Alice Isabella Sullivan
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This book is the result of over a decade of study, research, and writing. My interest in the visual culture of medieval Moldavia, and of Eastern Europe more broadly, began in a graduate seminar in fall 2011. While in the doctoral program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, I have valued my interactions with my mentors: Achim Timmermann, Elizabeth Sears, Paroma Chatterjee, and John V. A. Fine. Their support, openness, and encouragement, as well as their thoughtful questions and research methods, have shaped my investigation. We learned together for seven memorable years of my early career as an art historian training in a specialty that has much to contribute to the conversations but lacks firm footing in the discipline of art history.

My art-historical training in the Western medieval and Byzantine traditions prompted me to question early on what the artistic production of Eastern Europe might contribute to Anglo-American scholarship. My interests were also rooted in my heritage. In 1998, after winning the Green Card lottery, my parents left behind their medical careers in Romania and moved the family to Boston. I found myself in a foreign land, learning to speak an unknown language. A lot has changed since then as my academic and personal backgrounds have converged in my research in a way that, I believe, allows me to gain particular insights from the works I study. I am grateful today that my parents took that leap of faith in hopes for a better future. My heartfelt thanks goes to them for their unconditional love and ongoing guidance.

In the early stages, this research project received support from the following institutions and organizations: University of Michigan; Renaissance Society of America; Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (casva)—National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Medieval Academy of America, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture; Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Foundation; and Hilandar Research Library at Ohio State University. Additional research, writing, and revision phases of this project were supported by an icma-Kress Research and Publication Grant through the International Center of Medieval Art; a Getty/acls Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art, sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Getty Foundation; a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at the Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin, sponsored by the Volkswagen Stiftung and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as research and publication support from Tufts University, including a Faculty Research Award, and a 2023 RSA-Samuel H. Kress Publication Subvention for Art Historians. I am indebted to these institutions and organizations for support of my work toward the completion of this book.

Several colleagues have read substantial portions of the manuscript during the revision stages in recent years. Their invaluable feedback has helped me refine the arguments and my examination of the sources. I thank Maria Alessia Rossi, Vladimir Ivanovici, Helen Evans, Robert Bork, Florin Curta, Predrag Matejić, and Mary Allen “Pasha” Johnson. Moreover, I have found a collegial community among Romanian scholars whose research has been essential to my work. We share a dedication to the study of the Middle Ages in the Romanian cultural context, and I look forward to future collaborations.

I am also grateful to the editors and the editorial board of the series Visualising the Middle Ages for supporting this book through its various evaluation stages, as well as to the anonymous reviewers who have carefully read and commented on earlier versions of the text. Their suggestions and criticisms have helped me better explain and organize the material and issues I consider. For the final stages of revisions and production, I extend my sincere thanks to the staff at Brill, especially Marcella Mulder, Peter Buschman, and Kate Hammond, and to my research assistants Rileigh K. Clarke and Jillian Lepek. Finally, I am indebted to Annika Fisher for carefully copy editing the manuscript and offering additional excellent suggestions for improvements and clarifications, to Sever J. Voicu for creating the detailed indices, and to Richard Thomson ( for attentively designing many of the maps and church plans published in this book.

The majority of the images that appear in this publication are photographs from my personal collection, which I gathered with my husband, Christian, and my brother, Adrian, during our summer travels between 2012 and 2019. Their enthusiasm for my work and careful eye for details have yielded a rich visual archive. I also thank the following colleagues, monastic communities, institutions, and organizations for assisting me with additional images and permissions for this publication: Andrei Nacu, Vlad Bedros, Andrei Dumitrescu, Elisabeta Negrău, Ioan Popa, Gabriel-Dinu Herea, Petru Palamar, Tudor-Cătălin Urcan, Constantine Dolmas, Putna Monastery, Dragomirna Monastery, Sucevița Monastery, Zographou Monastery, Vatopedi Monastery, Dionysiou Monastery, Protaton Church in Karyes, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Bodleian Library, the National Museum of Art of Romania, the National History Museum of Romania, and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna.

I wrote this book for my current and future colleagues, for medievalists, Byzantinists, and early modern researchers at various career stages. I wrote it for those interested in the history, art, and culture of Eastern Europe, in the cultural interactions between the Latin, Greek, and Slavic traditions in regions of the Balkans and the Carpathians, as well as in Eastern Christian art, architecture, and visual culture in the post-Byzantine period. While I intend this book to function as an introductory work to the material, I also hope that it will be of interest to specialists, particularly those concerned with notions of cultural contact, artistic exchange, and issues of visual eclecticism in art and architecture. Select aspects of the material presented in this book, as I indicate throughout, can be expanded in future studies either in article form or book projects. The visual culture of medieval Moldavia and of Eastern Europe in general desperately need and richly deserve further study. If this book serves as the launching pad for future investigations of the diverse history, art, and culture of these regions of the world that have long been marginalized or excluded from the broader conversations, then part of its purpose is accomplished.

I would also like to thank my dear friend and “intellectual sister,” Alessia, with whom I have shared many of the joys and tribulations of writing an academic book. Over the years, we have discussed various aspects of this project, and she has shared invaluable suggestions along the way. Our numerous month-long “book-writing challenges,” before and during the covid-19 pandemic, have offered supportive companionship through a difficult process and have allowed us both to advance toward the completion of our respective monographs. I look forward to celebrating our books, as well as future collaborations and publications!

My deepest gratitude goes to Christian, whose unwavering support, love, and encouragement throughout our marriage have enabled me to complete my graduate studies, finish this book, and continue to push forward in my pursuits. Only he knows, perhaps as intimately as I do, the time, effort, energy, and dedication that went into producing this book. From research travels across Europe and international conferences to taking photographs and studying archives, and from late-night writing sessions to proof revisions in the midst of other demanding tasks, he has witnessed it all and has been there to offer support. This book is for him but also for our children—Paul and Constantin—who have accompanied us, through this journey, from the beginning. Their joy and curiosity have inspired me. May they read this book one day and appreciate the history and culture of a corner of the world that is part of their heritage.

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