Kirsten Lee Bierbaum, Professorship of Early Modern Art History with a focus on Italy

picture of Kirsten Lee Bierbaum

Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies

Contact Kirsten Lee Bierbaum


Research areas:

* Italian art history (16th-17th centuries), especially Roman Renaissance and Baroque
* Liturgy and papal ceremonies in the Lateran from early Christianity to the 17th century
* Images for communities (13th-17th centuries); Significance of buildings and artifacts for the creation and securing of community identity
* Urban piety and identity, town hall buildings and their furnishings, rituals in the urban topography
* Practice theory, ritual research, performativity
* Materiality, monochrome
* Visual rhetoric and affect control, viewer addressing, reception aesthetics

Curriculum Vitae:

1996-2002 studied art history, German philology and theater, film and television studies at the University of Cologne
2000 June -April semester of study with an Erasmus scholarship at the Università degli Studi di Genova
2005 DAAD scholarship for dissertation research in Rome
2007-2009 doctoral scholarship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome
2010 February 4th Completion of the doctoral process at the University of Bonn
In 2011 the dissertation was awarded the Lempertz Prize from the University of Bonn
2011/12 Funding from the 3rd Professor Program at the University of Cologne
2016 Funding for the habilitation project through start-up funding from the University of Cologne
2016/17 Funding through the Cornelia Harte Mentoring PR mentoring program
2011-2021 Research assistant at the Art History Institute, University of Cologne
2021-2023 Administrative professorship for “Medieval Art History” at the Art History Institute of the University of Osnabrück in the summer semester
since April 2023 professorship at the Institute for Art History, University of Vienna


"During the pandemic, it has become very clear what a huge difference it makes whether people meet each other as physical beings or as virtual tiles. I can also respond to the current debate about loneliness in society with results from my research on pre-modern social practices. Because I'm interested in the framing and projections that create spaces and artifacts for the people who are physically co-present in them or with them - all the more so if they are artistically elaborately designed, i.e. a lot of effort has been put into them. What is the purpose of expensive room furnishings? What role do objects, e.g. insignias, collection objects, tableware, etc. play in community identity? To what extent is social interaction influenced by the objects and images involved? My research concerns case studies from the 15th century, a time in which urban communities in particular found innovative artistic solutions for their meeting places. I think that the observation of such pre-modern actor-artifact networks, which are easier to analyze compared to today's much more complex media networks, can give us information about the fundamental conditions of community and why it fails or how it could be influenced positively." (Kirsten Lee Bierbaum)