Sarah Thompson Headshot

Sarah Thompson

Associate Professor

School of Art
College of Art and Design

585-475-4459
Office Hours
Tuesdays 11-1
Office Location

Sarah Thompson

Associate Professor

School of Art
College of Art and Design

Education

BA, University of California at San Diego; MA, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara

Bio

Dr. Thompson's research addresses concepts of Gothic, and she has published on the historiography of Gothic, medieval architectural design process, the role of Saint-Denis as a French national monument, and the functions of Gothic ruins. With Jennifer Feltman (University of Alabama), she is the coeditor of The Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture (Routledge, 2019). Her current book project analyzes the postmedieval visual representation of Gothic architecture.

585-475-4459

Personal Links
Areas of Expertise

Select Scholarship

Edited Book

Sarah Thompson and Jennifer Feltman, eds., The Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture (Routledge, 2019)

Articles and Book Chapters 

 “Adaptation and Audience: Remodeling Notre-Dame d’Étampes in the Thirteenth Century,” The Worlds of Villard de Honnecourt: The Portfolio, Medieval Technology, and Gothic Monuments. George Brooks and Maile S. Hutterer, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 2022), 431-459.

The Power of Absence: The Missing North Tower of Saint-Denis,” The Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture, Sarah Thompson and Jennifer Feltman, eds. (New York: Routledge, 2019), 297-316.

“Building Brick City: The Design of RIT’s Henrietta Campus,” Transforming the Landscape: 50 years on the New RIT Campus, Becky Simmons, ed. (RIT Press: 2018), 1-13.

“Adaptation and Audience: Remodeling Notre-Dame d’Étampes in the Thirteenth Century,” AVISTA Forum Journal 22, 57-70.

“Recycling Ruins: The Critical Reception of John Aislabie’s Work at Fountains Abbey and the Changing Function of Gothic,” Third Text 25:6, 675-686. 

Conference Sessions

Restoring Medieval Art and Architecture I, II, III: Technology in Documentation and Research; Technology and Concepts of Authenticity; Technology and Access, 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University (virtual), May 2022. 

Decoding Destruction and Decay, College Art Association Annual Meeting, New York, February 2017. 

Trends and Taste in Medieval Art, 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 2012.

Revisiting La Transition: Twelfth Century Architectural Change, Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, New Orleans, April 2011.

Conference Papers 

“Interrogating Style in Porter’s Paradigm,” Session: Arthur Kingsley Porter 100 Years Later II, 58th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 2023

Gothic Images, Images of Gothic: The Promotion of Gothic in 19th-Century Photography,” Session: Drawing (New) Stories, 111th College Art Association Annual Meeting, New York, February 2023. 

“Rebuilding a Medieval Tower at Saint-Denis,” Session: Restoring Medieval Art and Architecture III: Technology and Access, 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University (virtual), May 2022.

“Encountering Gothic in Early Modern Travel Literature,” Session: Buildings on the Move: Architecture and Travel Across the Pre-Modern World, College Art Association Annual Meeting (virtual), February 2022. 

 “Rewriting History on the Façade of Saint Denis,” Session: Arte in facciata, CIRICE 2020 IX Convegno internazionale: La città palinsesto, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, June 2021.

Reconstruction à l'identique: Restoration, Authenticity, and Digital Models in French Gothic Patrimony,” Digital Spaces, Physical Places, Mellon Digital Humanities Symposium, University of Rochester, May 2020.

“Between Materiality and Ephemerality: Popular Representations of Gothic Architecture in the Late 18th Century,” Session: Artistic and Musical Responses to Medieval Remnants, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2019.

“Parish Rivalry in Medieval Étampes.” Session: New Research on Parish Churches. 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 2019. 

“Expanding the Temporal Frame at Notre-Dame d’Étampes,” Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, University of the South, Sewanee, TN, April 2019. 

Currently Teaching

ARTH-124
3 Credits
This course introduces students to central issues in the history of art through the focused investigation of a specific theme. Themes will be global in scope, and potential examples include monuments and preservation; the concept of modernity in the visual arts; art and identity; diachronic studies of select works of art; or histories of a particular medium, subject, or form of patronage. Students will apply foundational methods of art history, including basic research tools, formal analysis, and contextual analysis; will engage in careful, conscious looking; will learn to describe and analyze what they see; and will articulate how works of art can express meaning. This course may be repeated with different topics. Topic is determined by the instructor.
ARTH-135
3 Credits
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
ARTH-139
3 Credits
Students will be introduced to the methods, vocabulary, and practices of art history through the study of specific artistic materials, including stone, wood, bronze, ceramics, glass, textiles, and pigments, considering how these materials are used to create expressive works of art. Students will expand their skills in the visual and cultural analysis of works of art while examining the techniques used to work with various artistic materials; the manipulation of material properties to create meaningful artistic effects; the symbolism and significance of particular materials within their cultural contexts; and the circulation of such materials through exchange, colonization, and conquest. Examples for analysis will be chosen from a broad chronological and geographical span.
ARTH-364
3 Credits
Students will study the history of artistic production and display in Paris, a city long regarded as a capital of the art world. The class will explore issues related to artistic production and display in the city from the time of its foundation to the present, including Paris as a center for Gothic production, art and the royal court, the intersection of classicism and French art, art and revolution, art and public space, Paris as a center of modernity, the role of historic conservation, and the role of museums.
ARTH-551
3 Credits
A focused, critical examination and analysis of a selected topic within art history, varying according to faculty teaching the course. Students will practice writing skills within the discipline of art history. A subtopic description will be published each term the course is offered. Students may take the course multiple times with different topics. Topics will be determined by the instructor.
ARTH-555
3 Credits
A critical examination of a select theme within the field of medieval art and architecture. A subtopic description will be posted each term the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, but students may not repeat a topic.
ARTH-558
3 Credits
This class covers the Gothic Revival of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Issues to be examined include the question of stylistic revival vs. stylistic survival; the origin and meanings of Gothic as a stylistic category; the impact of antiquarianism on the Gothic Revival in the 18th century; Gothic and 18th century modes of vision; Gothic in the private and public spheres; Gothic's associations with science, gender, nationalism, and morality; the Gothic Revival and the Pre Raphaelites, and major figures within the movement such as A.W.N. Pugin and John Ruskin.
ARTH-688
3 Credits
This class covers the Gothic Revival of the 18th, 19th, 20th, and centuries. Issues to be examined include the question of stylistic revival vs. stylistic survival; the origin and meanings of Gothic as a stylistic category; the impact of antiquarianism on the Gothic Revival in the eighteenth century; Gothic and 18th-century modes of vision; Gothic in the private and public spheres; Gothic 's associations with science, gender, nationalism, and morality; the Gothic Revival and the Pre-Raphaelites, and major figures within the movement such as A.W.N. Pugin and John Ruskin.

In the News