Thomas E. A. Dale

(608) 263.5783

203 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Office Hours
Tuesdays, 12:30 – 2:30 or by appointment.
Director of Graduate Studies; Director of the Medieval Studies Program; Affiliate of Italian Studies in the Department of French and Italian; Affiliate of Religious Studies, The Division of the
Arts, and CREECA
Ph.D. The John Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1990
M.A. The John Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1986
B.A. Trinity College, University of Toronto, 1984
Research Interests
Early Christian, Medieval and Byzantine art; Romanesque art (religious experience and the senses); San Marco in Venice; the cult of the saints; monsters; portraiture; cultural appropriation and hybridity.


A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Johns Hopkins University, Prof. Dale taught at Columbia University in New York  before joining the Art History faculty at UW-Madison in 1999.  In his research and teaching, he explores how medieval art and architecture of Europe and the Mediterranean basin offer primary sources for understanding religion, politics, rituals and cultural interaction. An essential premise of his approach is the recognition that the efficacy of visual culture and architecture lie  in their forms, materiality and engagement of the spectator.   He firmly believes that the cultures of the Middle Ages offer crucial insights into current ideas and concerns, ranging from the power of material images (and iconoclastic destruction) to globalization and racism.

His current book project focuses on cultural exchange and race in medieval Venice.



Pygmalion’s Power: Romanesque Sculpture, the Senses, and Religious Experience (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, forthcoming, 2019).

Shaping Sacred Space and Institutional Identity in Romanesque Mural Painting: Essays in Honor of Otto Demus, contributor and editor with John Mitchell (London: Pindar Press, 2004).

Relics, Prayer and Politics in Medieval Venetia: Romanesque Painting in the Crypt of Aquileia Cathedral (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).


“Pictorial Narratives of the Holy Land and the Myth of Venice in the Atrium of San Marco” in The Atrium of San Marco in Venice: The Genesis and Medieval Reality of the Genesis Mosaics, eds. Martin Büschsel, Herbert L. Kessler, Rebecca Müller (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2014), 247-269

“Romanesque Mural Painting, Colour and Multi-sensory religious experience,” From Minor to Major: The Minor Arts and Their Current Status in Art History, ed. Column Hourihane (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2012), 23-42.

“Cultural Hybridity in Medieval Venice: Re-inventing the East at San Marco after the Fourth Crusade” in San Marco and the Myths of Venice (Washington D. C .: Dumbarton Oaks, 2010), 151-191.

“The Nude, Phantasia, Vision and the Affective Powers of Romanesque Sculpture” Romanesque at a Crossroads: Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Sculpture Studies, eds. K. Ambrose and R. Maxwell (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), 61-76.

“Romanesque Sculpted Portraits: Convention, Vision, and Real Presence,” Gesta 46, no. 2 (2007):101-119.

“The Monstrous,” in Romanesque and Gothic, ed. Conrad Rudolph, in The Companion to Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 253-73.

“The Individual, the Resurrected Body, and Romanesque Portraiture: The Tomb of Rudolf von Schwaben in Merseburg,” Speculum 77 (2002), 707-743.

“Monsters, Corporeal Deformities and Phantasms in the Romanesque Cloister of St-Michel de Cuxa”, Art Bulletin 83, no. 3 (2001): 402-436.

“Inventing a Sacred Past: Pictorial Narratives of Saint Mark the Evangelist at Aquileia and Venice, ca. 1000-1300,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 48 (1994):53-104.


AH103/RS200: Religion and Art                                                                                                                      AH 201: History of Western Art I: From Pyramids to Cathedrals (Formerly Ancient and Medieval Art)
AH 310: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
AH 311: Medieval Art
AH 318: Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture
AH 415: Topics in Medieval Art:
– Cultural Appropriation and Alterity in Medieval Art and Architecture
– Death and the Afterlife
– Image and Word in Medieval Manuscript Illumination
AH 515: Pro-seminar in Medieval Art:
– Representing the Body in Medieval Art
– Pilgrimage and the Cult of the Saints                                                                                                              -Race, Alterity, and Cultural Appropriation in Medieval Art

AH 600: Special Topics in Art History:
– Civic Art, Architecture and Public Space in Medieval Italy
AH 701: Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography, Methods
AH 815: Seminar in Medieval Art
– Icon: The Holy Image in Eastern Orthodox Culture (exhibition course:

– The Body in Medieval Art
– Monasticism and the Art and Architecture of Medieval Christendom
– The Senses and Affect in Medieval Art and Culture                                                                                         -Death and the Afterlife

-Mount Athos and Eastern Orthodox Culture  (exhibition course: