"I tell my students that a work of art exists in its culture the way an organism exists with and interacts with its environment. Works of art are both reflections of and participants in the formation of the culture that produces them. My approach with students is a mix of serious scholarship, informality, and humor. I try to figure out what they need to do to achieve their dreams; what they need to make the most of their talents and abilities."

Carol L. Neuman de Vegvar

Emeritus Professor of Fine Arts


  • B.A., Bryn Mawr College
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania


The primary art historian of the department, Carol Neuman de Vegvar joined the faculty in 1988. She taught previously at Skidmore College and Union College in New York. A medievalist, she also teaches Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, and Islamic art.

She has lectured and published internationally on early western medieval art, and she serves as consultant for several museums and collections in England.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

  • Art history
  • The interface between secular and sacred art
  • The preservation and destruction of artistic patrimony
  • Role of art in culture and society

Publications / Presentations

  • Coeditor (with Éamonn Ó Carragáin, University College Cork),: Roma Felix—Formation and Reflections of Medieval Rome, Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West, (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008). Includes my article, ”Gendered Spaces: The Placement of Imagery in Santa Maria Maggiore,” pp. 97–111.
  • “In Hoc Signo: The Cross on Secular Objects and the Process of Conversion,” Cross and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies in Honour of George Hardin Brown, ed. Sarah Larratt Keefer, Karen L. Jolly, and Catherine E. Karkov, (Morgantown, West Virginia University Press, 2008), pp. 79–117.
  • “Converting the Insular Landscape: Crosses and Their Audiences;” Text, Image, Interpretation: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Literature in Honour of Éamonn Ó Carragáin, ed. Alastair Minnis and Jane Roberts, (Turnhout, Brepols, 2007), pp. 407–29.
  • “Remembering Jerusalem: Architecture and Meaning in Insular Canon Table Arcades,” Making and Meaning: 5th International Conference of Insular Art, Trinity College Dublin, August 25–28th 2005. ed. Rachel Moss, (Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2007), pp. 242–56.
  • “High Style and Borrowed Finery: The Strood Mount, the Long Wittenham Stoup, and the Boss Hall Brooch as Complex Responses to Continental Visual Culture,” Conversion and Colonization in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Catherine Karkov and Nicholas Howe (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies. Tempe, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arizona State University, 2006), pp. 31–58.
  • Co-author (with Adam Daubney) “Lenton Keisby and Osgodby” Medieval Archaeology 50 (2006), p. 287.
  • “Interdisciplinarity and Medieval Studies: Method, Academic Discipline, or Illusion? A Response to Christopher Currie” AVISTA Forum Journal, (13.2, 2003), pp. 28–31.
  • “Romanitas and Realpolitik in Cogitosus’s Description of the Church of St. Brigit, Kildare,” The Cross Goes North; Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, AD 300–1300, ed. Martin Carver (Woodbridge, Boydell for York Medieval Press, 2003), pp. 153–70.
  • “A Feast to the Lord: Drinking Horns, the Church and the Liturgy,” Objects, Images and the Lord: Art in the Service of the Liturgy; Index of Christian Art Occasional Papers V, ed. Colum Hourihane, (Department of Art History and Archaeology, Princeton University / Princeton University Press, 2003), pp. 231–56.


  • “The Doors of His Face: Early Hellmouth Iconography in Ireland,” Aedificia Nova: Studies in Honor of Rosemary Cramp, ed. Catherine Karkov and Helen Damico, (Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute Press, Western Michigan University, 2008) pp. 176–97.
  • “Reading the Franks Casket: Contexts and Audiences,” (Inter)Texts: Studies in Early Insular Culture Presented to Paul E. Szarmach, ed. Virginia Blanton and Helene Scheck, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (Tempe, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arizona State University, 2008) pp. 143–61. 


My research primarily concerns the art of Anglo-Saxon England and Ireland in the early medieval period. My work raises questions of meaning in context, of the range of audiences of early medieval art and the associations that different groups of viewers and users brought to the structures and objects that survive from this era.

I am interested in differences of viewpoint, both literal and metaphoric, between ecclesiastics and laity, men and women, the literate minorities of church and court and the larger agrarian population. I apply this approach to works across several media: ecclesiastical architecture, manuscript illumination, metalwork and sculpture.

My long-term project over the past decade has been on drinking horns and their social contexts in the early medieval British Isles.

I am interested in the role of these vessels in feasting practices and in hospitality as a first stage in an escalating cycle of reciprocity that was thought ideally to bind together different levels of a vertically structured elite with ties of mutual loyalty and obligation.

The project also entails a catalog of the extant metalwork horn fittings from the British Isles in the period from the Roman to the Normans; the horns themselves rarely survive as the keratin of which natural horn is constituted is fugitive in most archaeological contexts.

This project will be published as a book, currently in the writing stage, to be entitled Drinking Horns and Social Discourse in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland; 500–1100.

Research on this project, as well as others referenced in my list of recent publications, has been generously supported by Ohio Wesleyan University under the aegis of the Thomas E. Wenzlau Presidential Discretionary Fund.

Contact Info


Edgar Hall 125
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015

P 740-368-3603
E cndevegv@owu.edu