The Visual Cultures of Classical Greece

Winter Semester, Core module, 10 ECTS

Instructor: Dimitris Plantzos

Outline

This course offers a comprehensive account of ancient Greek art, from c. 1200 to c. 30 BC, with an emphasis on its content, interpretation, and cultural significance. Several key themes will be pursued throughout the course: human figure and its representation; Greek art in its religious and political settings; materials and techniques; pictorial themes; and so on. Besides the better-known monumental arts of ancient Greece (chiefly: architecture; sculpture; painting), and the ever-popular vase painting, the course will also cover some relatively neglected aspects of Greek art such as decorative or luxury arts and coinage. After a short introduction on the arts of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1600-1100 BC), the course will cover the art and archaeology of the Early Iron Age (c. 1100-700 BC), and that of the Archaic (c. 700-480 BC), Classical (. 480-336 BC) and Hellenistic periods (c. 336-30 BC).

 Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be familiar with

  • the main principles of Greek art
  • the main methodologies employed in its study
  • the main examples of Greek visual arts
  • the contribution of Greek visual culture to our understanding of ancient Greece 

They should also be able to

  • assess different types and examples of ancient Greek material culture
  • discuss some main themes in the study of classical Greek art
  • critically assess some of the scholarly debates regarding classical Greek art and its development
  • comprehend the ways in which archaeology affects our understanding of past cultures
  • express their own scholarly views on the art and culture of ancient Greece

Assessment

Essay (3,500-5,000 words). A list of indicative topics is provided, but students are strongly encouraged to discuss and personalize the essay topic with the course instructor.

Bibliography

Neer, R.T. 2011. Greek Art and Archaeology. A New History, c. 2500-c. 150 BCE. London and New York: Thames and Hudson.

Plantzos, D. 2016. Greek Art and Archaeology, c. 1200-30 BC. Atlanta, GA: Lockwood Press.

Pomeroy, S., S.M. Burstein, W. Donlan, J.T. Roberts, D. Tandy, 1999. Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith T.J. and D. Plantzos (eds) 2012. A Companion to Greek Art. Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.