Marius Hauknes

Assistant Professor, Art History
411 Decio Faculty Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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Assistant Professor, Art History

Area: Art History


Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., B.A., University of Oslo

Research Interests

Medieval Mediterranean Art, Architecture, and Material Culture; Wall Paintings and Mosaics, Medieval Astrology, Medicine, and Mythology, Art Theory, Historiography


Marius B. Hauknes is a historian of medieval art whose primary research focuses on the intersections of art, science, mythology, and theology. His first book, Images of the World: Art, Knowledge, and Politics in Medieval Rome [revision stage, Cambridge University Press] is a study of the thirteenth-century papacy’s use of monumental wall paintings as vehicles for political messaging and philosophical speculation. It examines two mural cycles: the painted crypt in the Cathedral of Anagni and the murals of the cardinal’s palace of Santi Quattro Coronati in Rome. Through its analyses of these monuments, the book shows how medieval Roman fresco painters used architectural space to distribute complex ideas within stylistically integrated images, thereby introducing a new role for mural painting as a visual-spatial tool for philosophical thinking.

A new book project, The Image of Chaos in the Medieval World, examines how medieval artists figured anxiety about otherness through visual representations of “chaos.” The book charts the development of the image of chaos from its origins in Biblical mythopoesis, through its innovative utilization in philosophical theology, to its final deployment in later medieval eschatological imagery. Whereas artworks of the early medieval period foregrounded the mythopoetic and philosophical dimensions of the chaos concept, images produced after the Islamic expansion in the Mediterranean turned chaos into an instrument for political and religious othering. These visual discourses played a central role in the development of race and ethnicity constructs in the Middle Ages. The book argues that by reconceptualizing the image of chaos as the image of the threatening Other, medieval artists contributed to the formation of a prejudicial understanding of the world as an arena for reparatory combat against diversity.

Before joining Notre Dame, Hauknes was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago (2016-2017), and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University (2014-2016). His research has also been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Twenty-Four-Month Chester Dale Fellow, 2011-2013) and the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study (Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro Member, 2019-2020). His publications have appeared in Studies in Iconography, Gesta, and The Art Bulletin.

His most recent article, “Painting Against Time: Spectatorship and Visual Entanglement in the Anagni Crypt,” Art Bulletin, Vol. 103:1 (2021): 7-36 was selected for the 2022 Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize awarded by the College Art Association.

For 2022-2023 Hauknes will be a Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.