Nancy Thebaut is a historian of European medieval art and architecture, and her research focuses on the interplay of works of art, ritual practices, and theology from 800-1200 CE. In spring 2019 she completed her University of Chicago dissertation, “Non est hic: Figuring Christ’s Absence in Early Medieval Art,” which studies liturgical objects made ca. 950-1050 in which Christ is visually absent or partially obscured. While working on the dissertation, Nancy was the Kress History of Art Institutional Fellow at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art and a Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago, during which she curated a small exhibition of medieval manuscript cuttings. Beyond the Art Institute, she has also worked with curators at the Musée Carnavalet and Musée de Cluny on the reinstallation of each museum’s permanent collection. Nancy’s academic interests extend outside the Middle Ages, too; she has researched and published on the work of feminist artist Judy Chicago, for whom she briefly worked as an assistant, as well as on that of so-called ‘outsider’ and self-taught artists Joseph Yoakum and Eddy Mumma.
As a NOMIS fellow, Nancy will begin transforming “Non est hic” into a book, conceptually expanded in several major ways. She is also continuing to work on article-length projects that have emerged from her dissertation research, including the study and photography of early medieval Rückenfiguren on Carolingian and Ottonian ivory carvings. Prior to her PhD, Nancy studied at the Ecole du Louvre (Diplôme de muséologie), the Courtauld Institute of Art (MA), and Agnes Scott College (BA). She will begin teaching at Skidmore College as Assistant Professor of Art History in fall 2020.