History of Art + Visual Culture

Faculty

Susan Ward

Susan Leibacher Ward studies the medieval art and visual culture of Western Europe. While she has studied works in a variety of media, including textiles and manuscripts, her particular focus is French architectural sculpture of the 12th century. The arrangement and composition of medieval portals, especially the use of statue columns, is a significant research area. Medieval narrative, or visual storytelling, is another of her scholarly interests. In addition to studying the works themselves, Professor Ward has also investigated the historiography of medieval art including the role of museums and collecting in our understanding of such sculpture. 

Professor Ward’s scholarly projects include the Census of Gothic Sculpture in America, a multi-volume catalogue of works in American public collections. This work is sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Getty Foundation. She is currently co-editing volume III of the Museums of New York and Pennsylvania. She is also a core member of the Working Group on Medieval Sculpture, an international group of scholars attempting to understand the materials, object nature and context of medieval sculpture. She has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States, Europe and Israel and written numerous book reviews, exhibition reviews and articles on medieval art including “Fables for the Court: Illustrations of Marie de France’s Fables in Paris B.N. MS Arsenal 3142” in Women and the Book: Assessing the Visual Evidence, “Who Sees Christ? An Alabaster Panel of the Mass of St. Gregory” in Push Me, Pull You: Interaction, Imagination and Devotional Practices in Late Medieval and Renaissance, and “The South Porch of Le Mans Cathedral and the Concept of the ‘Follower’ Portal” in Neue Forschungen zur Bauskulptur in Frankreich und Spanien im Spannungsfeld des Portail Royal in Chartres und des Pórtico de la Gloria in Santiago de Compostela. Professor Ward has also written on pedagogy including two articles on teaching medieval art to students of art and design. She has been a director of the International Center of Medieval Art and a past president and board member of the New England Medieval Conference.