AAMW521 - PROSEM IN CLASSICAL ART: Late Antique Image: Houses, Villas & Palaces in the Hellenistic Roman World

Topic varies.
Section 401 - SEM -
Roman visual culture was half a millennium old, with image traditions older still in its care around the Mediterranean world, in 313 when Constantine the Great inaugurated a Christian Empire and made a New Rome in his own name, Constantinopolis. That emperor and his subjects still cared passionately to maintain Roman imperial civilization, as they saw it, against barbarians without, chaos within, while beginning to make a visual language for the new public face of Christianity. Between ca. 200 and 700 CE Greco-Roman art culture was sometimes cherished, sometimes radically transformed or targeted for destruction, to create the Medieval, Byzantine and Islamic visual traditions. Increasingly, the very status and worth of the figural image was up for debate within monotheist Jewish, Christian, and emergent Islamic culture. Forms and and function often mutated as new modes for public, religious, funerary and domestic space came into being alongside traditional Roman ones, the character of power for elites and rulers took on new inflections, and new peoples pressed in on and past the old boundaries of Greco-Roman culture. // We look at esthetic experimentation and socio-political expression, and listen to the historians, prelates, poets, philosophers,nobles and novelists who argued Late Antique art into being. We watch the vitality of "classical" styles and polytheist beliefs, and the creative energy of "other" traditions - Sassanian, Egyptian, Arabic, Goth, etc. Seeking to range the l territory of the old Empire, this proseminar exposes students to a range of media and art contexts: the decoration of sacred, imperial, domestic and civic space with old and new commemorative art forms and histories. Media and genres range from sarcophagi and portraits, arches and coins, mosaics, frescoes, to luxury arts like silverware, textiles, ivory, and painted books. Phenomena of study include the curation and spoliation of the Roman past, the issues of `identity' vested in the image and in trans-cultural exchange, the intersection of image with applied texts and literary description, the persistent fusion of once-polytheist imagery with acts of Christian patronage -- and the enormous problems in defining "Late Antique" image styles. // Of especial interest to students in ArtH, AncH, AAMW, ClSt, RelSt, JewishSt, NELC, Anthro. Graduate students should be able to read one or more of French, German, Italian.
W 0400PM-0700PM