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Dr. Michael Brennan

Research Fellow

Research interests

I am an art-science historian with a particular interest in early medieval art. My research developed from a conviction that to fully understand any art and craft that is heavily based on a component structure – as are both classical and medieval art and architecture – it is necessary to analyse the theory of that structure in a systematic way. With a background in mathematics and education, I take an active interest in a growing international scholarship in the interaction between art and science, both in historical contexts and in more recent creative synergies. My specialism is in interlace ornamentation from earliest times to the present day and I am in the process of writing a book on the subject, scheduled to be published by Brepols in late 2017. I also have given hands-on workshops in the theory of medieval interlace. My work on the ornamental schemes of early medieval manuscripts is supported by the British Academy Neil Memorial Ker. I edit the three-weekly ‘Medart’ international calendar of events in medieval art and architecture that emits from TCD and is contactable at: medart.


  • M. N. Brennan, ‘Das Buch von Lindisfarne – a Facsimile with a Difference’, Peritia 26, (Brepols, 2016), pp. 201–4.
  • M. N. Brennan, ‘An Examination of the Modern Celtic Cross, Old Kilkenny Review 2001 (Kilkenny, 2001), pp. 36–52.
  • M. N. Brennan, ‘Symmetry: master or servant of Insular art?’ in C. Newman, M. Mannion, F. Gavin, (eds.) Islands in a Global Context. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Insular Art, held at NUI Galway, 16-20 July 2014, (Four Courts Press, forthcoming).
  • M. N. Brennan, ‘The Lindisfarne Gospels:  the art of symmetry and the symmetry of art’, in R. Gameson (ed.) The Lindisfarne Gospels: new perspectives (Brill, forthcoming).
  • M. N. Brennan, Interlace in medieval art, (Brepols, forthcoming).

Recent Conferences

  •  ‘Medieval art and the upper edge,’ Science + Art: 2nd Conference on Empirical Methods in Art History and Visual Studies, , University of Vienna, 25-26 August, 2016.
  • ‘ Asking in an age of answers’, 6th International Conference on the Science of Computus in the Middle Ages, National University of Galway, 8–10 July 2016
  • ‘Taking apart a page in the Book of Kells: the eight-circle cross’, Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections (AMARC) conference: The Book of Kells: rethinking and researching a great national treasure, Trinity College Dublin, September 2015.
  • ‘Disturbing Behaviour:  inside the mind of the pattern-breakers’, Patterning Pattern/Figuring the Decorative –an international collaboratory, University of York, 6 May 2015.

Contact Details

c/o TRIARC (Trinity Irish Art Research Centre)
Department of the History of Art and Architecture,,
Trinity College,
Dublin 2.
Telephone: +353 87 1273894