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Art and Architecture in Ancient Greece
This lecture series surveys the impressive achievements in painting, sculpture, and architecture in the
Greek speaking world of the Eastern Mediterranean, from the Bronze Age to the Roman conquest and
beyond. Topics discussed include Minoan palace society, the Trojan War, early city-states, the Athenian
democracy, Sparta and austerity, and the flowering of Hellenism under Alexander and his successors.
What Is Greek Art?
The Venus de Milo, the Laocoon and the Nike of Samothrace are three of the world’s most famous
examples of ancient Greek sculpture. What is the allure of ancient Greek art? What are its uses, past and
Maltese and Cycladic Precedents in Minoan Art
The Neolithic Revolution spread pottery, farming and animal husbandry across Europe: Malta and the
Aegean Islands provide fascinating case studies of social and cultural development in the wake of the
settled farming societies.
Art of the Dark Ages
The collapse of the redistributive palace economy at the end of the Bronze Age would later be
remembered in song, story and myth as the beginning of a “dark ages”. While the regional nature of
cultural and political development c. 1200 – 650 BCE is undeniable, the introduction of coinage, a
Phoenician-derived alphabet, and various Eastern artistic motifs would transform Greek society.
Classical Athens:
Athens in the 5th century BCE achieved a remarkable level of cultural development, political ambition
and military ability. What made Athenian society so special? How have its artistic treasures been used as
political and social weapons by the elites of “western” society?
Ceramics and Mythology:
Stories and legends from Greek myth and history are commemorated in a diverse array of ceramic
types, many exported beyond the Greek-speaking world into Egypt, Italy and North Africa. Religious
stories painted on trade ceramics point to the fluid nature of spirituality in the time.
Transnational Hellenisms:
Developments in cosmopolitan Hellenistic visual art across the Mediterranean, including the famous
veiled statue from Alexandria, Greco-Buddhist syncretism in Gandharan Afghanistan, the Pergamon
Altar, and the latest Macedonian tomb discoveries from archaeology.
Ancient Greek Art in the News:
Royal Tombs of Macedon at Amphipolis
Kerameikos Kouros by the Master of the Dipylon Gate
Kouroi of Despotika
Antikythera Underwater Archaeology