Warren Woodfin

Bust-length Photograph of Warren Woodfin

Research Interests

  • Byzantium and Medieval Europe; art and ritual; cross-cultural interaction; historical memory; artistic practices


  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002


Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Queens College

Warren T. Woodfin is a specialist in the arts of Byzantium and its neighbors in the medieval world. His specific areas of interest include the ritual and ideological uses of objects and images; textiles and clothing; artistic agency; hierarchies of media; cross-cultural reception and appropriation of artistic motifs; and historical memory, amnesia, and reinvention in the Middle Ages.

He is author of The Embodied Icon: Liturgical Vestments and Sacramental Power in Byzantium (Oxford, 2012) and co-editor of Clothing the Sacred: Medieval Textiles as Fabric, Form, and Metaphor (Edition Imorde, 2015) with Mateusz Kapustka. He curated the exhibition From the Desert to the City: The Journey of Late Ancient Textiles at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College as well as the 2015 Met Museum installation Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World. His articles have appeared in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Gesta, Ars Orientalis, The Art Bulletin, and Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, among other journals. He is currently working on a monograph exploring the ways in which actual liturgy enacted by the Orthodox clergy interacted with artistic representations of the “heavenly” liturgy in the 11th to 15th centuries.

He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002, and his research has been supported by fellowships at the Met Museum, the University of Zürich, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. He has also been the recipient of a Collaborative Research Grant from the Getty Foundation to publish the finds from a 13th century nomadic burial in southern Ukraine with Renata Holod (University of Pennsylvania), Yuriy Rassamakin (Institute of Archaeology, Kyiv), and Oleksandr Halenko (Institute of History, Kyiv).



From the Desert to the City: The Journey of Late Ancient Textiles, edited (Flushing, New York: Godwin-Ternbach Museum, 2018).

Clothing the Sacred: Medieval Textiles as Fabric, Form, and Metaphor, edited with Mateusz Kapustka, Textile Studies 8 (Berlin: Editions Imorde, 2015).

The Embodied Icon: Liturgical Vestments and Sacramental Power in Byzantium, Oxford Studies in Byzantium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, January 2012).

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Underside Couching in the Byzantine World,” Cahiers balkaniques 48 (2021): 47-64.

“The Mock Turtle’s Tears: Ersatz Enamel and the Hierarchy of Media in Pseudo-Kodinos.” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 41 (2017): 55-80.

“Within a Budding Grove: Dancers, Gardens, and the Enamel Cup from the Chungul Kurgan,” The Art Bulletin 98 (2016): 151-180.

“Foreign Vesture and Nomadic Identity on the Black Sea Littoral in the Early Thirteenth Century: Costume from the Chungul Kurgan,” with Yuriy Rassamakin and Renata Holod, Ars Orientalis 38 (2010): 153-184.

“Presents Given and Presence Subverted: The Cunegunda Chormantel in Bamberg and the Ideology of Byzantine Textiles,” Gesta 47 (2008): 33-50.

“An Officer and a Gentleman: Transformations in the Iconography of a Warrior Saint,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 60 (2006): 111-143.

Selected Book Chapters and Essays

“Luxury in Liturgical Vestments.” Chapter in the online volume Autour des métiers de luxe à Byzance. Actes du colloque international organisé dans le cadre de l’exposition “Byzance en Suisse”, 26-27 février 2016, edited by Marielle Martiniani-Reber, André-Louis Rey and Gabriella Lini, with the collaboration of Nicole Liaudet. Geneva, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, published January 2022. https://collections.geneve.ch/mah/publication/luxury-liturgical-vestments

“Textile Media in Byzantium,” in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Art and Architecture, edited by Ellen C. Schwartz (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 593-606.

“Furnishing the Celestial Sanctuary: Painted Architectural Settings for the Communion of the Apostles,” in Architecture and Visual Culture in the Late Antique and Medieval Mediterranean: Studies in Honor of Robert G. Ousterhout, edited by Vasileios Marinis, Amy Papalexandrou, and Jordan Pickett, Architectura Medii Aevi 14 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), 77–88.

“The Mother of God in the Earthly Paradise,” in The Eloquence of Art: Essays in Honour of Henry Maguire, edited by Rossiza Schroeder and Andrea Olsen Lam (London: Routledge, 2020), 407–424.

“Sacredness,” in Textile Terms: A Glossary, edited by Mateusz Kapustka, Anika Reineke, Anne Röhl und Tristan Weddigen (Berlin: Editions Imorde, 2017), 205-209.

“Orthodox Liturgical Textiles and Clerical Self-Referentiality,” in Dressing the Part: Textiles as Propaganda in the Middle Ages, ed. Kate Dimitrova and Margaret Goehring (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014 [2015]), 31-51.

“Repetition and Replication: Sacred and Secular Patterned Silks in Byzantium,” in Experiencing Byzantium: Papers from the 44th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, ed. Claire Nesbitt and Mark Jackson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 35-55.

“Wall, Veil, and Body: Textiles and Architecture in the Late Byzantine Church,” in Kariye Camii, Yeniden / The Kariye Camii Reconsidered, ed. H. Klein, R. Ousterhout, and B. Pitarakis (Istanbul: Istanbul Research Institute, 2011), 369-383.

“Celestial Hierarchies and Earthly Hierarchies in the Art of the Byzantine Church,” in The Byzantine World, ed. Paul Stephenson (London & New York: Routledge, 2010), 303-319.

Bust-length Photograph of Warren Woodfin


Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Queens College