Conrad Rudolph (born 1951) is an American art historian. He is Distinguished Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of California, Riverside. He is an elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim, J. Paul Getty, Mellon, and Kress foundations, as well as from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the College Art Association. He has served on the board of editors/advisors of or acted as consultant for several academic journals (Art History, caa.reviews, Speculum, Architectural Histories, etc.) and university presses.
Rudolph has interests in such topics as medieval social theories of art, the ideological use of art, monasticism and art, the origin of Gothic art, and art and social change. He has worked on resistance to art in the West, using this to understand the origin of Gothic art at Saint-Denis. He has also worked on depictions of violence and daily life as complex depictions of monastic spiritual life (particularly in the Cîteaux Moralia in Job), medieval theories and images of creation, the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, architectural building miracles as topoi of significant social meaning, the historiography of medieval art, the tour guide in the Middle Ages, and other subjects related to medieval artistic culture.
Some of his major studies include Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia (the most important document we have torprovide an understanding of medieval artistic culture and the twelfth-century controversy over art), Suger of Saint-Denis and the origin of Gothic art (including the invention of the Gothic portal and the exegetical stained-glass window), and Hugh of Saint Victor's Mystic Ark (the most complex individual work of figural art of the Middle Ages—an image of all time, all space, all matter, all human history, and all spiritual striving—a painting that was meant to be the subject of months-long discussions, repeated by others again and again).
He is Project Director for FACES (Faces, Art, and Computerized Evaluation Systems), a pioneering attempt to apply face recognition technology to works of art, specifically portraiture (funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kress Foundation).
He conceived of and was the initial impetus to Courthouse Square in the city of Riverside, California. The original proposal recommended the creation of a new public space incorporating the entire city-block in front of the historic County Courthouse through the gradual demolition of the undistinguished buildings on the block (preserving the few historic ones), while at the same time opening up a view of the essentially hidden but magnificent Courthouse to the heavy public traffic on the main thoroughfare on the far side of the block. Groundbreaking begins 2016, though only incrementally because of property rights issues. Renamed "Courthouse Piazza" by the city.
As part of his interest in medieval culture, he undertook the grueling medieval pilgrimage on foot from Le Puy in south-central France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain—a journey of two and a half months and a thousand miles.
Conrad Rudolph is the son of Richard C. Rudolph, who was a professor of Chinese Literature and Archaeology at UCLA. He is married to Roberta Peterson Rudolph; they have two children, Anna Katharina Rudolph and John Caspar Rudolph.