Sarah Bassett

Sarah Bassett

Associate Professor Emerita, Art History


  • Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, 1985
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1980
  • B.A., Smith College, 1976

Research interests

late antique, early medieval and Byzantine aesthetics; late antique portraiture; early Christian icons; the reception of the classical past in late antiquity and the Byzantine middle ages; late antique and early medieval urbanism


The Urban Image of Late Antique Constantinople (Cambridge University Press, 2004)


Articles + Book Chapters

“Late Antique art and Modernist Vision,” in C. Olovsdotter, ed. Envisioning worlds in Late antique Art. New Perspectives on Abstraction and Symbolism in Late-Roman and Early-Byzantine Visual Culture (c. 300 -600) (2018). (Berlin: De Gruyter): 5-28.

“The Topography of Triumph in Late Antique Constantinople”, in Fabian Goldbeck, and Johannes Wienand (eds.) Der römische Triumph in Prinzipat und Spätantike (2017). (Berlin: De Gruyter): 511-54.

“‘Curious art’: myth, sculpture, and Christian response in late antiquity,” in H. Leppin and J. Rüpke (eds.) Antike Mythologie in christlichen Kontexten der Spätantike - Bilder, Räume, Texte/ Classical Mythology in the Context of Late Antiquity – Images, Spaces, Texts (Berlin: Humbolt Unversität zu Berlin, 2016): 239-60.

“Collecting and the Creation of History” in M. Ghatan and D. Peggazzano, (eds.). Museum Archetypes and Collecting in the Ancient World (Leiden: Brill, 2015): 145-55.

“Late Antique Honorific Sculpture in Constantinople,” in S. Birk, T. M. Kristensen, B. Poulsen, eds. Using Images in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2014): 78-95.

Awards & Honors

  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • Fellow, American Research Institute in Turkey
  • Fellow, Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
  • Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities

Courses recently taught

  • ARTH A101 Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art
  • ARTH A626 Problems in Byzantine Art
  • ARTH A329 Topics in Medieval Art: Art and Architecture in the 6th Century
  • ARTH A425 Byzantine Art
  • ARTH A226 Survey of Medieval Art
  • ARTH A621 Problems in Early Christian Art
  • ARTH A321 Early Medieval Art
  • ARTH A421 Early Christian Art