Georgios Makris

An art historian and archaeologist, Georgios (Yorgos) Makris specializes in the arts of Byzantium and its neighboring lands, with particular emphasis on the material culture and archaeology of monasticism as well as the dissemination and usage of portable objects across the medieval Mediterranean.

Makris is currently at work on his first monograph that examines the sacred topography, artistic production, and life-cycle of monasticism in the European hinterland of the Byzantine capital, Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), within its Balkan and Mediterranean context. The book is primarily concerned with fundamental aspects of medieval monastic culture, ranging from material issues such as design and interior decoration of monastic spaces, to broader subjects relating to the interaction between architecture and landscape, daily routine, and the social dynamics of patronage in the period from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries.

His work lies at the intersection of art history, archaeology, and cultural history. As an active archaeologist, he has participated in a number of archaeological projects and is currently co-director of the field survey of the Molyvoti, Thrace Archaeological Project (MTAP). Focusing on a coastal settlement often identified as Ancient Stryme in northern Greece, and its connections with the outer world in antiquity and medieval times, MTAP’s surface survey integrates the urban settlement and its periphery into the wider region.

Makris is also engaged in the “Ornaments in Life and Death” project which investigates the collective significance and role of jewelry and personal dress accessories in the daily lives of the Byzantines. The project considers how the visual tools, models, and shapes that medieval craftsmen created and drew on, were transferred and translated not only within the same artistic medium, but even more so geographically, from the cultural centers of Byzantium to the peripheries, in and outside of the empire. Given the lack of an original archaeological context for museum artifacts, the project brings them together with a number of jewels from excavated cemeteries in the eastern Mediterranean. Collectively the ensemble instigates a study of the social meaning and distribution modes of jewelry in the medieval Mediterranean. The rich corpus of little-known objects offers valuable, hitherto unexplored, information about the social composition, financial means, and individual religious and social behavior of their owners and users.

His scholarship has received support from a number of institutions including Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Junior Fellow 2014-2015) and at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (Fellow 2015-2016). He has held postdoctoral appointments at Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology, and Princeton University’s Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies. Prior to joining AHVA, he was Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At UBC, Makris teaches courses on Late Antique and Medieval art, on Byzantine art, and more intensive courses on such topics as the Arts of the Early Medieval West, and on Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Medieval Mediterranean.

Makris is currently amidst his first season as co-director of the field survey of the Molyvoti, Thrace Archaeological Project (MTAP), an international scientific expedition in northwestern Greece, a co-operation (synergasia) between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rhodope and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), represented by Princeton University.