Brill, 2005).

Pictorial Narrative in the Romanesque Cloister: Cloister Imagery and Religious Life in Medieval Spain (Peter Lang, 2004).

“The Cloister as Cultural Mirror: Anti-Jewish Imagery at Santa María la Mayor in Tudela,” in Der Mittelalterliche Kreuzgang: Architectur, Funktion und Programm, ed. Peter Klein (Schnell & Steiner, 2003).