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Dr Krisztina Ilko PhD

Dr Krisztina Ilko, PhD

Teaching Associate

Director of Studies at Homerton College

Praeceptor at Corpus Christi College

Academic Associate at Pembroke College


Research Interests

Krisztina Ilko is a historian specialising in social, cultural, and intellectual exchange in the Middle Ages and beyond. She currently serves as a Teaching Associate in Italian Renaissance Art at the University of Cambridge for 2020-2021. Beside contributing lectures and seminars to various parts of the core curriculum, she has designed, taught, and supervised a Special Subject, ‘Early Renaissance Art from a Global Perspective,’ (Art History Tripos, Part II: Paper 11/12). 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 Europe, such as Crete, Armenia, Egypt, and the Silk Road.

Dr Ilko completed her PhD in History of Art as a Lander Scholar at the University of Cambridge, Pembroke College in 2020, for which she was awarded the Whitney Predoctoral Research Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for 2018-2020.

Her current research is concerned with the mendicant friars and the rise of new religious orders in Italy. The mendicant orders were founded as small reform brotherhoods in the early 1200s, but within decades had become the largest institutional patrons of art and architecture in Latin Christendom. Since the late 1800s, the mendicants – above all the Franciscans and Dominicans – have been considered pivotal for the rapid artistic and urban renewal underway in Italy from the 1200s onwards. Her current book project which derives from her PhD, The Sons of St Augustine: Art and Memory in the Augustinian Churches of Central Italy, offers the first comprehensive study of the ‘third’ mendicant order: the Hermits of St Augustine, long dismissed as pale imitators of the Franciscans. This extensive research was formed by an unprecedented series of field trips to two dozen archives and more than forty convents across Italy from Bari to Valle d’Aosta. Through the combined study of written sources, ranging from civic legislation to notarial records and choir books, combined with material, artistic, and archaeological evidence, her research leads to a major re-evaluation of the Augustinians’ artistic legacy, revealing them to be innovative patrons who used art discerningly to promote a distinctive eremitical identity.

Parallel to this, she is working on another project exploring funerary architecture associated with European women in fourteenth-century Yangzhou (China).

Dr Ilko's scholarship has been supported by substantial national and international awards from the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), 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, Pembroke College, Kettle's Yard, and the History of Art Department at Cambridge.

Key Publications

“Forging the Augustinian Past: The Rule-Giving of St Augustine in a Duecento Gradual,” Gesta, (2021), forthcoming. (International Center of Medieval Art Essay Award)

"Extra murals - on the discovery of medieval wall paintings in Torcello," in: Apollo (2020, available online: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/discovery-medieval-wall-paintings-torcello-venice-lagoon/)

"Recovering the Augustinian Convent of San Salvatore in Venetian Candia," Journal of Ecclesiastical History (2020), 1-21, available in first view. (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.