Areas of Study

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Pamela Patton

1630B Owen Art Center
Pamela Patton

Pamela A. Patton


Pamela Patton’s research examines the rich visual traditions of medieval Iberia, with an emphasis on the multiple intersections of Iberian visual culture with religious and ethnic identity. Her projects have won grants from the Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Her books include Pictorial Narrative in the Romanesque Cloister: Cloister Imagery and Religious Life in Medieval Spain (Peter Lang, 2004) and Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain (Penn State University Press, 2012), winner of the 2014 Eleanor Tufts Book Award. Her articles and essays have concerned monastic architectural sculpture, the text-image relationship in manuscripts, and the portrayal of ethnic and religious minorities in high and late medieval Iberia. Teaching interests include the art and architecture of medieval Iberia; art of the medieval courts; and ethnicity, religion, and identity in medieval Europe. Her latest research concerns the semiotics of skin color in medieval Iberia, in connection with which she is currently editing the anthology, Envisioning Others: Race, Color, and the Visual in Iberia and Latin America, for Brill’s “Medieval and Early Modern Iberia” series. Dr. Patton received a B.A. magna cum laude from Tufts University, an M.A in art history from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in art history from Boston University. She is currently Associate Professor and Chair of Art History at SMU, where she also served as curator of the Meadows Museum from 1993 to 2000.


Ph.D., Art History, Boston University; M.A., Art History, Williams College; B.A., Tufts University


Visual culture and religious/ethnic identity in medieval Iberia; pictorial narrative and the text-image relationship; the medieval Mediterranean.


Art and cultures of medieval Iberia; medieval art in Europe; ethnicity, religion and identity in medieval art.

Selected Publications


  • Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2012.
  • Pictorial Narrative in the Romanesque Cloister: Cloister Imagery and Religious Life in Medieval Spain. New York: Peter Lang, 2004; second printing 2007.

Articles and Essays:

  • “The Little Jewish Boy: Afterlife of a Byzantine Legend in Thirteenth-Century Spain.” In Byzantine Images and Their Afterlives: Essays in Honor of Annemarie Weyl Carr, ed. Lynn Jones. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014, 61-80.
  • “Arts.” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies (Special Issue: Shards of Memory: Reflections on the Legacy of María Rosa Menocal  5/2 (2013): 111–117.
  • “Constructing the Inimical Jew in the Cantigas de Santa María: Theophilus’ Magician in Text and Image.” In Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism and European Art Before 1800, ed. Mitchell Merback. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2008, 233-256.
  • “An Islamic Envelope-Flap Binding in the Cloister of Tudela: Another ‘Muslim Connection’ for Iberian Jews?” In Medieval Spanish Art: New Approaches and Studies, ed. Colum Hourihane Princeton: Index of Christian Art/Medieval Institute Publications, 2007, 65-88.
  • “Cain’s Blade and the Question of Midrashic Sources in Medieval Spanish Art.” Church, State, Vellum and Stone: Essays in Honor of John Williams, ed. Julie Harris and Therese Martin. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005, 423-451.
  • “The Cloister as Cultural Mirror: Anti-Jewish Imagery at Santa María la Mayor in Tudela.” In Der Mittelalterliche Kreuzgang: Architectur, Funktion und Programm, ed. Peter Klein. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner, 2003, 317-332.
  • “The Capitals of San Juan de la Peña: Narrative Sequence and Monastic Spirituality in the Romanesque Cloister.” Studies in Iconography 20 (1999): 51-100.
  • “‘El Prado en la Pradera’: arte español en el Museo Meadows (Dallas, Texas).” Goya: Revista de Arte 257 (March-April, 1997), 258-266.
  • “A Late Gothic Painted Cabinet from Catalonia.” The Burlington Magazine (June 1996): 386-391.
  • Et partu fontis exceptum: the Typology of Birth and Baptism in an Unusual Spanish Image of Jesus Baptized in a Font.” Gesta 33/2 (1994): 79-92.
  • “Intimations of the Redeemer in a Fifteenth-Century Relief of the Madonna and Child.” Source 5/4 (Summer, 1986): 13-18.

Museum Publications:

  • “Catálogo,” La Colección Meadows. Exhibition catalogue, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museu Nacional d’Art Catalan, May-November, 2000. Catalogue entries written with contributions by John Lunsford and Kelly Chamblee. Madrid: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2000.
  • The Meadows Museum. A Handbook of Spanish Painting and Sculpture. Co-authors: John Lunsford and Kelly Chamblee. Dallas, TX: Meadows Museum, 2000.
  • Faith in Conflict: Devotional Images and Forbidden Books from Spain’s Counter Reformation. Exhibition booklet, Meadows Museum. Co-author: Eric Marshall White. Dallas, TX: Meadows Museum, 1999.


Eleanor Tufts Book Award, American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies, 2014.

President's Associates Outstanding Faculty Award, Southern Methodist University, 2011.

Publication Grants, College Art Association Millard Meiss Fund and Program for Cultural Cooperation Between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States Universities, both for Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain (Penn State University Press), awarded 2011.

Sam Taylor Fellowship, Division of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, 2008.

Research Grants, Program for Cultural Cooperation Between Spain's Ministry of Culture and U.S. Universities, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2007.

National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 2006.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “Representations of the ‘Other’: The Jew in Medieval Christendom.” Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (Oxford University). Grant recipient/participant, 2003.

Areas of Study



Art History

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies



Faculty and Staff

Graduate Students

Art History Newsletter

RASC/a Graduate Conference

Department Projects

Dallas Resources

Libraries and Visual Resources

Community Engagement


Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Communication Studies

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts