Gregory Bryda

Prof. Dr. Gregory Bryda

Foto: privat

Foto: privat

Gregory Bryda is Fulbright Guest Professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, on leave from Barnard College, Columbia University where he is Assistant Professor of Art History. He specializes in the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

His forthcoming book The Trees of the Cross explores the ritual blessings of greenery at the altar and outdoors in late medieval Germany, and the liturgical artworks that staged and mediated them. It shows how in late medieval Germany, the church deployed the wood of the cross as medium in numerous cultural techniques—in laying the cross over trees, maypoles, herbal medicines, and agricultural technologies—to attempt to put nature in its place, to recode or invert its positive and potent qualities, and, finally, to displace them onto Christian agencies. While in Berlin he is researching a corpus of Christian artworks and spaces that twelfth-century missionaries, as part of their expansionist strategy to convert ever wider swaths of Slavic lands, reconfigured from heathen nature cult sites like sacred groves, wells, and mountain tops to conform with church orthodoxy.

With Katherine Boivin, he co-edited Riemenschneider In Situ (Brepols, 2021), a volume of papers from the 2017 conference that assembled experts in southern Germany to analyze the sculptor’s monumental artworks that are too large and fragile to travel for exhibition. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2016, and his research has been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Bode Museum), Getty Research Institute, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and Samuel H. Kress Foundation.


Selected Publications

The Trees of the Cross: Wood as Subject and Medium in the Art of Grünewald, Riemenschneider, and Late Medieval Germany (forthcoming, Yale University Press)

Riemenschneider In Situ, ed. with Katherine Boivin. Turnhout: Brepols, 2021.

The Exuding Wood of the Cross at Isenheim.” The Art Bulletin 100 (2018): 6–36.

“Der Mittelfränkische Heilig-Blut-Altar als Mittelrheinische Goldschmiedekunst.” In Frankfurt als Zentrum unter Zentren?: Kunsttransfer und Kunstgenese am Mittelrhein 1400-1500, Neue Frankfurter Forschungen zur Kunst, ed. Martin Büchsel und Berit Wagner, 173–188. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2018.

“Nada Dada: An Encounter between the Pseudo-Dionysius and Hugo Ball.” In Imagined Encounters: Historiographies for a New World, special issue of Postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies Vol. 7:1, ed. Roland Betancourt, 66–80. London: Palgrave, 2016.

Upcoming and Recent Presentations

09/2022 “Die Frauendreißiger und Grünewalds Brunaille in Frankfurts Dominikanerkirche” – 6th Meeting of the Forum Kunst des Mittelalters, Frankfurt (Sep, 2022)

05/2021 “The Trees of the Cross” – Invited Lecture at the Index of Medieval Art, Princeton University

05/2021 “The Roots of Conversion” – 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI

04/2021 “Conflict and Continuity in the Historical Reception of German Tree Cults” – Art and Environment in the Third Reich, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University

04/2021 “Mary as Rod and River” – Invited Talk for Alumni Research Forum, Yale University, Department of Art History

03/2021 “Passion and Plague,” – Invited Co-Lecture with Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Westminster Abbey, London, UK

11/2019 “Herbal Essences in Matthias Grünewald’s Grisaille Paintings for Jakob Heller” – Invited Talk for The Philosophical Image Conference, The Johns Hopkins University