We are delighted to welcome Dr Joustra and Professor Verdon to Theology and Religious Studies at King’s. These appointments bring rich gifts to our pioneering work in Theology and the Arts here in the heart of London.Professor Linda Woodhead, Head of Department of Theology and Religious Studies
30 November 2023
New appointments for The Centre for Arts & the Sacred
The Centre for Arts & the Sacred at King’s has announced two new appointments.
Two acclaimed art historians and internationally distinguished curators have been recently appointed at The Centre for Arts & the Sacred at King’s (ASK).
Dr Joost Joustra joins ASK in December as Research Fellow on the Visual Commentary in Scripture project. He takes up the role of art historical specialist on the VCS team following the appointment of Professor Jennifer Sliwka as Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Joustra has taught for several years on the Christianity & the Arts MA (which is run in collaboration with the National Gallery), and been a Visiting Lecturer at King’s. In his present role as Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Research Curator at the National Gallery he co-curated (with the National Gallery’s Director Gabriele Finaldi) the hugely successful 2023 exhibition St Francis of Assisi. Prior to that, in 2020, he curated the National Gallery’s exhibition Sin and authored the accompanying book, Sin: The Art of Transgression, exploring how sin has been depicted in art over many centuries. The exhibition has just completed a UK tour.
Previously, Joustra was the Sackler Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where he also wrote his doctoral thesis, titled Pictorial Space and Sacred Subject Matter in Florentine Painting, 1425-1466.
Professor Timothy Verdon will be Visiting Professor in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. Verdon is one of the world’s most eminent art historians, and has overseen the resdesign of one of the world’s most famous museums, the Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Florence (https://duomo.firenze.it/en/home), of which he is Director. While associated with King’s he will produce a prestigious 8-volume survey of the history of Christian Art.
Verdon is uniquely placed to take on the challenge of writing a multi-volume history of Christian art and architecture in a way that gives balanced weighting both to theological and to art historical concerns and methodologies. Trained first as an art historian with a specialism in Italian Renaissance sculpture and subsequently as a theologian and priest, he brings a rare combination of methodological skills to his scholarship. His ability to offer in-depth interpretation of material objects and their past is accompanied by serious reflection on both the historical and continuing spiritual resonances of works of visual art. As well as situating them richly in their original contexts, his scholarship prompts vital questions about what they might mean to viewers today.