Interrogating the “Classical”: The Art of Ancient Greece and Rome for the 21st Century
Western art and culture owes an enduring debt to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Indeed artists and intellectuals of the 18th and 19th century, responding to the rediscovery of material culture and texts from the Classical past, laid the foundations of the discipline of Art History. For better or worse then, for two millennia core concepts of aesthetic meaning and evaluation, as well as vocabularies of style and design created in antiquity have been copied, reinterpreted, subverted, and continue to inspire to this very day. This class therefore aims to introduce and survey these core concepts while also taking a critical look at the ways in which we interpret the materiality and context(s) of Greek and Roman art. Each week we will examine key works of art and architecture from the ancient Mediterranean in order to highlight questions, themes and processes important to the study of the visual arts as a whole.