Florida State University
Research Topic: The Cult of Constantine I in Middle Byzantine Art
Dr. Jones is Associate Professor of Art History at Florida Statue University, and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1995. As an ANAMED fellow she is conducting research for, and writing a key chapter of her book in progress, “The Cult of the Emperor in Middle Byzantine Art” (contracted with Routledge). Her particular focus will be the documentation and analysis of the visual expression of a cult dedicated to Constantine the Great in the middle Byzantine period (843–1204). She places this devotional practice, and the development of specific iconography associated with it, in the context of the rise of ‘new saints’ venerated in popular, often short-lived, and often non-Constantinopolitan, cults. Key to her argument is the vestibule mosaic in Hagia Sophia, for which she present a new analysis.
Gilbert Dagron’s seminal work clearly lays out the idealized ‘priest and emperor’ model of Byzantine rulership, and demonstrates the degrees to which it was achieved, maintained, altered, and made manifest in ceremonial and law. Dr. Jones’ work seeks to further this discussion, looking to the visual expression of imperial cults in middle Byzantine art. She suggests, in the vestibule mosaic, we see a reaction to the rise of a popular cult of Constantine, one that promotes Constantine’s role as historical empire-builder and visually suppresses his saintliness.