Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Dr. John R. Decker

Second Advisor

Dr. Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr.

Third Advisor

Dr. Maria P. Gindhart


The papacies of Julius II and Leo X witnessed the continuing efforts of philosophers struggling toward the concept of prisca theologia, or "ancient theology,” as well as its implications for concordia, or the search for a reconciliation between non-Christian, pagan wisdom and the orthodox beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. This thesis will explore the Vatican's relationship with some ancient Egyptian and Egyptianizing artifacts and motifs acquired under Popes Julius II and Leo X and the use of these objects in terms of the conceptual formulation of the prisca theologia and concordia. Specifically, I am interested in how these popes used material culture to further understand and propagate complex theological concepts. Beyond simply acquiring such objects, their physical positioning and arrangement within specific spaces and in proximity to other objects make possible nuanced dialogs between the objects themselves, the spaces they occupy, and their intended viewership.