History of Art and Architecture

Sarah Daiker


Sarah Daiker studies medieval sculpture and its continued appeal in the modern world, with an emphasis on French architectural elements and their recontextualization in museum collections. Her dissertation examines the intersections of medievalism, historicism, and a developing sense of an American national identity at Washington National Cathedral and in the cathedral’s Bishop’s Garden in the first half of the twentieth century. Sarah’s broader research interests include relationships of the medieval and the modern, the history of collecting and collections, fragments and spolia, and reproductions and revivals.

Sarah was an intern at The Met Cloisters in 2013 as part of The Cloisters Summer Internship Program, where she began developing these research interests. Prior to beginning her studies at Pitt, Sarah earned her M.A. in Art History at Pennsylvania State University, where she studied with Elizabeth Bradford Smith and Anthony Cutler. Sarah’s Master’s thesis on George Grey Barnard (1863–1938), the American sculptor whose medieval collection came to form the cornerstone of The Cloisters Collection, considered the public reception of Barnard’s collections and the desire for medieval art in the United States during the early- to mid-twentieth century. In 2022, Sarah was a participant in Dumbarton Oaks’ Garden and Landscape Studies Graduate Workshop, “Landscape History and Historiography.”

In 2023­­–2024, Sarah will be in residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow in Medieval Art and The Cloisters.


Education Details

Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture, in progress
Advanced to Candidacy, November 2021
Advisor: Christopher Drew Armstrong
Committee Members: Shirin Fozi (co-advisor), Sahar Hosseini, Kirk Savage, Paula M. Kane, and Janet T. Marquardt

M.A., Pennsylvania State University, Art History, 2016
Advisor: Elizabeth Bradford Smith
Committee Member: Anthony Cutler

B.A., Florida State University, History and Criticism of Art, 2014
Minors in Medieval Studies and Museum Studies

Selected Awards

Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2023­­–2024

Arts and Sciences Summer Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh, 2022, 2023

Dietrich Summer Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh, 2020, 2021

Arts and Sciences Graduate Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2019–2020

Selected Presentations

“A ‘Garden for the Nation’: The Bishop’s Garden of Washington National Cathedral,” Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, Washington, DC, February 2023

“Collecting the Past: Medievalism and Historicism in the Bishop’s Garden of Washington National Cathedral,” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2022

“Evoking the Middle Ages: Alexandre Lenoir’s Musée des monuments français and George Grey Barnard’s Cloisters and Abbaye,” Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, November 2020

“‘Poems of Past Ages’: George Grey Barnard and the Bishop’s Garden of Washington National Cathedral,” Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, October 2018

“Architectural Representations and Topographic Designation in the Mosaics of Jordan, 6th–8th Centuries,” Annual Conference of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America, New York, NY, October 2015

“Architectural Sculpture at The Cloisters,” Gallery Talk, The Met Cloisters, New York, NY, August 2013