Achim Timmerman

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Achim Timmerman
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OccupationAssistant Professor; Director of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Achim Timmerman is the associate professor and lecturer, specialising in Medieval and early modern art and architecture. He is Director of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.[1]


Timmerman attended The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London between 1988 and 1991, studying for a B.A in History of Art. He completed his M.A in European Literary and Historical Studies (Medieval Studies) at King's College, University of London in 1992. Returning to Courtauld the same year, Timmerman began his PhD in History of Art and started working on his dissertation Staging the Eucharist: Late Gothic Sacrament Houses in Swabia and the Upper Rhine, with the assistance of his supervisor Paul Crossley (art historian)|Paul Crossley.[1]


Following the completion of his Ph.D in 1996, Timmerman became a research assistant at Courtauld Institute of Art until 1998 and a research scholar in Index of Christian Art at Princeton University between 1997 and 1999. He also acted as a visiting lecturer at Birkbeck,Birkbeck, University of London in 1996, at Morley College in 1997 and at Humboldt University of Berlin in 2001. He first became a lecturer in 2002 at University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for one year until moving to Berlin as a member of the faculty at European College of Liberal Arts until 2004.

Between 2004 and 2010, Timmerman was assistant professor for the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor then moving on to become Associate Professor. He became Assistant Professor for the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2006 and Associate Professor in 2010.[1]

Timmermann served on the Editorial Board of (a scholarly network that distributes news and commissions reviews on Art History topics) in the role of Reviews Editor in 2001-2004.[2]

Sacrament Houses

Timmermann developed his arguments on the architectural significance of sacrament houses (sometimes called sacrament towers) from his PhD dissertation . Architect and historian Steven J. Schloeder noted Timmermann's intervention that the politics of the medieval church may be seen in the design of sacrament houses. In his review of Timmermann's work, he summarises his arguments that "Antisemitism|anti-Semitism, the Utraquism|Hussite Utraquist controversy (that the Eucharist must be administered under both species), and the later Protestantism|Protestant challenges shaped the display of the Sacrament into grand statements of orthodoxy and ecclesiastical unity".[3]


Timmermann's book, Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ, c. 1270–1600 (2009) discusses microarchitecture, introducing his intervention "pointing out the close stylistic relation between micro- and macroarchitecture in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that distinguished the Gothic phenomenon from previous uses". Timmerman suggests that "architectural elements" used in microarchitecture, such small details on sacrament houses or reliquaries, "signify the church, simultaneously its built manifestation and its living institutional body, Ecclesia".[4]

Timmermann was subsequently invited to write the “Microarchitecture” entry for the Grove Art Online|Grove Dictionary of Medieval Art, edited by Colum Hourihane (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); and Oxford Art Online.[5]

Timmermann drew further attention to the importance of microarchitecture such as shrines in Memory and Redemption (2017). Reviewing the work for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Megan Cassidy-Welch noted the "beautifully produced book that deals with a neglected but important aspect of the medieval built environment."[6]



  • Memory and Redemption: Public Monuments and the Making of Late Medieval Landscape (Architectura Medii Aevi, 8) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017)[7]
  • Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ, c. 1270-1600 (Architectura Medii Aevi, 4) ( Turnhout: Brepols, 2009) [1]

Edited collections

  • Edward B Garrison; Giovanni Freni; Achim Timmerman., Italian romanesque panel painting : an illustrated index (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1988)[8]
  • Opacic, Zoe and Timmermann, A., eds. (2011) Architecture, Liturgy and Identity. Liber amicorum Paul Crossley. Studies in Gothic Art 1. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.[9]
  • Opacic, Zoe and Timmerman, A., Image, Memory and Devotion Liber Amicorum Paul Crossley: 2 (Studies in Gothic Art) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011)[1]

Encyclopedia entries

  • "Microarchitecture", the Grove Art Online|Grove Dictionary of Medieval Art, edited by Colum Hourihane (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • 20 entries including "Structuralism", "Art History and its Methods" and "New Art History" for The Oxford Companion to Western Art, ed. by Hugh Brigstocke (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); and Oxford Art Online.


His photographs feature in The Authority of the Word: Reflecting on Image and Text in Northern Europe by Celeste Brusati.[10]


Timmerman gave the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Annual Lecture at Rice University in December 2019.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Achim Timmermann | U-M LSA History of Art". Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  2. "Editorial Board - Network for Art History / Editors". Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  3. Schloeder, Steven J. "The Institute for Sacred Architecture | Book Reviews". Retrieved 2020-10-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Guérin, Sarah M. (2013-03-01). "Meaningful Spectacles: Gothic Ivories Staging the Divine". The Art Bulletin. 95 (1): 53–77. doi:10.1080/00043079.2013.10786106. ISSN 0004-3079.
  5. "Micro-architecture". Grove Art Online. doi:10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7002216986. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  6. Cassidy-Welch, Megan (2018-12-01). "Review: Memory and Redemption: Public Monuments and the Making of Late Medieval Landscape, by Achim Timmermann". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 77 (4): 473–474. doi:10.1525/jsah.2018.77.4.473. ISSN 0037-9808.
  7. "Memory and Redemption". Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  8. Garrison, Edward B; Freni, Giovanni; Timmerman, Achim (1988), Italian romanesque panel painting: an illustrated index (in Undetermined), Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, OCLC 738627430, retrieved 2020-09-26{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  9. Avcioglu, Nebahat (2017-07-05). "Architecture, Art and Identity in Venice and its Territories, 1450?750 ": Essays in Honour of Deborah Howard. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-57595-9.
  10. Brusati, Celeste. (2012). The authority of the word : reflecting on image and text in Northern Europe, 1400-1700. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-21515-3. OCLC 997419379.
  11. "Katherine Tsanoff Brown Lecture: Achim Timmermann, University of Michigan | Rice Arts". Retrieved 2020-09-26.

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