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CL AR 541 A: Seminar in Greek and Roman Art

Meeting Time: 
M 2:30pm - 5:20pm
* *
Joint Sections: 
ART H 541 A
Kathryn Topper Headshot
Kathryn Topper

Syllabus Description:

All readings are available as PDFs in the "Files" section of the site (except those with hyperlinks). Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are eligible for presentation. See the Google Doc for presentation sign-ups.


March 25: Introduction and Overview


April 1: Bronze, Stone, and Material Hierarchies

(*) Kenneth Lapatin. 2003. “The Fate of Plate and Other Precious Materials: Towards a Historiography of Ancient Greek Minor (?) Arts,” in Ancient Art and Its Historiography, eds. A. A. Donohue and Mark D. Fullerton. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 69–91

Carol Mattusch. 2011. “The Privilege of Bronze: Modern Perception of Classical Materials,” in Revival and Invention: Sculpture Through Its Material Histories, eds. Sébastien Clerbois and Martina Droth. Oxford: Peter Lang. 17–30

(*) Mark Bradley. 2009. “The Importance of Colour on Ancient Marble Sculpture,” Art History 32.3: 427–457

Clarissa Blume-Jung. 2017. “The Treasure of Polychromy: Polychrome Decoration of Ancient Sculptures as a New Source of Information on Ancient Culture,” in The Diversity of Classical Archaeology, eds. Achim Lichtenberger and Rubina Raja. Turnhout: Brepols. 323–340

Roko Rumora. 2023. “Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color,” Burlington (vol. 165, no. 1440)


April 8: Blue, White, and Black

(*) Jennifer M. S. Stager. 2016. “The Materiality of Color in Ancient Mediterranean Art,” in Essays in Global Color History: Interpreting the Ancient Spectrum, ed. Rachael B. Goldman. Piscataway: Gorgias Press. 97–119 MADDIE

(*) Sarah F. Derbew. 2022. Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. xiii–xv ("Note on Nomenclature"), 29–65 (Ch. 2: "Masks of Blackness: Reading the Iconography of Black People in Ancient Greece"). 

(*) Fabio Barry. 2011. “A Whiter Shade of Pale: Relative and Absolute White in Roman Sculpture and Architecture,” in Revival and Invention: Sculpture Through Its Material Histories, eds. Sébastien Clerbois and Martina Droth. Oxford: Peter Lang. 31–48

Jennifer Stager. “The Unbearable Whiteness of Whiteness,” Art Practical (1/16/2018)

Optional/Recommended: Alexander Nagel. 2023. Color and Meaning in the Art of Achaemenid Persia. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 173–199 (Ch. 5: “Discussion: Aspects of Nonverbal Communication in the Achaemenid Persian Empire”)
          - These sites may be useful companions as you read about Persepolis: Persepolis Reimagined,
            Persepolis 3D


April 15: Amber, Glass, Chryselephantine, and Marble

(*) Hariclia Brecoulaki et al. 2014. “A Microcosm of Colour and Shine: The Polychromy of Chryselephantine Couches from Ancient Macedonia,” Technè 40: 9–22

(*) Richard Neer. 2018. “Amber, Oil, and Fire: Greek Sculpture beyond Bodies,” Art History 41.3: 466–491 JIANI

(*) Fabio Barry. 2007. “Walking on Water: Cosmic Floors in Antiquity and the Middle Ages,” Art Bulletin 89.4: 627–656 

(*) Nicola Barham. 2021. “‘Everything Impossible’: Admiring Glass in Ancient Rome,” in New Approaches to Ancient Material Culture in the Greek and Roman World: 21st-Century Methods and Classical Antiquity, ed. Catherine Cooper. Leiden: Brill. 136–158 CAT


April 22: Gold, Vermilion, and Writers on Ancient Art

(*) Cecilie Brøns. 2022. “All that Glitters is Gold: Golden Textiles in the Ancient Mediterranean,” in Textiles in Ancient Mediterranean Iconography, eds. Susanna Harris, Cecilie Brøns, and Marta Żuchowska. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 121–138 STEPHANIE

(*) Anna Anguissola. 2022. “Ethical Matters: Pliny the Elder on Material Deception,” in Materiality in Roman Art and Architecture: Aesthetics, Semantics, and Function, eds. Annette Haug, Adrian Hielscher, and M. Taylor Lauritsen. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. 39–50 A.M.

(*) Marden Nichols. 2016. “Vitruvius on Vermilion: Faberius’s Domestic Décor and the Invective Tradition,” Arethusa 49: 317–333 CADEN


April 29: Human Labor and the Movement of Stones

(*) Mark Letteney (11/1/2021), Twitter/X thread on giallo antico and incarcerated labor (PDF)
         - to be  presented with Larsen 2019

(*) Matthew D. C. Larsen. 2019. “Carceral Practices and Geographies in Roman North Africa,” Studies in Late Antiquity 3.4: 547–580 (focus on 557–563, 565–570 [top]; if you’re presenting, read the whole article)
         - to be presented with Letteney 2021 (Twitter/X thread)

(*) Hazel Dodge. 2016. “From Quarry to Metropolis: The Journey of an Egyptian Granite Column from Mons Claudianus in Egypt to the Pantheon in Rome,” Hermathena 200/201: 187–217 GUY

(*) Patrizio Pensabene. 2016. “Egyptian Stones from the Eastern Desert and Aswan: The Role of Alexandria in their Trade,” Marmora 12: 11–64 BECK


May 6: More Human Labor: Potters, Painters, and Purpurarii

(*) Brigitte Bourgeois. 2014. “Thérapéia: Taking Care of Colour in Hellenistic Greece,” in Transformations: Classical Sculpture in Colour, eds. Jan Stubbe Østergaard and Anne Marie Nielsen. Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. 190–207 ANNA

(*) Sanchita Balachandran. 2019. “Bringing Back the (Ancient) Bodies: The Potters’ Sensory Experiences and the Firing of Red, Black and Purple Greek Vases,” Arts 8.70: 1–24 PARKER

(*) Clarissa Blume-Jung. 2021. “The Polychromy of Palmyrene Portraits: Workmen and Colouration,” in Production Economy in Greater Roman Syria: Trade Networks and Production Processes, eds. Rubina Raja and Julia Steding. Turnhout: Brepols. 33–48

(*) Natalie M. Susmann. 2020. “Tyrian, True, Royal, or Real: Archaeological Assumptions about the Roman Murex Dye Industry,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 8.3: 159–173 DAI
         - to be presented with Lowe 2017

(*) Benedict J. Lowe. 2017. “Purpurarii in the Western Mediterranean,” in Treasures from the Sea: Purple Dye and Sea Silk, eds. Hedvig Landenius Enegren and Francesco Meo. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 154–158 DAI
         - to be presented with Susmann 2020


May 13: Research Presentations

1) Guy

2) Dai

3) A. M. 

4) Caden





May 20: Research Presentations

1 Cat

2) Anna

3) Parker

4) Stephanie

5) Maddie

6) Beck


May 27: No class—Memorial Day


Catalog Description: 
In-depth study of selected topics and problems of the art of ancient Greece and Rome. Offered: jointly with ART H 541.
Last updated: 
January 18, 2024 - 1:54am