Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Fine and Decorative Art and Design

First Advisor

Agnes Berecz

Second Advisor

Morgan Falconer


Despite being one of the most extensively researched artists of the twentieth century, Andy Warhol’s identity as a Carpatho-Rusyn Byzantine Catholic is often omitted by a majority of sources. Inspired by the 2020-2021 exhibition Andy Warhol: Revelation, this thesis examines the aesthetic influence that the artist’s religious upbringing had on his oeuvre. By examining Eastern Christian icons and church interiors, I define key characteristics of the Byzantine aesthetic — gold grounds, stylized frontal figures, flattening of depth, seriality, excessive decoration, etc. — and identify its usage in Warhol’s Pop Art. I also explore the Carpatho-Ruysn folk art tradition of pysanky in relation to Warhol and his artistic process. Clarifying Warhol’s ambiguous past with biographical research calls for the re-examination of his art through the lens of his religio-cultural background. This thesis reveals how a previously overlooked aspect of the artist was tremendously influential on his artistic process and acclaimed works.