Anna L Seastrand

Photo of Anna L Seastrand

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Art History Department .
338 Heller Hall
271 19th Avenue S

My research has focused on early modern southeastern India, with a broad interest in the embodied experience of sacred space. My publications have been motivated by questions about the relationship between text, narrative and image; the nature of portraiture; the depiction and functions of landscape. My first book, Imagination and the Art of the Real: Early Modern Murals in Southeastern India , argues that temple mural paintings from southeastern India, 1500-1800, reflect and instantiate a turn to mimetic representation as a key feature of cultural expression in devotional narrative, landscape, and portraiture. My second book, tentatively titled Trees and the Ecologies of Art in South India, reconceives the importance of trees in South Asian art and religious practice in light of their changing social, economic, artistic, religious, and environmental ecologies.

I am a Visiting Scholar at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, where I am part of a multidisciplinary team focused on the “interwoven” sonic and visual histories of the Indian Ocean world. This project grows out of a multi-year collaboration with scholars, collectors, and institutions across South Asia interested in the digitization of sonic and visual archives. I am also part of a research team collaborating on publication of a set of interconnected temples in southeastern India.

My research has been supported by fellowships in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and the University of Chicago; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery (CASVA); the American Academy of Religion; and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • PhD: Art History, Columbia University, New York, 2013.

Curriculum Vitae


  • South Asian art
  • Review of Heidi R.M. Pauwels, Mobilizing Krishna’s World: the writings of Prince Sāvant Singh of Kishangarh: Seastrand, Anna, History of Religions, 60.1 76-80, 2020. Link
  • Motivated Reading: Text and Image in the Expanded Temple: Seastrand, Anna, South Asian Studies, 35:2 206-219, 2019. Link
  • "Text, Image, and Portrait in Early Modern South Indian Murals." Artibus Asiae 78, no. 1 (2018): 29-60.
  • ஓராண்வழிையத்ேதடி: ஆழ்வார்திருநகரிசுவெராவியங்களில்குருகுருபரம்பைரபிரபாவம் = Finding an Unbroken Lineage: The Splendor of Alvar Tirunakari's Guruparampara Wall Paintings. Maṇarkēṇi, September-December 2017 (40). ISSN 2249-9164
  • Wall Painting of South Asia and Allied Textile Traditions. Seastrand, Anna, Author. Link
  • “Tracing a Line: Guruparamparā in the Murals of Alvar Tirunakari.” Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Spring 2013.
  • Life and Death Matters: The Cosmic Man. Seastrand, Anna, Author. Link
  • Image and Text in Early Modern South Indian Murals. Seastrand, Anna, National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Author. Link