Skip to content

Mathews, Thomas F., S. J.

    Full Name: Mathews, Thomas F., S. J.

    Other Names:

    • Thomas Francis Mathews, S. J.

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1934

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), Byzantine (culture or style), Christianity, Early Christian, Medieval (European), and sculpture (visual works)


    Byzantinist and historian of Early Christian art and architecture. Mathews graduated with a degree in Classics and Philosophy from Boston College in 1957, receiving an M.A. in philosophy the following year. He taught as an Instructor in classical languages at Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA, between 1958 and 1960. Mathews wrote a second master’s thesis in art history at New York University in 1962 before entering Weston College, Somerset, UK, for an Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S. T. L.) in 1965. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Mathews returned to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, studying under the Byzantinist Hugo Buchthal and writing dissertation on early churches in Constantinople under Richard Krautheimer. For the 1967-1969 years he was a Samuel H. Kress Fellowship at the Biblioteca Hertziana, Rome. He initially taught as a visiting Professor (extraordinarius) in Archaeology at the Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome, from 1969 to 1971. He returned to the United States as Associate Professor of Art at Brooklyn College, teaching until 1973. That year he became Professor of art history at U. C. L. A., returning to New York University in 1975 as Professor of the History of Art. He was a Guggenheim Fellow for the 1977-1978 year. Mathews was a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N. J., in 1990. As a Guest Curator for for the Morgan Library, New York he organized the “Treasures in Heaven” exhibit of Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts, Pierpont Morgan Library in 1994. He was appointed John Langeloth Loeb Professorship in the History of Art in 1993. A fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for the1996-1997 led to his appointment on the Visiting Committee to Medieval Art and the Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a senior fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, Washgington, D. C. In 2003 he received a J. Paul Getty Trust Collaborative Research Grant, to research his “From Pagan to Byzantine Icons in Late Antique Egypt,” 2003-2005.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] The Early Churches of Constantinople: Architecture and Liturgy. New York University, 1970, revised and published under the same title, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Press, 1971; East of Byzantium: Syria and Armenia in the Formative Period. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1982; Armenian Gospel Iconography: the Tradition of the Glajor Gospel. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1991; The Armenian Gospels of Gladzor: the Life of Christ Illuminated. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001; Art and Architecture in Byzantium and Armenia: Liturgical and Exegetical Approaches. Aldershot, Great Britain: Variorum, 1995; Art and Religion: Faith, Form and Reform. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia, 1986; The Byzantine Churches of Istanbul: a Photographic Survey. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976; Byzantium: from Antiquity to the Renaissance. New York: Abrams, 1998; The Clash of Gods: a Reinterpretation of Early Christian Art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993; and Wieck, Roger. Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994.


    Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 124; Institute of Fine Arts Faculty New York University (webiste)


    "Mathews, Thomas F., S. J.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: