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Warren Woodfin

“Between Image and Sacrament: The Problem of Liturgical ‘Realism’ in Byzantine Art”

Warren Woodfin

Queens College, City University of New York, Byzantine Studies Fellow

Woodfin’s project investigates the relationship between the actual Byzantine liturgy of the Eucharist and its representations in visual form. Whereas the iconoclastic Council of Hieria in 754 endorsed the view that the bread and wine of the Eucharist were among the handful of licit “images” of Christ, much later, in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries, Byzantine art gave prominence to several iconographies depicting the eucharistic liturgy. His study will explore the tension between artistic representation, including the Byzantine theory of icons, and the nature of the Eucharist itself as a form of “representation” through reenactment.

Warren Woodfin, who received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, holds a joint appointment as associate professor in the Art and History Departments at Queens College, CUNY. He has a particular research interest in Byzantine textiles, and is the author of The Embodied Icon: Liturgical Vestments and Sacramental Power in Byzantium (Oxford University Press, 2012). He was curator of the 2018 exhibition From the Desert to the City: The Journey of Late Ancient Textiles at Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum. He also serves as treasurer of the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA).