Elizabeth Bolman

Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts, Professor and Chair of Art History (on sabbatical 2023-24)


Mather House 103

Other Information

Degree: PhD

Education: PhD, Bryn Mawr College, MA, Bryn Mawr College, AB, Smith College

Specialty: Art History

Research: Egyptian Christian monuments (ca. 5thc. - 14th c.), Byzantine depictions of the Galaktotrophousa (nursing Virgin Mary), Reconsideration of generative centers of cultural production in Byzantium

Expertise: Early Byzantine through post Byzantine art and architecture

On sabbatical July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024

Elizabeth S. Bolman engages with the visual culture of the eastern Mediterranean in the late antique and Byzantine periods. She is best known for her work in Egypt, in which she has demonstrated the vitality of Christian Egyptian art and presented new understandings of the nature of artistic production in the early Byzantine and Medieval periods. She edited and was the principal contributor to the award-winning Monastic Visions: Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea (Yale University Press and the American Research Center in Egypt, 2002) and to The Red Monastery Church: Beauty and Asceticism in Upper Egypt (Yale University Press and the American Research Center in Egypt, 2016). This most recent book is the product of a decade-long multidisciplinary project that she founded and directed, which included the cleaning and conservation of spectacular and unparalleled early Byzantine paintings at the Red Monastery church. The conserved church has received a considerable amount of international attention; among other subjects, it includes a monumental secco painting of the Nursing Mother of God. Currently, she is completing a gender studies analysis of depictions of the Byzantine Galaktotrophousa (nursing Virgin Mary), and is preparing the  Rostovtzeff Lectures which she gave at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, for publication. She was appointed Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts and Chair of the Department of Art History, Art and Art Education at Case Western Reserve University in August 2017, charged with building the Keithley Institute for Art History in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art, and leading the Joint Program between CWRU and the Cleveland Museum of Art. At Temple University Bolman received the Lindback Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Great Teacher Award, and the College Art Association has recognized her expertise with its  Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Preservation She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright program, National Endowment for the Humanities, Dumbarton Oaks, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the United States Agency for International Development, among others.


The Red Monastery Church: Beauty and Asceticism in Upper Egypt by Elizabeth S. Bolman

Monastic Visions: Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea by Elizabeth S. Bolman


Faculty Spotlight: “art.lab.cle: Transforming Art History at CWRU”

“Data Science in Art: Discerning the Painter’s Hand”

Lecture: “The Red Monastery Church (Upper Egypt): Its Significance and Conservation”

Lecture: “Conserving Coptic Heritage: An Historic Egyptian-American Partnership”

Cultural Property News Interview

Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews, Review of The Red Monastery Church, by David Brakke

Forbes Magazine Blog about the Red Monastery Project



White Monastery Tomb (360 panoramas of two rooms)

1) first chamber

2) second chamber

Red Monastery Triconch

1) 360 Panorama

2) Red Monastery YouTube Film