The Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

The Kurt Weitzmann Memorial Lecture Series in Late Antique, Early Christian, Byzantine, and Early Medieval Art was endowed by a bequest from the estate of Professor Kurt Weitzmann and Josepha Weitzmann-Fiedler.

Kurt Weitzmann joined Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology in 1935 and spent the remainder of his scholarly career there and at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he was a permanent member of the School of Historical Studies. In 1938, he began his long association with Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University’s research center for Byzantine studies, where he presented the paper “Principals of Byzantine Book Illumination” even before the center was fully established. Always interested in the relationship between text and images, Weitzmann's first major project at Princeton was preparing a corpus of illustrated manuscripts of the Septuagint, in collaboration with his Princeton colleagues Charles Rufus Morey and Albert M. Friend, Jr. His magnum opus in this series, The Byzantine Octateuchs, coauthored with Massimo Bernabò, was published posthumously in 1999. Among his other influential books is Illustrations in Roll and Codex, a distillation of his principles of manuscript interpretation, which appeared in 1947 and was later revised and reissued in 1970.

In 1956, he began his long association with the ancient Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, where he codirected a research expedition with George H. Forsyth, Jr., of the University of Michigan. This led to Weitzmann’s seminal publication of the monastery’s unparalleled collection of early Byzantine icons in 1976, followed by a volume on the manuscripts, The Illuminated Greek Manuscripts, volume 1, From the Ninth to the Twelfth Century, coauthored with George Galavaris, which appeared in 1990.

Weitzmann was responsible for training many of the leading medievalists of the next generation, including Robert P. Bergman, Lorenz Eitner, George Galavaris, Oleg Grabar, Thomas Hoving, Herbert Kessler, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Robert Koch, John Rupert Martin, James Snyder, Paul Underwood, and Gary Vikan.

Kurt Weitzmann was conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Princeton University at his bedside shortly before his death in June of 1993.


October 11, 2016
Thomas MathewsInstitute of Fine Arts, New York University

The Dawn of Christian Art in Panel Paintings and Icons

5:00 PM ∙ 101 McCormick Hall

February 18, 2016
Annabel WhartonDuke UniversityThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

The Agency of Models: Holy Sepulchres, Hagia Sophias, Jerusalems

101 McCormick Hall, 5:00 pm

Wharton NEW cropped
April 17, 2015
Robin CormackCourtald Institute of Art, emeritusThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Discovering Icons at Sinai: From Uspenskij to Weitzmann

101 McCormick Hall, 5:00 pm

Icon of Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus
November 14, 2012
Anthony CutlerPennsylvania State UniversityThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

The Empire of Things: Gifts and Gift Exchange in Late Antiquity, Byzantium, Early Islam, and Beyond

November 21, 2011
Sible de BlaauwRadboud University of NijmegenThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

The Court of Saint Peter's: An Early Christian Church Atrium as a Place of Memory

101 McCormick Hall, 5:00 pm

Weitzman-2011 crop
February 22, 2010
Gerhard WolfMax Planck Institute, FlorenceThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Between the Global and the Local: Mediterranean Art Histories

November 18, 2009
Elizabeth BolmanTemple UniversityThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Discovering Early Byzantine Monasticism in Upper Egypt: Art, Archaeology, and Conservation

Bolman A cropped
October 21, 2008
Alexei LidovResearch Centre for Eastern Christian Culture, Moscow; Russian Academy of Arts for Research and Innovative ProgramsThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Hierotopy: Spatial Icons and Image-Paradigms in Byzantine Culture

LIDOV cropped
November 12, 2007
Herbert L. KesslerJohns Hopkins UniversityThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Competing Faces in Early Christian Art and the Monopoly on Christ's Likeness

April 5, 2006
Robert NelsonYale UniversityThe Kurt Weitzmann Lecture

Light at Sinai, Natural, Artificial, Divine

Nelson 2 sharp