Elina Räsänen


  • PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38)



1990 …2020

Tutkimustuotoksia vuodessa

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Henkilökohtainen profiili


I am Senior Lecturer in Art History. I have a Title of Docent both in HU and in Åbo Academi.

I am on a leave of absence till 31.12.2021. Presently, I am the PI in the research project Fragmentation and Iconoclashes in Medieval and Early Modern Objects (2020-2023), funded by the Kone Foundation, and affiliated at the University of Helsinki. https://blogs.helsinki.fi/kuvakalske/

As a member of the project Carving Out Transformations - Wood Use in North-Eastern Europe, 1100-1600 (2018-2022) funded by the Academy of Finland, I was appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Turku 1.9.2019-31.7.2020.

Tutkimuksen ja opetuksen kuvaus

I specialize in the art of northern Europe, particularly the Baltic Sea region, in the late Middle Ages as well as in the early modern period.

My scholarship addresses issues of spatial and material aspects of art as well as object biography. Another facet of my work examines the theoretical questions around iconography; my article "The Panopticon of Art History: Some Notes on Iconology, Interpretation, and Fears" in The Locus of Meaning in Medieval Art: Iconography, Iconology and Interpreting the Visual Imagery of the Middle Ages (2018) is an example of this.

My latest publications include co-editing Meister Francke Revisited. Auf den Spuren eines Hamburger Malers (2017); "Interpreting an Anomaly: The Encounter between Olga Alice Nygren and Carl Axel Nordman with the Crowned Saint Anne". Journal of Art Historiography (June 2020);  "Kalannin alttarikaappi. Keskiaikaisen esineen ja taideteoksen reiteillä" [Kalanti altarpiece. The Itineraries of the medieval object and a work of art]. Tahiti 2–3/2020, 6–19. https://tahiti.journal.fi/article/view/100178/57739. (NB. not listed in this portal, because it was written during my time as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Turku).

My recent scholarly interest is in the 'second life' of medieval sculptures: what happened to them after their active use as part of the Catholic liturgy? What kind of iconoclasm took place in Finland after the Reformation? Related to this, I am interested in fragmentation, iconoclasm, and breakage, to which my latest research project focuses on. On these questions, see my article "Plunder and Memento. Iconoclashes on the Itinerary of the Medieval Altarpiece of Rauma" in Indifferent Things? Material and Ceremonial Church Practices in the 16th and 17th Centuries in the Baltic Sea Region, eds. Krista Kodres, Merike Kurisoo & Ulrike Nürnberger (Edition Mare Balticum 3). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, 81–91 (NB. not listed in this portal, because it was written during my time as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Turku).

I have over 20 years of teaching experience on a higher education level. I am the primary supervisror of five doctoral students and have examined/supervised c. 17 MA and c. 37 BA theses. During 2018-2019 I was the Director of Bachelor’s Programme in Cultural Studies.


My main research material consists of late-medieval wooden polychrome altarpieces with sculptures and panel paintings, tabernacle shrines and effigies. I have also published on embroideries and various objects of material culture in general. I concentrate particularly on the wood sculptures in the Finnish collections; these are housed in the museums as well as in the present-day Lutheran churches.


16.3.2019        Title of Academic Docent in Medieval Art History, Åbo Akademi.

11.3.2015        Title of Academic Docent in Art History, University of Helsinki.

(NB. Title of Academic Docent is an honorary title which most closely equals the German Habilitation)

10.11.2009      PhD in Art History, University of Helsinki.


University pedagogy: 20 cr, 2006–2019.

Leadership Training for Programme Leaders at University of Helsinki, winter 2017–18.

Asemat yliopiston ulkopuolella

Associate, International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)


Vieraileva tutkija, University of Turku

1 syyskuuta 201931 heinäkuuta 2020

Varapuheenjohtaja, Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys

2017 → …

Puheenjohtaja, Taidehistorian Seura



  • 6132 Kuvataide ja muotoilu
  • Taidehistoria
  • Keskiajan taide
  • Keskiajan puuveistokset
  • Ikonoklasmi
  • Esinetutkimus
  • 615 Historia ja arkeologia
  • Kulttuuriperintö
  • Kulttuurihistoria
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