Art and Art History

Faculty and Staff

Art History

Dr. Vibeke Olson- Associate Professor

Dr. Vibeke OlsonOffice:
CA 2038

(910) 962-3749

(910) 962-7106


Ph.D. University of California Santa Barbara, Art History

M.A.California State University Northridge, Art History

B.F.A.University of Denver


Twelfth Century French Architecture
Medieval Pilgrimage

Vibeke Olson is a medievalist with a broad-based interest in 12th century visual culture. One avenue of her research explores architectural and sculptural production in 12th century France. Along these lines, she has published on the use of standardized and mass-produced architectural components that were applied as decorative elements on the interiors and exteriors of buildings. She is also interested in medieval workshop practices, specifically the division of labor within the sculpture workshop. This research focuses on ornamental sculpture, particularly examples of unfinished work, which can shed light the process of carving and the distribution of tasks amongst sculptors working together on a project.

Olson's other line of research considers the reception of images by medieval audiences. For instance, did pilgrims read images differently than clerics, or did women respond differently than men to certain visual data? Questions such as these have prompted her to look at the multivalent nature of 12th and 13th century architectural sculpture in a variety of different ways such as in the context of pilgrimage or speculating on the differences between broadcast and perceived meaning by considering how the knowledge base of a particular viewing public might influence interpretation.