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Level 7

7AACM845 The Art of Making: Craft Production from Classical Antiquity to Today

Credit value: 40
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Will Wootton
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour classes taught with 6AACAR45 students; 10 x 2-hour seminars every two weeks for MA students only
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x 5,000 word essays (50% each)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Places on this module are capped at 10 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Classical Art and Archaeology or MA The Classical World and its Reception (KCL only) 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 module is an in-depth study of art production in the Classical world, providing a history of making from Graeco-Roman techniques to their reception in the Renaissance and use until the present day. You will engage with the materials, tools and processes involved in the production of sculpture, pottery, painting, glass, textiles and jewellery among other artforms. We will study the complex sequence of actions involved in their production, following the artist as maker as well as investigating the client behind these commissions. 

This module engages with art objects as the primary evidence for their production and will include visits to museums and discussions with contemporary artists. This will expose the complete making process from the acquisition of the raw materials to the completion of the particular artistic assignment. In addition we will investigate the ancient literature and modern scholarship in order to assess the role of technology in the invention of art and its innovation, as well as the dissemination of new techniques. The place of art within the ancient economy will also be examined. This is an exciting and dynamic subject which harnesses a range of different approaches to expose the materiality behind art and engage with the individuals responsible for its coming into being.

Suggested introductory reading

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

  • Burford, A. Craftsmen in Greek and Roman Society (London, 1972).

  • Cuomo, S. Technology and Culture in Greek and Roman Antiquity (Cambridge, 2007).

  • Lapatin, K. ‘The Materials and Techniques of Greek and Roman Art’, in C. Marconi (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture (Oxford, 2015), 203-40.

  • Ling R. (ed.), Making Classical Art: Process & Practice (Stroud, 2000).

  • Oleson, J.P. (ed.), Oxford handbook of engineering and technology in the Classical World (Oxford, 2008).

  • Russell, B. The Economics of the Roman Stone Trade (Oxford, 2013).

  • Stewart, P. The Social History of Roman Art (Cambridge, 2008).

  • Strong, D. & D. Brown, Roman Crafts (London, 1976).

  • Website: The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stoneworking in the Roman World

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