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[1] (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.[2]

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.

Select Bibliography

  • The Mystic Ark: Hugh of Saint Victor, Art, and Thought in the Twelfth Century (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2014).
  • "First, I Find the Center Point": Reading the Text of Hugh of Saint Victor's The Mystic Ark (American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 2004).
  • Violence and Daily Life: Reading, Art, and Polemics in the Cîteaux Moralia in Job (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1997).
  • Artistic Change at St-Denis: Abbot Suger's Program and the Early Twelfth-Century Controversy over Art (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1990).
  • The "Things of Greater Importance": Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia and the Medieval Attitude Toward Art (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1990).
  • (ed.) A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, Blackwell Companions in Art History, 2nd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 2016).
  • "FACES: Faces, Art, and Computerized Evaluation Systems--A Feasibility Study of the Application of Face Recognition Technology to Works of Portrait Art," with, Amit Roy-Chowdhury, Ramya Srinivasan, and Jeanette Kohl, Artibus et Historiae (2016).
  • "The Parabolic Discourse Window and the Canterbury Roll: Social Change and the Assertion of Elite Status at Canterbury Cathedral," Oxford Art Journal 38 (2015) 1-19.
  • "Inventing the Exegetical Stained-Glass Window: Suger, Hugh, and a New Elite Art," Art Bulletin 93 (2011) 399-422.
  • "Inventing the Gothic Portal: Suger, Hugh of Saint Victor, and the Construction of a New Public Art at Saint-Denis," Art History 33 (2010) 568-595.
  • "A Sense of Loss: An Overview of the Historiography of Romanesque and Gothic Art," A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2006) 1-43.
  • "In the Beginning: Theories and Images of Creation in Northern Europe in the Twelfth Century," Art History 22 (1999) 3-55.
  • "Building-Miracles as Artistic Justification in the Early and Mid-Twelfth Century," Radical Art History: Internationale Anthologie, ed. Wolfgang Kersten (Zip Verlag, Zurich, 1997) 398-410.


  1. ^ "The Mystic Ark". Wikipedia. 2017-07-28. 
  2. ^ Rudolph, Conrad (2004-05-19). Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela (1 ed.). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226731278. 

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