The American Research Center in Eygpt

Monastic Visions: Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea

Monastic Visions: Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea

Monastic Visions: Wall Paintings in the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea

Edited by Elizabeth S. Bolman, with photographs by Patrick Godeau 2002. Yale University Press and the American Research Center in Egypt 342 pp.; 210 color plates, + 85 b-w and line drawings. 31 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index Cloth ISBN 0 300 092 24 5

Distributed in the United States and Europe by Yale University Press

Copies are also available for purchase at the Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea. Royalties from the sale of the book are donated to the monastery.


In 1996, funded by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development and at the request of the Coptic Monastery of St. Antony at the Red Sea, ARCE's Antiquities Development Project, in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Antiquities, began the conservation of a unique cycle of thirteenth-century wall paintings in the monastery's ancient church.

Ignored for centuries because they were covered with soot and overpainting, the paintings revealed by the conservation effort, completed in 1999, are of extremely high quality, both stylistically and conceptually. While rooted in the Christian tradition of Egypt, they also reveal explicit connections with medieval Byzantine and Islamic art.

The paintings constitute the most complete and best-preserved iconographic program of Christian paintings to come from medieval Egypt. In addition, newly discovered wall paintings in the church, dating back to the sixth or seventh century, are published here for the first time. Monastic Visions includes contributions by art historians, conservators, historians, an archaeologist, and an anthropologist, documenting the results of ARCE's conservation effort. The text includes a full analysis of the paintings, which are reproduced in full color, and situates them within the artistic, historical, and religious context of Coptic Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean region during the Middle Ages.

Monastic Visions was recently awarded honorable mention in the Outstanding Scholarly Book (Art category) by the Association of American Publishers, and received a design and production award from the Association of American University Presses.

  • Elizabeth S. Bolman is assistant professor of art history at Temple University, Philadelphia.
  • Patrick Godeau has worked extensively in the Middle East, specializing in fine art and architectural photography.

US Office: 909 North Washington St. Suite 320, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 p: (703) 721-3479
ARCE Cairo Center: 2 Midan Simón Bolívar Garden City Cairo 11461 Egypt p: 20 2 2794 8239 

ARCE is a 501(c)(3) organization. Content on the ARCE website is available for personal use only. If content is downloaded, it must be for the sole purpose of viewing, or for "fair use" as defined in United States copyright law. Requests to publish ARCE images must be submitted in writing to

United States Agency for International Development   National Endowment for the Humanities   Council of American Overseas Research Centers   Network for Good   GuideStar"
Copyright 2019 ARCE