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Maria Evangelatou studies Byzantine art. Her interests and publications focus on the relationship between word and image in Byzantine manuscript illumination and on the interpretation of Marian iconography in relation to Byzantine literature. She analyzes the visual material through an interdisciplinary approach that makes extensive use of textual sources. She aims to read images as visual texts in which all iconographic and compositional elements are potential bearers of meaning.
As a Radcliffe fellow, Evangelatou will work on a book in which she explores the extensive use of spinning, weaving, and clothing as metaphors of Christ’s incarnation in Byzantine art and literature, focusing on images of the Virgin Mary. Among the issues she will examine are the theological complexity and visual sophistication of Byzantine iconographic symbolism, the survival of ancient symbols in Byzantine culture, the inversion of sexual symbols to indicate Mary’s virginity, and the influence of gender roles and female ideals on Marian iconography.
Evangelatou received an archaeology degree at the University of Ioannina in Greece, and studied museology and art conservation at the Universitá Internazionale dell’Arte in Florence. She received her diploma in art history from the University of East Anglia and her MA and PhD in Byzantine art from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has been awarded postdoctoral fellowships in support of her research on Byzantine manuscript illumination from Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC; the Program in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University; and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto.