Sarah Mathiesen, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Art History in the College of Fine Arts working with Lynn Jones, studies the art of Byzantium with a research emphasis on questions of identity and exchange. Her dissertation project will examine a rock-cut church located in the Ihlara Valley of Cappadocia known as Yılanlı Kilise, or the “Church of the Snakes.”
Sarah graduated with her BA from Tulane University in 2014, earning cum laude in Art History, with a double minor in Classics and History. She completed her MA at Tulane in 2015 with a thesis examining a 14th century illustrated Byzantine manuscript of the Alexander Romance. The following year she presented her research on the women of the Alexander Romance at the annual Byzantine Studies Conference. She interned at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts during the fall and spring of 2015-16. Sarah was also a member of the archaeological teams at the Roman fort of Halmyris in Romania and at Voula in Athens, Greece from 2016-2017.
Sarah is a Legacy Fellow in Art History and a member of Florida State University’s Graduate Fellows Society. In early summer 2018, she conducted fieldwork in Cappadocia, Turkey, as an assistant to Dr. Jones. Sarah also received the Gerson Medieval Art History Doctoral Student Research Grant which enabled her study of Byzantine Greek at Trinity College in Dublin during the summers of 2018 and 2019, as well as funds from a CARA Summer Scholarship from the Medieval Academy of America. She has also received the Helen J. Beard Conference Travel grant and funding from the Congress of Graduate Students and the College of Fine Arts at FSU to fund the presentation of a paper based on her dissertation research at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic this past spring. The proceedings from the conference will be released in a forthcoming volume. She also presented a paper, “Presence and Absence: The Liturgical Activation and Function of Sacred Space in Yılanlı Kilise,” at the International Congress of Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan this May.
Sarah will serve the Art History department as a PIE Teaching Associate for the 2019-2020 school year.