Caroline Bruzelius

Caroline Bruzelius

Anne Murnick Cogan 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 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 »

Huffman, Kristin L., et al. Visualizing Venice: Mapping and Modeling Time and Change in a City. Routledge, 2017.

Bruzelius, Caroline. Preaching, Building, and Burying. 2014.

Bruzelius, Caroline Astrid, and William Tronzo. Medieval Naples. 2011.

Bruzelius, C. The Stones of Naples: Church Building in the Angevin Kingdom, 1266-1343. Yale University Press, London, 2004.

Bruzelius, C. A. Paesaggi Perduti: Granet a Roma, 1802-1824. Electa, 1997.

Bruzelius, C., and J. Meredith. The Brummer Collection of Medieval Art. Duke University Press, 1991.

Bruzelius, C. The Thirteenth Century Church at St-Denis. Yale, 1985.

Olson, Mark, and Andrea Giordano. “Visualizing Venice: Developing a methodology for historical visualization.” Visualizing Venice: Mapping and Modeling Time and Change in a City, edited by Kristin Huffman et al., Routledge, 2017, pp. 20–25. Manual, doi:10.4324/9781315100685. Full Text

Bruzelius, C. A. “Italian Architecture in the High Middle Ages.” ,Cambridge World History of Religious Architecture, 2012.

Bruzelius, C. A. “Project and Process in Medieval Architecture.” Mélanges d’Eliane Vergnolle, edited by Y. Gallet, 2011.

Bruzelius, C. A. “Brevi appunti sull’architettura degli ordini mendicanti nel contest sociale ed economica del Regno di Napoli.” Il Francescanesimo in Calabria, 2011, pp. 170–86.

Bruzelius, C. A. “From Empire to Commune to Kingdom: Notes on the Revival of Mnumental Sculpture in Italy.” Gothic Art and Architecture, Ed. C. Hourihane, 2011, pp. 134–55.

Bruzelius, C. A. “Workers and Builders in the Angevin Kingdom.” Arnolfo’s Moment: I Tatti Sudies, 2008.

Bruzelius, C. A. “A Rose by any Other Name: the 'Not Gothic Enough' Architecture of Italy.” Reading Gothic Architecture, (Studies in Medieval Visual Culture, I), edited by Matthew Reeve, Brepols, 2008, pp. 93–109.

Bruzelius, Caroline. “The Dead come to Town: Preaching, Burying and Building in the Mendicant Orders.” The Year 1300, edited by A. Gajewski and Z. Opacic, 2008, pp. 203–334.

Bruzelius, C. A. “Naples as anti-Avignon? Robert the Wise, Sancia of Mallorca, and the Convent of Sta. Chiara (Corpus Domini) in Naples.” The Cultures of Papal Avignon, University of Minnesota Press, 2007.


Bruzelius, C., and P. Vitolo. “The medieval kingdom of sicily image database.” Visual Resources, vol. 35, no. 1–2, Apr. 2019, pp. 74–87. Scopus, doi:10.1080/01973762.2019.1558994. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, C. “Digital technologies and new evidence in architectural history.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 76, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 436–39. Scopus, doi:10.1525/jsah.2017.76.4.436. Full Text

Bruzelius, C., and P. Vitolo. “The Kingdom of Sicily image database.” Archeologia E Calcolatori, no. 27, Jan. 2016, pp. 107–30. Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, C. “Friars in the Medieval City : Preaching Building and Burying.” Debates, vol. 6, June 2014, pp. 11–22. Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, Caroline. “Building-in-Time: From Giotto to Alberti and Modern Oblivion. By Marvin Trachtenberg. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010. xxvi + 490 pp. $65.00 cloth..” Church History, vol. 82, no. 2, Cambridge University Press (CUP), June 2013, pp. 431–36. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0009640713000231. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, C. “Teaching with Visualization Technologies: How Does Information Become Knowledge?.” Material Religion, vol. 9, no. 2, 2013, pp. 246–53. Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, C. “The architecture of the mendicant orders in the middle ages: An overview of recent literature.” Perspective (France), no. 2, Dec. 2012, pp. 365–86. Open Access Copy

Bruzelius, Caroline. “Brendan Cassidy, Medieval Sculpture.” Art Bulletin, E Reviews, 2009.


Bruzelius, C. “Trying to forget: The lost Angevin past of Italy.” Memory and Oblivion, 2000, pp. 735–43.

Selected Grants

The Kingdom of Sicily 1130-1442 awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2015

Wired awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

2015 Visualizing Venice Workshop awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2015

Visualizing Venice Training Workshop awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

800 Years in 8 Minutes: Time and Change at San Maggiore in Naples awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012

New Technologies for Old Buildings: The Franciscan Churches of Medievel Campania awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010

Becoming a Capital in Medieval South Italy: Naples awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (Principal Investigator). 2008

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