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Department of History of Art



PhD in History of Art, Lander Scholar (Cambridge Trust/AHRC Scholarship), Pembroke College, Cambridge, 2015-20; Predoctoral Research Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2018-20.



Dr Krisztina Ilko currently serves as a Junior Research Fellow at Queens' College, Cambridge, and Affiliated Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Cambridge. Her current book project, The Pawns of History: A New Approach Towards the Global Middle Ages, uses the game of chess and surviving chess pieces to find a tangible approach towards the global medieval past. In contrast to previous histories which have focused on the development of gameplay, it employs chess to study cross-cultural communication in the Afro-Eurasian world between 800 and 1400. The primary goal is therefore a critical rethinking of wider processes, practices, and products of cross-cultural interaction. Ultimately, this project addresses how the ‘global’ was experienced in the medieval era, and contributes to broader discussions about how the Middle Ages overlaps but also differs from the modern global world.

Her scholarship has been supported by substantial national and international awards from the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), the Royal Historical Society (RHS), the Italian Art Society (IAS), AHRC, the Francis Haskell Memorial Fund of The Burlington Magazine Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Delaware Valley Medieval Association, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Toronto, Pembroke College, Kettle's Yard, and the History of Art Department at Cambridge.






Key publications: 

"Chess and Race in the Global Middle Ages," Speculum, forthcoming. 

"Where the Wild Things Are: The Medieval Augustinian Order's Perception of Nature between Tree Lore and Environmental History," English Historical Review, forthcoming. 

“Forging the Augustinian Past: The Rule-Giving of St Augustine in a Duecento Gradual,” Gesta 61/2 (2023): 95-126. (International Center of Medieval Art Essay Award)

“Caterina Vilioni’s Tomb in Yangzhou,” in Smarthistory (2021, available online:

"Extra murals - on the discovery of medieval wall paintings in Torcello," in: Apollo (2020, available online:

"Recovering the Augustinian Convent of San Salvatore in Venetian Candia," Journal of Ecclesiastical History  72/2 (2021): 259–279. (Delaware Valley Medieval Association Essay Prize)

"Freskenmalerei des 14. Jahrhunderts in der Slowakei: Das letzte Gebet Mariens in der Kathedrale von Neutra (Nitra)," in Neue Forschungen zur Wandmalerei des Mittelalters, ed. Ulrike Heinrichs and Katharina Pick (Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2019), 133–141.

"The Identification of an Illuminated Trecento Fragment of the Postil on the Lenten Gospels by Albert of Padua," Metropolitan Museum Journal 53 (2018): 128–135.


Teaching and Supervisions


Besides contributing lectures and seminars to various parts of the core curriculum, Dr Ilko has designed, taught, and supervised a Special Subject, ‘Early Renaissance Art from a Global Perspective’. This course explores the dynamic artistic development in Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries from a global perspective. Key centres in Italy such as Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome, and Naples are studied both through their relation to the Italian countryside, but also through their interconnectivity with places beyond western Europe, such as Mali, Madagascar, Byzantium, Armenia, Egypt, Crete, and territories alongside the Silk Roads.

Affiliated Lecturer
Junior Research Fellow and Director of Studies at Queens' College
Director of Studies and Bye-Fellow at Homerton College
Dr Krisztina  Ilko

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