The Medieval Monastery of Saint Elijah: A History in Paint and Stone

Alison Locke Perchuk, past Member in the School of Historical Studies (2018-19), has authored the first interdisciplinary account of the Monastery of St. Elijah, built circa 1122-26 near Rome. It includes archaeological and historical readings of the monastery’s architecture, frescoes, and sculpture, with an eye toward epigraphy, liturgy, theology, memory, and landscape. Published by Brepols, The Medieval Monastery of Saint Elijah: A History in Paint and Stone is composed of innovative analysis and splendid illustrations, providing the reader a comprehensive biography of the previously neglected monastery. 

Written in part during her time at the Institute, The Medieval Monastery of Saint Elijah continues Perchuk’s work on topography and sanctity in medieval Italy. Her study of Benedictine monasteries, from the sixth to twelfth centuries, positions landscape as the protagonist in the construction of sanctity, contributing to debates in the field of art history concerning “communal identity and the construction of social memory, artistic creativity and processes, the multisensory and exegetical capacities of works of visual art, intersections of topography and sanctity, and the effects of medievalism on our understanding of the Middle Ages.”

Perchuk has also written about subjects like Iberian manuscript illumination, Byzantine bronzes, and architecture and wall painting during the Middle Ages. She currently holds a professorship at California State University, Channel Islands, having received her Ph.D. from Yale. 

Brepols is one of the most prestigious publishers in the field of Medieval Studies and Classics. Founded in 1796, the Belgian publishing house focuses on the disciplines of history, archaeology, language, literature, music, art, and architecture, covering antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period. 

Previously, Perchuk's research on the Monastery of St. Elijah received the 2018 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize of the Medieval Academy of America