Caroline Bruzelius

Caroline Bruzelius

Anne Murnick Cogan Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art and Art History


  • Ph.D., Yale University 1977

  • M.Phil., Yale University 1975

  • M.A., Yale University 1974

  • B.A., Wellesley College 1971


Caroline Bruzelius is the Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, and the Medieval Academy of America.  Bruzelius received her Ph.D. from Yale University. She was awarded the Duke Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985 and in 2016 was given the Leadership award for the Wired! Lab at Duke. From 1994-1998, she served as the Director of the American Academy in Rome.  In 2013-2014 she was the Richard Krautheimer Visiting Professor at the Hertziana Library/Max Planck Institute in Rome.

Her field of research is Gothic architecture, urbanism and medieval sculpture in France and Italy.  Her books include: Preaching, Building and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City (Yale University Press, 2014); Medieval Naples (with William Tronzo), Italica Press; The Stones of Naples: Church Building in the Angevin Italy, 1266-1343 (Yale University Press, 2004); The Thirteenth Century Church at Saint Denis (Yale University Press, 1985), The Brummer Collection of Medieval Art at Duke University (1991), and The Abbey Church of Longpont and the Architecture of the Cistercians in the Early Thirteenth Century (1977).  She is presently working on a new book, The Cathedral and the City, that will examine the social, political and economic context for cathedral building.  She has also published numerous articles on the architecture of religious women ("Nuns in Space,") and Digital Technologies in Art History.

"My work takes me from the tops of buildings (see photo) to the foundations underneath and to all parts in between.  I am interested in how we can understand the construction process of buildings that were created many centuries ago, and how their design and appearance reflected social, economic, and religious practice.  The rigorous study of structures and walls and the historical documentation in archives are the points of departure for narratives on the shaping of man-made space and its significance." 

"The remarkable capacities of digital modeling and mapping have greatly enriched the ways in which we can engage with the constantly changing and evolving lives of buildings and cities."   At Duke, Bruzelius and a group of colleagues have integrated these new technologies into teaching and research projects that involve students at all levels (from freshmen through Ph.D. candidates) in creating digital models, maps, databases and interactive displays that enhance our understanding of historical monuments and their decoration.  Bruzelius is a co-founder of Wired! (, a group of faculty that integrate digital technologies into teaching and research (3D modeling, mapping, animations, laser scanning, interactive displays). She is also a co-founder (with Donatella Calabi) of Visualizing Venice (, an international collaboration that models growth and change in Venice over time (the partner universities are Venice and Padua).  With a team of research collaborators, she created The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database, a search tool that collects and catalogues historical images (often produced during the Grand Tour) of the medieval monuments of the Kingdom of Sicily (the database will be imminently online).


Medieval Architecture & Sculpture, Gothic Architecture, Historical & Cultural Visualization

My traditional research fields are medieval architecture, urbanism, and sculpture. I have worked on cathedrals in France and elsewhere in Europe. I’ve just published a book on the impact of the mendicant orders on medieval architecture and cities. Two new projects will have to do with the financing of cathedrals and the role of architecture in the longue durée of architecture in the Kingdom of Sicily.

My new area of interest is digital visualization technologies for art and architecture. I am a co-founder of Wired! and Visualizing Venice. I have a 3-year collaborative NEH grant for a database on images of the medieval monuments of South Italy. Above all, we are excited about the potential of these new tools for showing transformation and change in man-made urban space. At Duke we have been pioneers in integrating new digital tools into teaching. This Ted @ Duke talk provides a good summary:


The Alife Arch
The Alife Arch project interrogates the provenance and function of several stone fragments in the Brummer Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The... read more »
Wired! ( is an autochthonous faculty-created group Digital Humanities initiative that... read more »
Visualizing Venice
Visualizing Venice is an international collaboration with the Universities of Padua (Engineering) and IUAV (architectural and urban history) that has several... read more »
The Lives of Things
This is a multi-pronged teaching and research initiative in collaboration with Mark Olso, Mariano Tepper, and Guillelmo Sapiro. We’re interested in using interactive... read more »
Preaching, Building, and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City
Friars transformed the relationship of the church to laymen by taking religion outside to public and domestic spaces. Mendicant commitment to apostolic poverty bound friars... read more »
Medieval Naples: An Architectural & Urban History, 400-1400
Two leading American experts on the subject offer the first comprehensive English-language review of Naples' architecture and urban development from late antiquity to the... read more »

Bruzelius, C. “Review of San-Lorenzo Maggiore in Naples by J Kruger.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 47, no. 3, Sept. 1988, pp. 301–02. Manual, doi:10.2307/990306. Full Text

Bruzelius, C. “Review of Die gotische Architektur in Frankreich 1130-1270 by D Kimpel and R Suckale.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 47, no. 2, June 1988, pp. 190–92. Manual, doi:10.2307/990330. Full Text

Bruzelius, Caroline. “The Construction of Notre-Dame in Paris.” The Art Bulletin, vol. 69, no. 4, Informa UK Limited, Dec. 1987, pp. 540–69. Crossref, doi:10.1080/00043079.1987.10788458. Full Text

Bruzelius, C. A. “The Twelfth-Century Church at Ourscamp.” Speculum, vol. 56, no. 1, Jan. 1981, pp. 28–40. Scopus, doi:10.2307/2847888. Full Text

Bruzelius, Caroline. “THE RENAISSANCE IN A NEAPOLITAN PALACE: THE DISCOVERY OF A PATRON AND A BUILDING by Bianca de Divitiis.” Art History, vol. 32, no. 2, Wiley, pp. 414–16. Crossref, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8365.2009.00677.x. Full Text

Bruzelius, Caroline. “The Fire This Time. April 15, 2019 at Notre-Dame in Paris.” Europe Today, edited by Hélène B. Ducros. Open Access Copy


Fall 2016

Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01)
Perkins 088, MW 11:45 AM-12:35 PM
Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01L)
Perkins 072, F 11:45 AM-12:35 PM

Spring 2016

Advanced Digital Art History (VMS 551SL.01L)
Smith Wrhs A233, M 04:40 PM-05:55 PM
Advanced Digital Art History (ARTHIST 551SL.001)
Smith Wrhs A233, M 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
Advanced Digital Art History (ARTHIST 551SL.01L)
Smith Wrhs A233, M 04:40 PM-05:55 PM
Advanced Digital Art History (VMS 551SL.001)
Smith Wrhs A233, M 03:05 PM-04:20 PM

Fall 2015

Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01)
Smith Wrhs A290, M 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01L)
Smith Wrhs A290, W 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2015

Intro to History of Art (ARTHIST 101D.001)
East Duke 108, TuTh 10:05 AM-10:55 AM
Intro to History of Art (ARTHIST 101D.01D)
Smith Wrhs A233, F 10:05 AM-10:55 AM

Fall 2014

Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01)
Perkins 088, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:15 PM
Gothic Cathedrals (ARTHIST 225.01L)
Perkins 072, F 11:45 AM-12:35 PM