Student Research Projects

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Iconography

Student Samantha Bull
Department Art History
Course ARTH 392


My research starts with a brief overview of historical cases of art in places of worship focusing on the Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Early Protestant Eras to recognize how the iconography of the narratives told by the art of these time periods not only display the connection between that art and the tenets of the church at the time but reflect the central role the church played in the lives of people. Following this, I examined how, in the more modern period, the role of art in the church began to change as the role of the church in society became more marginalized than it had been in the past especially with regards to the iconoclasm of the French Revolution and the separation of church and state in the United States. My research was completed by visiting several local churches or places of worship to personally examine the art, specifically stained glass, in an attempt to isolate the iconographic themes of the glass and their connection to the religious tenets and liturgy of the church.