Kathryn Brush


Dr. Kathryn Brush, FRSC, Distinguished University Professor/Professor of Art History
Ph.D., Art History, Brown University, 1987
M.A., Art History, Brown University, 1982
B.A., Art History and German, McMaster University, 1978

Participation in undergraduate/graduate student exchange and research programs at the Université de Poitiers (France); the Universities of Göttingen, Köln, Kiel, and Rostock (Germany); and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich


Kathryn Brush’s undergraduate and graduate teaching focuses on medieval art and architecture and on the histories, theories, and practices of art history and visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her primary research interests are: Romanesque and Gothic art; medieval sculpture; the historiography of cultural-historical thought; histories of museums, archives, and art collecting; and medievalism.

Current Projects

Professor Brush is currently writing a book which maps and contextualizes the scholarly imagination of the pioneering American medievalist Arthur Kingsley Porter (1883-1933) of Harvard University. During the early twentieth century Porter played a key role in mobilizing the transatlantic study of medieval art and architecture, especially Romanesque architecture and sculpture. Several of Professor Brush’s most recent articles are related to this book project. Among them are an analysis (2016) of the professional bonds that linked Porter to Adolph Goldschmidt (1863-1944), Germany’s most influential scholar of medieval art during the early twentieth century, and a recent article (2017) exploring the photography of Porter and his photographer wife Lucy Wallace Porter (1876-1962). This revisionist essay foregrounds the contributions of Lucy Porter, who produced many of the images of medieval architecture and sculpture that have traditionally been assigned to her husband, arguing that she deserves recognition as one of the most important women photographers in the field of art history during the twentieth century. In the fall of 2018 Professor Brush co-curated an exhibition on Lucy Porter’s photography at Harvard University’s Fine Arts Library. In addition to exploring the pioneering activities of the Porters, Professor Brush’s recent research has focused on the history of Harvard’s Germanic Museum (now the Busch-Reisinger Museum) during the 1920s. Her article on the subject (2019) draws on previously unstudied archival sources to contribute new dimensions to our ever-enlarging picture of the transatlantic networks that connected European and American scholars and museums prior to 1933. 

Professor Brush actively involves students in her research. In 2010-2011 she collaborated with graduate students and art and historical institutions in southern Ontario, including the University of Toronto Art Centre, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, and Museum London, to explore and analyze the rich and multidimensional impact of medievalism on representations of North America’s history and visual culture. This research and curatorial initiative (http://mappingmedievalism.ca) resulted in an exhibition with multiple venues, a book, a symposium, and a wide range of public programming. A graduate seminar in 2012-2013 on “Medieval/Modern: The Middle Ages in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Visual Culture,” led to the production of a website foregrounding student research (http://medievalmodern.wix.com/seminar).

Awards, Honours and Grants

Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Federal Republic of Germany, 2018 (Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research, University of Western Ontario, 2017

Distinguished University Professor, 2017 -

Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 2015 - 

Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Federal Republic of Germany, 2014 (Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Western Ontario, 2013

Graham and Gail Wright Distinguished Scholar Award, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Western Ontario, 2010-2011

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grants, 2009-2013; 1995-1999; and 1991-1994

Visiting Scholar, Harvard University Art Museums, 2007-2008

New Research and Scholarly Initiative Award, Academic Development Fund, University of Western Ontario, 2006

University of Western Ontario-SSHRC International Travel and/or Research Grants, 2005, 1995, 1994, 1988 and 1987 

Research Fellow, Harvard University Art Museums, 2001-2002 

Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Federal Republic of Germany, 1997-1998 (Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Trier)

Short-Term Visiting Fellowship, Princeton University Libraries, 1996

Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities, Harvard University, 1991-1992

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Study Grant for Foreign Academics, 1990 (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich)


Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier (editor).  London, ON: Museum London and The McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario, 2010.

Vastly More Than Brick and Mortar: Reinventing the Fogg Art Museum in the 1920s.  Cambridge, Mass., and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

The Shaping of Art History: Wilhelm Vöge, Adolph Goldschmidt, and the Study of Medieval Art.  Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (co-editor with Virginia Raguin and Peter Draper).  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.

Recent Articles

“New York-Paris-Santiago de Compostela: Arthur Kingsley Porter’s First Trip to Northern Spain (1920),” Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France: Patrimoine, Territoires, Historicité, ed. Quitterie Cazes and Sébastien Rayssac (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Midi, 2020) (in press).

“Arthur Kingsley Porter and the North American Reception of Wilhelm Vöge’s Scholarship,” Kontinente der Kunstgeschichte. Der Kunsthistoriker Wilhelm Vöge, ed. Leonhard Helten, Hans W. Hubert, Olaf Peters, and Guido Siebert, Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte Sachsen-Anhalts, 19 (Halle/Saale: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2019): 106-123.

“Carl Georg Heise and the USA: New Perspectives on the History of Harvard’s Germanic Museum and Lübeck’s Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte,” Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft 45 (2018): 7-60.

“Blazing ‘The Way’: Arthur Kingsley Porter’s First Trip to Northern Spain (1920),” Ad Limina.Revista de investigación del Camino de Santiago y las peregrinaciones 9 (2018): 225-245.

“Medieval Art Through the Camera Lens: The Photography of Arthur Kingsley Porter and Lucy Wallace Porter,” Visual Resources: An International Journal on Images and Their Uses 33, no. 3-4 (2017): 252-294. 

“Adolph Goldschmidt und Arthur Kingsley Porter. Vergleichende Corpuswerkforschung in Deutschland und Amerika vor 1933,” Atlanten des Wissens. Adolph Goldschmidts Corpuswerke 1914 bis heute, ed. Kai Kappel, Claudia Rückert and Stefan Trinks (Berlin and Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2016): 62-83.

“Bernard Berenson and Arthur Kingsley Porter: Pilgrimage Roads to I Tatti,” Bernard Berenson: Formation and Heritage, ed. Joseph Connors and Louis A. Waldman (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; Villa I Tatti Series 31, 2014): 249-268.

“Arthur Kingsley Porter et la genèse de sa vision de Cluny,” Cluny après Cluny. Constructions, reconstructions, et commemorations, 1790-2010, ed. Didier Méhu (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2012): 209-222.

“Naumburg und Cluny—Vergleichende Internationalitätsbegriffe in der europäischen und amerikanischen Kunstwissenschaft um 1920,” Der Naumburger Meister: Bildhauer und Architekt im Europa der Kathedralen, vol. 3, ed. Holger Kunde and Hartmut Krohm (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2012): 24-41.

“Reframing Canada’s ‘Wilderness’ Icons: Medievalism, Tom Thomson, and the Group of Seven,” Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier, ed. Kathryn Brush (London, ON: Museum London and the McIntosh Gallery, 2010), 144-161.

“The Capitals from Moutiers-Saint-Jean (Harvard University Art Museums) and the Carving of Medieval Art Study in America after World War I,” Medieval Art and Architecture after the Middle Ages, ed. Janet T. Marquardt and Alyce A. Jordan (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009): 298-311.

“Screening, Sculpture, and the Structuring of Viewer Response in Thirteenth-Century Mainz,” Reading Gothic Architecture, ed. Matthew M. Reeve (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008): 25-36. 

“Arthur Kingsley Porter and the Transatlantic Shaping of Art History, ca. 1910-1930,”The Shaping of Art History in Finland, ed. Renja Suominen-Kokkonen (Helsinki: Taidehistorian Seura-Föreningen för Konsthistoria-Society of Art History, 2007): 129-142.

“Adolph Goldschmidt in the ‘Wilds’ of 1920s America,” Adolph Goldschmidt (1863-1944). Normal Art History im 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Gunnar Brands and Heinrich Dilly (Weimar: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 2007): 183-207.

“The Unshaken Tree: Walter W. S. Cook on Kunstwissenschaft in 1924,” Seeing and Beyond: A Festschrift on Eighteenth to Twenty-First Century Art in Honor of Kermit S.Champa, ed. Deborah J. Johnson and David Ogawa (Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt and New York: Peter Lang Verlag, 2005): 329-60.

“Arthur Kingsley Porter, le Fogg Art Museum et la sculpture romane espagnole,”Catalogne romane. Sculptures du Val de Boí, exh. cat. (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004): 43-53.  Article simultaneously published in a Catalan translation: “Arthur Kingsley Porter, el Fogg Art Museum i l’escultura romànica espanyola,” Obres mestres del romànic. Escultures de la Vall de Boí (Barcelona: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 2004): 43-53.

Recent Exhibitions Organized

Co-curator (with Joanne Bloom):  Camera Woman along the Medieval Pilgrimage Roads: The Early 20th-Century Photography of Lucy Wallace Porter, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University, August-November 2018: https://library.harvard.edu/events/camera-woman-along-medieval-pilgrimage-roads 

Co-organizer/curator (collaborative exhibition with London and area pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela):  Arts of Pilgrimage: Experiencing the Medieval Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, November 2012 to January 2013. This teaching exhibition explored the experience of modern pilgrims who walk along the medieval pilgrimage roads to Santiago de Compostela in present-day northwestern Spain; a smaller second section was devoted to religious pilgrimage in Canada. 

Chief curator (collaborative research project with M.A. and Ph.D. students):  Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier, Museum London; McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario; Archives and Special Collections, D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, September 2010 to January 2011. This scholarly loan exhibition brought together more than 130 objects, artifacts, and texts from diverse contexts and cultures—British, colonial, First Nations, and medieval—to map the rich and multidimensional impact of medievalism on representations of the North American “frontier” in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (http://mappingmedievalism.ca).

Guest curator:  Vastly More Than Brick and Mortar: Reinventing the Fogg Art Museum in the 1920s, Harvard University Art Museums, 29 May to 26 September 2004. Forty-seven objects were presented in this scholarly loan exhibition, which explored the history of Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum and the formation of art institutions in the United States and Europe during the 1920s and 1930s.

Postdoctoral Supervision

Dr. Adam Stead (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2016), “Piety, Politics, and Pilgrimage: The Choir of Cologne Cathedral, ca. 1248-1350” 

PhD Dissertation Committees

Jeanne-Marie Musto, “Byzantium in Bavaria: Art, Architecture and History between Empiricism and Invention in the Post-Napoleonic Era,” Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College, 2007

Jean Brodahl, “The Melisende Psalter and Ivories (British Museum, Egerton 1139): An Inquiry into the Status and Collecting of Medieval Art in Early Nineteenth-Century France,” Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University, 1999

Mary Morton, "Hippolyte Taine's Lectures at the École des Beaux Arts and Taineism in Late Nineteenth-Century Art Historiography," Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University, 1997

Masters Thesis Supervision

Stephanie Wittich, “Reminiscences: The Medievalisms of Wassily Kandinsky” (chief supervisor)

Claire Feagan, “Surrealist Castle Culture: Gothic Traces in Surrealist Aesthetics” (chief supervisor)

Erin Rothstein, “Pablo Picasso and Primitivism: An Exploration of “Non-Western” and Medieval Influences in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)” (chief supervisor)

Siân Evans, “The Book of Kells’ Ornament and Audience” (chief supervisor)

Adam Stead, “The Visitatio Sepulchri: Acting, Ausstattung and Audience in Medieval Germany” (chief supervisor)

Amanda Morhart, “Giorgio Vasari: Imitation and Invention in Painting and Lives” (co-supervisor with Prof. Madeline Lennon and program examiner)

Jessica Marshall, “Viollet-le-Duc’s Writing and Reconstruction: Gothic and Otherwise” (chief supervisor)

Carrie Vassallo, “The Early Years of Art History in English-Speaking Canada: McMaster, Toronto and Queen’s Universities, ca. 1930-1945" (chief supervisor)

Joanna Schreyer, “The Balance of Wealth: An Economic Interpretation of a Gdansk Triptych” (chief supervisor)

Recent Courses

VAH 9551F/9651F:  Cathedrals, Castles, Cloisters and UNESCO World Heritage: The Fabled Cultural Landscape of the Middle Rhine
VAH 9551B/9651B: Medieval Art in North American Contexts: Collecting, Display, Representation, 1914-2014
VAH 251E/2251E:  Early Medieval Art
VAH 253E/2253E:  Romanesque and Gothic Art
VAH 240E/2240E:  Theories and Practices of Art History and Visual Culture
VAH 451G/4451F:  Arts of Pilgrimage
VAH 551G:  Reading Medieval Art
VAH 551F:  Medieval Sculpture and its Historiography
VAH 551G:  Medieval Art in North American Contexts
VAH 9551G/9651G:  Medieval Art and its Modern Interpreters
VAH 4551F:  Romanesque and Neo-Romanesque: Medieval Visual Culture in Translation
VAH 9551G/9651G:  Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier
VAH 9551F/9651F: Medieval/Modern: The Middle Ages in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Visual Culture