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Level 7

7AACM841 Archaic and Classical Painting

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Eleni Zimi 
Assessment: 1 x 5,000 word essay (100%)
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year

Places on this module are capped at 16 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Classical Art and Archaeology degree programme. Any remaining places up the maximum size of the class will then be distributed proportionally between Colleges.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This 20-credit module provides an in-depth study of painting from around the Mediterranean basin during the Archaic and Classical periods. The focus is on painting on walls and panels, but will inevitably involve some study of painted pottery and other types of evidence, including literature, which help us to reconstruct the major lost works.

The seminars will track the shifts in technique during this early period of development, identifying and examining the revolutions that take place through analysis of the archaeological evidence as well as the accounts of Pliny and Pausanias. This course will also deal with painting in context, examining in detail the surviving tomb interiors from the Etruscan, Greek and Lycian worlds. In addition we will consider the social aspects of painting, whether the intended meanings of the iconography, its role in Classical education or its reception as part of the new discipline of art history. 

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of books is not mandatory.

  • Bruno, V.J., Form and colour in Greek painting (New York, 1977).

  • Ling, R. and Ling, L. ‘Wall and panel painting’, in R. Ling (ed), Making Classical Art: Process and Practice (Stroud, 2000), 47-61.

  • Mellink, M. Kizilbel: An Archaic Painted Tomb Chamber in Northern Lycia (Philadelphia, 1998).

  • Pollitt, J.J., The Ancient View of Greek Art: Criticism, History and Terminology (New Haven, 1974).

  • Robertson, M. Greek Painting (Geneva, 1959).

  • Robertson, M.  A History of Greek Art (Cambridge, 1975).

  • Rumpf, A. 'Classical and Post-Classical Greek Painting', Journal of Hellenic Studies 67 (1947), 10-21.

  • Schaus, P.G. 'The Beginning of Greek Polychrome Painting', Journal of Hellenic Studies 108 (1988), 107-17.

  • Smith, R.R.R. ‘The use of images: visual history and ancient history’, in T.P. Wiseman (ed.), Classics in Progress: Essays on Ancient Greece and Rome (Oxford, 2002), 59-102.

  • Steingräber, S. Etruscan Painting: Catalogue Raisonné of Etruscan Wall Paintings (New York, 1986).

  • Tiverios, M.-A., and Tsiaphake, D.S. (eds.) Color in Ancient Greece: The Role of Color in Ancient Greek Art and Architecture, 700-31 BC (Thessalonike, 2002).

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