Joseph Salvatore Ackley

Lecturer and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Western Medieval Art
Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, 2014

Contact Information

Phone: (212) 854-1938
Office: 653C Schermerhorn Extension
Office Hours: Mondays, 3-5


Joseph Salvatore Ackley is a Western medievalist specializing in Carolingian, Ottonian, and twelfth-century art and architecture. His research focuses on both precious metalwork and the phenomenon of the medieval church treasury. He received his doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University with a dissertation entitled "'Offer him gold; that is true love': Ottonian gold repoussé and the Western medieval church treasury." His research interests include how metals were defined, understood, and seen by medieval subjects; how issues of material, medium, and object morphology can be incorporated into the art historical narrative of precious metalwork; and how the church treasury served as a site in which a variety of competing interests, among them liturgical, economic, and memorial concerns, intersected. A forthcoming essay explores late medieval precious-metal figural sculpture. More broadly, Dr. Ackley is interested in questions of matter, medium, material identity, object ontology, and what can be loosely termed "the problem of the substrate"—that is, the tension between what we see versus what we know.

Selected Publications

"Copper-alloy substrates in precious-metal treasury objects: Concealed and yet excessive." Different Visions: A Journal of New Perspectives on Medieval Art 4 (2014): 1-34.

"Re-approaching the Western medieval church treasury inventory, c. 800-1250." Journal of Art Historiography 11 (Dec. 2014): 1-37.