Imitations of Empire: Porphyry Sarcophagi in Byzantium and Beyond
Kelsey Eldridge is a PhD student in the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her research explores the presence of Byzantine material culture in the medieval and early modern Italian peninsula. She holds a BA in Art History and Comparative Religion from the University of Puget Sound, and an MA in Art History from the University of Washington. Kelsey is also interested in numismatics and sigillography, and has held positions in Coins and Seals at the Harvard Art Museum and Dumbarton Oaks.
This project concerns the imitation of Byzantine models of rulership and material culture in Ostrogothic Ravenna, Norman Sicily and early Medici Florence. Centering on each culture’s employment of porphyry sarcophagi, the project uses the presence of these byzantinizing funerary monuments as a means towards evaluating the image of Byzantium abroad. At I Tatti, Kelsey will focus on the porphyry funerary monuments created for the early Medici in San Lorenzo basilica, and the relationship between the Medici and the Byzantine intellectuals and artifacts that poured into Florence following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.