Classical Sculpture


Statues were the “other population” of Greek and Roman cities. Portraits of athletes, generals, kings, and emperors lined the streets and filled the markets. Why? What do statues do for the people setting them up, for the subjects represented, and for the people who view them? This seminar explores the place of statues in Greek and Roman society, and the relationship between context, style, and meaning. The course approaches the material thematically and contextually. Particular attention is paid to the changing physical, cultural, historical, and political contexts in which these statues were set up and in which they continued to stand for centuries.

This course will survey the development of Greek and Roman sculpture from its beginnings in 7th century Greece up to its "apogee" in the 2nd century AD Roman Empire. Students will develop familiarity with sculptural techniques and styles, as well as recent scholarly debates surrounding sculptures as active participants in ancient society. Students are expected to participate in readings, class discussion, museum visits, and lectures to explore major questions surrounding sculpture in the ancient world. Students will write two short papers and take online reading quizzes through the semester to assess their reading comprehension and critical thinking. The course will culminate in a major writing project focused on the sculpture collections in Roman villas in order to meet the Writing requirement.

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