Francisco Prado-Vilar is Director of Cultural and Artistic Projects at RCC; Scientific Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Program for the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and he is Scientific Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Program for the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and member of the Committee of the European Heritage Label (EU). He received a M.A. and a PhD from Harvard University and has subsequently held academic positions at Princeton University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and professor in the Council of the Humanities and the Department of Art and Archaeology (2002-6), at the University of London (Birkbeck), where he taught early modern visual culture, and became a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS), and, most recently, at the Complutense University in Madrid as Ramón y Cajal research professor where he directed the international project HA2010-20357: "Medieval Art and European Culture: Classical Heritage and Impact on the Discourses of Modernity".
His research has focused on diverse aspects of the arts and cultures of medieval Europe, covering topics of wide chronological, thematic, and methodological range such as: the influence of Classical art in medieval sculpture, including iconographic transformations, plastic conceptualization, visuality, ekphrasis, theoretical discussions around the question of the Nachleben der Antike (“Saevum facinus," “Lacrimae rerum,” “Tragedy´s Forgotten Beauty”); issues of style, iconography, performativity, reception, and historiography in Romanesque and Gothic monumental programs (“Flabellum,” “The Scenography of Glory and Kingdom,” “Diary of an Argonaut," “Stuport et mirabilia”); the social and political significance of courtly portable objects as agents of diplomatic and cultural exchange in the Medieval Mediterranean (“Circular Visions of Fertility and Punishment," “Enclosed in Ivory”); the intercultural relations among Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Gothic period and the visual construction of gender and identity (“The Gothic Anamorphic Gaze,” “Iudeus sacer,” “The Parchment of the Sky”); the interface of private suffering, devotional painting, and national trauma in early modern Iberia (Tears from Flanders); the interconnections between medievalism and modernity in the context of the artistic and literary avant-garde of the 1930’s in New York, France, and Spain (“Silentium”).
He is actively involved in furthering academic discussion around these issues, organizing conferences such as “Illuminations: Theoretical Reflections on the Middle Ages and Modernity” (Princeton University, 2005), “Perpetual Contemporaneity: Reflections on Time, Crisis, and Survival in the History of Art” (Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, 2012), and “The Eternal Present: Insights into the Poetics of the Work of Art from Antiquity to Modernity” (City of Culture, Santiago de Compostela, 2013). He has received numerous international fellowships and awards (A. W. Mellon Fellowship, Charles Elliot Norton Fellowship, Aga Khan Fellowship, Real Colegio Complutense Fellowship, Barrié Foundation Fellowship, Harvard Distinction in Teaching Award).