We are pleased to welcome Danai Thomaidis to the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies as our 2021/2022 Hellenisms Past and Present, Local and Global Postdoctoral Fellow.
Thomaidis' research interests include the reception of Byzantine icons in the West, Marian studies, the materiality of the sacred and artistic and cultural interactions in the Mediterranean. During her time at the Centre, she will finalize her book manuscript, The Life of Icons in Venice, which realizes the power of icons as social agents, challenging the traditional methods of art history research. Using a methodology that merges art history approaches with religious anthropology, sociology and theology, her research reevaluates the visual and artistic merits of icons with their potential to express meanings.
She will also spend time working on a separate project titled "Iconic Montages as Bearers of Meaning from Constantinople to Venice (13th-15th Centuries)." For this project, she will explore the techniques utilized for the exhibition of icons in Byzantium and Venice to understand how these visual ensembles created new meanings for viewers and write a survey on the methods of icon exposition. In addition, she will collaborate with her supervisor, assistant professor Sabrina Higgins, on the Digital Mary project to collect and digitize all known visual materials relating to the Virgin from the Mediterranean in the Late Antique and Early Medieval periods.
Thomaidis studied cultural heritage at Statale University of Milan and earned her MA in medieval and Byzantine art history at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. During her time at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and Fribourg University for her PhD, she analyzed the introduction, cult and exposition of Byzantine icons in the churches, streets and houses of Venice and of the Venetian-ruled colonies of the Mediterranean.
When asked what she is looking forward to during her time Simon Fraser University, Thomaidis remarked: