Brad Hostetler specializes in the art and material culture of Late Antiquity and Byzantium, with a particular emphasis on portable luxury objects from the ninth through the twelfth centuries. He teaches courses on the art and architecture of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean, including ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium and the Islamicate world.

Hostetler’s research focuses on the relationships between texts and images, including ekphraseis about, and words inscribed on, works of art. He is currently writing a book that examines the nature and meaning of relics and reliquaries in Byzantium through the lens of inscriptions, including the ways in which inscribed texts mediate and guide the faithful’s engagement with, and understanding of, sacred relics. He is also co-editor on two other projects in progress. The first is a catalogue of Ethiopian objects donated to Kenyon in 2019, and the second is "The Routledge Handbook of Byzantine Material Culture."

Hostetler’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Areas of Expertise

Byzantine art, Greek epigraphy, epigrams, and ekphrasis


2016 — Doctor of Philosophy from Florida State University

2009 — Master of Arts from Florida State University

2002 — Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College Il

Courses Recently Taught

This course surveys Western art and architecture from the Paleolithic era to the end of the Middle Ages. Training in visual analysis is emphasized, as are the historical context, religious beliefs and social conditions in which the artwork was produced. This is primarily a lecture class, though discussion is encouraged. Requirements include examinations and short papers. This counts toward the introductory course requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every semester.

This introductory course surveys the history of Islamic art and architecture between the 7th and 16th centuries. Students explore the rich visual and artistic traditions that developed and thrived under the caliphates and dynasties that ruled medieval Spain, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. They will investigate thematic issues central to the discipline of Islamic art history, including the function of ornament, the development of calligraphy in visual culture, the adoption and abstention of figural representation, and the impact of Orientalism. A diverse array of artistic media and techniques is examined, including painting, sculpture, textiles, manuscripts and architecture. Students also are introduced to art-historical research strategies, and methods for writing about art. This counts toward the introductory course, Africa and Middle East place and 600-1800 time requirements for the major. No prerequisite.

This course examines the art and architecture of Greece from Bronze Age Crete and Mycenaean palaces of the mainland to the historical age of Greece and the extended Greek cultures of southern Italy and the Hellenistic world. Special attention will be given to the development of Greek standards of beauty and the role of beauty in Greek culture. The format is lecture and discussion. This counts toward the Europe and Americas place and the before 600 CE time requirements for the major. Offered every other year. Any art history or classics course is recommended.

This course explores the art and architecture of the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, from the founding of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 to the fall of the city in 1453. Following a chronological approach, the course introduces students to the continuation and adaptation of long-established Roman ceremonial, iconographic and architectural forms to serve a new, specifically Christian empire. Students trace the transmission of artistic ideas, forms and objects across cultural, geographic and religious borders, and examine the ways in which trade, war and diplomacy impacted Byzantine art. This counts toward the Europe and Americas place and the 600-1800 time requirements for the major. Prerequisite: Any ARHS course.

This seminar explores topics and issues relating to the history of ancient art and architecture. Assignments include seminar reports, class discussion and a research paper. This course can be repeated up to two times for credit, so long as each covers different topics. This counts toward the advanced course, Europe and the Americas place and the before 600 C.E. time requirements for the major. Any course in art history or classics is recommended. Prerequisite: any course in art history or classics and sophomore standing.

Required of all senior majors and recommended for senior minors, this course serves as a capstone to the study of art history. Students study the foundations of the discipline, explore the variety of methodological approaches employed by art historians, and assess current theoretical issues in the field. Prerequisite: senior standing. Offered every fall semester.

Normally, students may enroll in an individual study only if they have taken all the courses offered by the department in that particular area of the curriculum. Exceptions to this rule are at the discretion of the instructor with the support of the department. Individual study is considered an advanced course and, as such, the work produced should be the equivalent of a seminar or high-level intermediate class. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in art history courses is required. Exceptions to this rule are at the discretion of the instructor with the consent of the department. The professor and the student should establish and agree on the extent and nature of the work required for the individual study. This may take several forms: several short papers, one long paper, one in-depth project (small exhibition or assisting in doing research for an exhibition), a large (and lengthy) generalized outline and annotated bibliography, public presentations and so on. The student and the professor should meet on a regular basis. The frequency is to be determined by the professor in consultation with the student. Students must seek the permission of the instructor before enrolling. Individual study is undertaken at the discretion of the instructor and must be approved by the department. Individual study can be used toward credit for the major and the minor in art history. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study by the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar’s deadline.