Pagina di Bühren

Ralf van Bühren

Facoltà di Comunicazione Sociale Istituzionale
Architectural History and Art History

Note Biografiche

Professore Straordinario


Dr. Ralf van Bühren

Pontificia Università della Santa Croce

Piazza di Sant'Apollinare, 49

I–00186 Roma



Teaching Architectural History and Art History in contexts of:

  • Reception of the Bible in the Visual Arts (Biblical Iconography)
  • Liturgical Art. History from Antiquity to the Present
  • History of the Ecumenical Councils. Impact on Sacred Architecture and the Visual Arts
  • Artworks as a Visual Expression of Theological Ideas
  • Florence, Venice, Naples and Rome. Identity and Urban Cultures


Religious Studies

  • Christian Art and Architecture in Rome. From Antiquity to the Present (Lectures in English, from February to May 2025, open only to students of other universities)


School of Communication

  • Visual Rhetoric. Christian Art as «locus theologicus»
  • Semiotics of the Visual Arts as Communication Media
  • Methods of Guided Tours in Cities, Museums, and Churches
  • Pastoral Attention to Religious Tourism: Visual and Verbal Communications
  • The Relevance of Art History to Cultural Journalism
  • Cultural Heritage of the Church: Conservation, Promotion, Management, Legislation, Formation, Training of Experts


School of Theology

  • History of Liturgical Art and Architecture. From Antiquity to the Present (Institute of Liturgy)
  • Christian Art and Sacred Architecture. Modern and Contemporary History (1420–2024) (Department of Church History)
  • History and Communication of the Iconography of Art


Representative Publications

Arte e Chiesa nei secoli XX e XXI. Il significato permanente del Concilio Vaticano II, Brescia: Morcelliana, 2025 [in preparation]

The invisible divine in the history of art. Is Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) still relevant for decoding Christian iconography?, together with Maciej Jan Jasinski, in: Church, Communication and Culture 9 (2024), pp. 1-36.

Spätantike Bilder Christi vom 4. bis 6. Jahrhundert. Ist eine künstlerische Rezeption des Konzils von Nizäa (325) erkennbar?, in: Annales Historiae Conciliorum 54 (2024) [in press]

Revelation in the Visual Arts, in: The Oxford Handbook of Divine Revelation, ed. by Balázs M. Mezei, Francesca Aran Murphy and Kenneth Oakes, New York / Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 622-640

Caravaggio’s ‘Seven Works of Mercy’ in Naples. The relevance of art history to cultural journalism, in: Church, Communication and Culture 2 (2017), pp. 63-87.

Architettura e arte al Concilio Vaticano II, in: Nobile semplicità. Liturgia, arte e architettura del Vaticano II, ed. by Goffredo Boselli, Magnano: Qiqajon, 2014, pp. 141-178

Kirchenbau in Renaissance und Barock. Liturgiereformen und ihre Folgen für Raumordnung, liturgische Disposition und Bildausstattung nach dem Trienter Konzil, in: Operation am lebenden Objekt. Roms Liturgiereformen von Trient bis zum Vaticanum II, ed. by Stefan Heid, Berlin: be.bra wissenschaft, 2014, pp. 93-119

Kunst und Kirche im 20. Jahrhundert. Die Rezeption des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (Konziliengeschichte, Series B: Untersuchungen, ed. by Walter Brandmüller), Paderborn: Schöningh, 2008 


Research Areas

  • Visual Studies and Art History
  • Religious Tourism. New Media Communications and the Implications of Mixed Interests
  • Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and the Arts. Documents, History and Reception
  • Church Architecture in the Renaissance and Baroque. The Impact of Liturgical Reforms during the Council of Trent
  • Liturgical Art. History, Mystagogical Understanding, and Liturgical Formation
  • History of Roman Art and Architecture
  • Pastoral Attention to the Cultural Heritage of the Church (Liturgical Mystagogy, Guided Tours, Popular Piety, Catechesis, Sermon, Religious Education, Social Media)
  • Popes and Artists in the 20th and 21st Centuries. From Pius X to Francis
  • History of the Catholic Church’s Magisterium on Art and Artists (Ecumenical Councils, Apostolic See, Synod of Bishops, Bishops’ Conferences)


Academic Degrees

2006 Dr. theol. in History of the Church at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, Rome (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Roma)

2003 Licentiate in History of the Church at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, Rome (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Roma)

1994 Dr. phil. in Art History at the University of Cologne, Germany (Universität zu Köln)

1991 Magister Artium in Art History at the University of Munich, Germany (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)


FULL LIST of publications and lectures

Websites and Social Links






Mostra intero curriculum