less than 1 minute read


Charles Rufus Morey (1877–1955)

Chairman of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, Morey was a historian of early Christian art whose primary field of study was the iconography of Italian art of the pre-700 period. Apart from his scholarly studies, which ranged from research on gold-glass mosaics to early Latin manuscripts and iconographical motifs of the origins of early Christian art, he is best remembered for founding the Index of Christian Art in 1917. As an iconographer he realized that the major obstacle to understanding the development of particular themes and subjects lay in the lack of available knowledge. It was this that led to his establishment of the world's largest iconographically organized archive of medieval art. Morey's studies, while now slightly outdated, demonstrate his belief that the full understanding of a work of art depends on the use of iconography in a contextualized manner. A close friend of Panofsky, Morey believed that iconography was an organic entity that was constantly developing and that could be understood only in relation to what was known at any one time.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Hydrazones to IncompatibilityIconography - Historical Development, Cesare Ripa (fl. 1593), Émile MÂle (1862–1954), Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968)