Jacopo Gnisci

Jacopo Gnisci is a Lecturer at UCL and a Visiting Academic at the British Museum. He formerly worked as an EMKP Project Curator and is currently part of the EMKP’s editorial board.

Jacopo’s research focuses on the art and architecture of Ethiopia and Eritrea and on the marginalization and dehistoricization of African art in Western institutions. He has worked on a range of topics including the interconnections between art and the liturgy, the transmission and reconceptualization of visual culture in medieval manuscripts, and the relationship between text and image. He has published studies on the use, significance, and/or symbolism of icons, metalwork, and ecclesiastical vestments in Ethiopia. He has been involved in several exhibitions, including Peace, Power and Prestige: Metal Arts in Africa (2020) and Languages of God: Sacred Scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea at the Bodleian Libraries (2019). The latter exhibition was accompanied by the publication of the volume Treasures of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (2019), which he edited.


Selected Publications

Gnisci, Jacopo. “A Fifteenth-Century Ethiopian Icon of the Virgin and Child by the Master of the Amber-Spotted Tunic.” Rassegna Di Studi Etiopici 65 (2019): 183–93.

—. “Constructing Kingship in Early Solomonic Ethiopia: The David and Solomon Miniatures in the Juel-Jensen Psalter.” The Art Bulletin (accepted for publication).

—. “An Ethiopian Miniature of the Tempietto in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notes on Its Relatives and Symbolism.” In Canones: The Art of Harmony: The Canon Tables of the Four Gospels, edited by Alessandro Bausi, Bruno Reudenbach, and Hanna Wimmer, 67–98. Studies in Manuscript Cultures 18. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020.

—. “Christian Metalwork in Early Solomonic Ethiopia: Production, Function, and Symbolism.” In Peace, Power, and Prestige: Metal Arts in Africa, edited by Susan Cooksey, 254–65. Gainesville, FL: Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, 2020.

—. “Ecclesiastic Dress in Medieval Ethiopia: Preliminary Remarks on the Visual Evidence.” In The Hidden Life of Textiles in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean: Contexts and Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Islamic, Latinate and Eastern Christian Worlds, edited by Nikolaos Vryzidis, 231–56. Turnhout: Brepols, 2020.

—, ed. Treasures of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Manar Al-Athar Monograph 5. Oxford: Manar al-Athar, University of Oxford, 2019.

—. “An Ethiopian Icon.” Smarthistory, 2019. https://smarthistory.org/ethiopian-icon/.

—. “Cult Images.” Apollo Magazine 680 (2019): 76–81.

—. “Marian Literature in Geʿez.” In Treasures of Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, edited by Jacopo Gnisci, 70–77. Manar Al-Athar Monograph 5. Oxford: Manar al-Athar, 2019.

—. “Illuminated Leaves from an Ethiopic Gospel Book in the Newark Museum and in the Walters Art Museum.” Manuscript Studies 3, no. 2 (2018): 357–82.

—. “Crosses from Ethiopia at the Dallas Museum of Art: An Overview.” African Arts 51, no. 4 (2018): 48–55.

—. “Towards a Comparative Framework for Research on the Long Cycle in Ethiopic Gospels: Some Preliminary Observations.” Aethiopica 20 (2017): 70–105.

—. “Christian Ethiopian Art.” Smarthistory, December 22, 2016. https://smarthistory.org/christian-ethiopian-art/.

—. “Picturing the Liturgy: Notes on the Iconography of the Holy Women at the Tomb in Fourteenth- and Early Fifteenth-Century Ethiopian Manuscript Illumination.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 78, no. 3 (2015): 557–95.

—. “Shrouding the Divine: Observations on the Iconography of the Entombment of Christ in Ethiopian Illumination of the Fourteenth and Early Fifteenth Centuries.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 81, no. 2 (2015): 473–492.

—. “The Liturgical Character of Ethiopian Gospel Illumination of the Early Solomonic Period: A Brief Note on the Iconography of the Washing of the Feet.” In Aethiopia fortitudo ejus: Studi in onore di Monsignor Osvaldo Raineri in occasione del suo 80° compleanno, edited by Rafał Zarzeczny, 253–75. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 298. Rome: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 2015.

—. “The Dead Christ on the Cross in Ethiopian Art: Notes on the Iconography of the Crucifixion in Twelfth- to Fifteenth-Century Ethiopia.” Studies in Iconography 35 (2014): 187–288.

Gnisci, Jacopo, and Massimo Villa. “Evidence for the History of Early Solomonic Ethiopia from Tämben Part I: Gäbrǝʾel Wäqen.” Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 66 (2020): 89–109.

Gnisci, Jacopo, and Rafał Zarzeczny. “They Came with Their Troops Following a Star from the East: A Codicological and Iconographic Study of an Illuminated Ethiopic Gospel Book.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 83, no. 1 (2017): 127–89.

Jacopo Gnisci (Photo: Angela Tullio Cataldo)