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Rumble Fund Lecture in Classical Art 2022, presented by the Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Department of Classics in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art and The Institute of Classical Studies.

In this lecture, we revisit a selection of international pop-culture products from the 1950s and the 1960s (especially songs, movies and novels), in order to examine ways in which Greece and ‘Greekness’ were imagined and portrayed. Broadcasting images of an exoticized – and quite often Orientalized – Greece, the international pop-culture industry was able to create a convenient narrative of ‘merry backwardness’ for the country and its people. Greece is constructed in these products as a world apart – somewhat eccentric though regrettably underdeveloped; a place to visit yet certainly also a place to leave behind; a landscape of ancient glories and modern distractions from modernity itself; a land defined by its own separateness. Yet these imageries were often adopted with marked enthusiasm by the Greek composers, lyricists and film directors themselves, who ended up creating the thoroughly imagined Greece we still inhabit today.

This lecture is open to everyone – and all are warmly invited. It will be followed by a complimentary drinks reception, hosted by the Department of Classics at King’s College London.

Although attendance is complimentary, places are limited and registration is essential.

Dimitris Plantzos is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He studied history and archaeology at Athens, and holds an MPhil and a DPhil in classical archaeology from Oxford, where he also spent three years as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. He is the author of various papers and books on Greek art and archaeology, archaeological theory and classical reception. His Greek-language textbook on Greek Art and Archaeology, first published in 2011 by Kapon Editions, was published in 2016 in English and is now available by American publishers Lockwood Press in Atlanta, Georgia. His most recent book is The Art of Painting in Ancient Greece, published by Kapon Editions and Lockwood Press in 2018.

A recording of the 2022 Rumble Lecture is now available to watch online: