University of Richmond Art History Professor Receives $70K in Support for New Book on 5th-Century Monument in Egypt

April 6, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Agnieszka Szymanska, assistant professor of art history at the University of Richmond, has been awarded funding for her new book project by both the American Council for Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society.

Her project, Sacred Spectating: Monastic Architecture and Spirituality in Late Antique Egypt, will analyze a decade of research, where Szymanska has lived at the Red Monastery in Egypt and studied the painted interior of its 5th-century church.

“The painted interior of the Red Monastery is unparalleled for the Mediterranean region,” said Szymanska. “I have had the privilege to live at the Red Monastery and study this historical church firsthand and I’ve found that the different sightlines, which are revealed as the viewer moves in the space, form an intricate web of narratives.”

The American Council for Learned Societies awarded Szymanska with the Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art for the 2020-21 academic year. Szymanska will receive a $60,000 stipend as well as $5,000 travel and research allowance. She also plans to complete a one-week residency at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. 

Additionally, the American Philosophical Society awarded Szymanska with its Franklin Research Grant, which will cover her travel expenses to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a Harvard University research institute in Washington, D.C.

“This funding will allow me to contribute to ongoing debates about the Global Middle Ages and help diversify a traditionally Eurocentric and compartmentalized view of premodern art history,” explained Szymanska.