Paroma Chatterjee

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Living icons: saints and representation in Byzantium and Italy in the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries


Paroma Chatterjee earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (Dec. 2007). Her areas of research cover the visual arts of the medieval Mediterranean, particularly Byzantium and its connections with the Italian peninsula. The primary archive for her research is the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai desert, Egypt, which holds one of the most magnificent collections of Byzantine icons in the world. Paroma has published articles on subjects such as Byzantine image theory, St. Francis' stigmata, ekphrasis, and the Monastery of St. Catherine, among others. Her book project investigates the emergence of a novel iconic format -- the so-called "vita" icon, displaying the portrait of a saint flanked by scenes from his/her life -- in the eastern and the western Mediterranean in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Paroma's work has been supported by a Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellowship, a Kress Travel Fellowship, and Mellon pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. After her year at the Italian Academy, she will take up a position at the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.