History of Art and Architecture

Sarah Reiff Conell


Sarah Reiff Conell is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture Department. She employs digital methods, including network analysis, to investigate late medieval and early modern cults of the Virgin Mary in the Danube River Valley. Her dissertation traces the flow of miraculous agency through objects that participate in various forms of replication both within and across media. 

Since arriving at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015, her research has centered on cultic practice from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, focusing particularly on topics of agency and visual knowledge in German speaking areas. She has explored these questions in a variety of ways, including a project in which she digitally mapped churches and chapels built for the veneration of Holy Blood relics. In her MA thesis, Sarah unpacked issues associated with printmaking and the distribution of knowledge and belief around the Schöne Maria of Regensburg.  Exploration of printed images and their textual companions emerging in cults of the sixteenth century continues to fuel her passion for this multifaceted category of visual culture.

Education Details

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, in progress

MA, University of Pittsburgh, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, 2017

BA, Art History with Honors, The University of Texas at Austin, 2013

Selected Awards


SITSA (Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art), Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, 2018

James and Susanne Wilkinson Research Prize for Outstanding Scholarship on Topics in Pre-Modern Art, University of Pittsburgh, PA, 2017

Kress-Murphy Foundation Scholarship, California Rare Book School, Los Angeles, CA, 2017

Austrian Nationality Room Graduate Scholarship, Vienna, Austria, 2017

DAAD Intensive Language Course Grant, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 2016