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Classics Greek Art
by
Ioannis Mylonopoulos

Introduction

Greek art is all about images: images of gods, images of heroes, and images of humans. The self-awareness of the Greeks is reflected in the ways they decided to visualize themselves and the world, both real and imaginary, surrounding them. For a long period of time, the study of Greek art followed the interpretive path of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who understood Greek artistic expression in an almost biological way: just like a living organism, Greek art had its early formative period, a time of vigor, and a final moment of decay. Strongly influenced by the Renaissance concept of artistic genius, generations of scholars devoted themselves to the recognition and analysis of the styles of artists known mainly through literary sources, following the methods founded by Adolf Furtwängler and John D. Beazley. Nowadays, although stylistic analysis remains a conditio sine qua non for the understanding of Greek art, scholars have moved toward a more contextual appreciation of art as a historical and cultural phenomenon firmly rooted in its own social, political, and intellectual frame. Statues, reliefs, and vases are no longer considered mere objects of art, an aesthetic delight in a museum showcase, but evidence for the ways a culture visualized and artistically reinvented abstract philosophical ideas, political concepts, religious beliefs, or social constructs. One should always take into consideration, however, that there is nothing like the all-encompassing Greek art, but rather many different artistic expressions in the many separate political and geographical entities of the Greek Mediterranean world.

General Overviews

There are a great many introductions to Greek art that present a vast amount of material in a comprehensive way. However, one should keep in mind that oversimplification is an inherent feature of every introductory book. In most cases, scholars and students are dealing either with very general introductions to Greek art that tend to begin with the Geometric period—or in rare cases with the arts of the Bronze Age (e.g., Pedley 2007)—or with introductions to the art of specific periods (Betancourt 2007, Burn 2004, Coldstream 2003). Strangely enough, the practical aspects of artistic production are rarely discussed (but see Ling 2000). The still unwritten introduction to the economics of Greek art would be an invaluable addition to our knowledge and appreciation of artistic expression in the Greek world. For practical reasons, the majority of introductory studies concentrate on Athenian art, and there are almost no general introductions with a strong comparative approach, although Coldstream 2003 does this for the Geometric period.

  • Betancourt, Philip P. 2007. Introduction to Aegean art. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.

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    A chronological and geographical survey of art and architecture of the Minoan, Mycenaean, and Cycladic cultures, intended for students and the general public, so that complex and problematic issues such as the scholarly dispute on the high or low chronology are only superficially mentioned. The approach is strictly “art historical,” with no attempt to embed Bronze Age art into anthropologically reconstructed social systems. The book complements rather than replaces Sinclair Hood’s The arts in prehistoric Greece (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978), which is structured according to categories of artistic expression and not chronologically or geographically.

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  • Burn, Lucilla. 2004. Hellenistic art: From Alexander the Great to Augustus. London: British Museum Press.

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    A concise, up-to-date introduction to the art of the Hellenistic Age. The book does not follow the usual pattern of a thematic structure based on strict categories of artistic expression; instead, art is presented within specific topographical contexts such as city, sanctuary, house, or tomb. The important issues of workshops, art collections, and the interaction between artist and clientele are addressed in a separate chapter. An excellent supplement to the more thematically arranged Pollitt 1986.

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  • Coldstream, John N. 2003. Geometric Greece: 900–700 BC. 2d ed. London: Routledge.

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    The main part is unchanged from the 1st edition (London: Benn, 1977), with additions only at the end. The approach is clearly art historical, not anthropological. The structure of the book is geographical (Macedonia is the big absentee). In every chapter, pottery, architecture, and minor arts, as well as burial customs of a specific region, are briefly discussed. More general chapters are dedicated to settlements, sanctuaries, visual and literary traditions, and possible Eastern influences.

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  • Furtwängler, Adolf. 1964. Masterpieces of Greek sculpture: a series of essays on the history of art. Edited by Al N. Oikonomides. Chicago: Argonaut Publishers.

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    Available online in both English and German (Meisterwerke der griechischen Plastik. Kunstgeschichtliche Untersuchungen. Leipzig: Giesecke & Devrient, 1893).

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  • Langdon, Susan. 2008. Art and identity in Dark Age Greece, 1100–700 B.C.E. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    A long overdue analysis of the Geometric figurative art as a reflection of and, more importantly, as a powerful means for constructing age, gender, and social identity via images. It offers the best contextual iconological appreciation of Geometric art. This is definitely not an introduction to Geometric art and culture in the sense Coldstream 2003 is, but these two studies combined are the best way to enter the world of Geometric art.

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  • Ling, Roger, ed. 2000. Making Classical art: Process and practice. Stroud, UK: Tempus.

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    The first part is dedicated to the production processes of Greek and Roman art. Practical aspects associated with working practices, techniques, materials, and tools are discussed in brief papers on stone and bronze sculpture, wall painting, mosaics, and Greek painted pottery. The second part is an introduction to various categories of artistic expression, such as colossal statues, the Parthenon, Greek funerary monuments, and Macedonian tomb painting.

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  • Pedley, John Griffiths. 2007. Greek art and archaeology. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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    Indispensable for anyone teaching a survey course on Greek art and architecture. The structure is strictly based on chronology, so that sometimes an almost evolutionist pattern arises. Refreshingly, the artistic production of Bronze Age Greece is also explored, so that the reader is presented with a more holistic approach to the term “Greek.” Illustrations are numerous and of excellent quality.

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  • Pollitt, Jerome J. 1972. Art and experience in Classical Greece. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Perhaps the most influential general book on Greek art of the Classical period. The fascinating transitions from Archaic to Classical and from Classical to Hellenistic art are also insightfully discussed. Based on formal and stylistic analyses of the monuments explored, the book embeds art in a broader cultural context. Classical literature is often referred to as a means for understanding art. The study attempts, however, to understand the reasons why rather than the ways in which art and literature are interrelated.

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  • Pollitt, Jerome J. 1986. Art in the Hellenistic Age. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    An invaluable, helpful survey of material that is extremely complicated in terms of both chronology and stylistic analysis. The book deals mainly with sculpture, architecture, painting, and mosaics. In a geographically defined chapter, the art of Alexandria is briefly discussed. The anachronistic use of the terms baroque and rococo as descriptive characterizations of specific parts of the Hellenistic sculptural tradition appears problematic but does not lessen the high quality of the text.

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  • Stewart, Andrew. 2008. Classical Greece and the birth of Western art. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Conceived as a successor to Pollitt 1972, this is the most recent and perhaps one of the best introductions to Classical Greek art readily available. Although roughly chronologically structured, the book does not offer a decontextualized analysis of the various artistic expressions. On the contrary, the art of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE is firmly placed in social, political, and cultural context. Art is conceptualized and presented not as a series of “important” museum objects but as an integral part of the ancient Greek Lebenswelt.

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Reference Works

Although encyclopedic works cannot replace in-depth studies of specific aspects of Greek artistic expression, they do represent an enormous resource thanks to their collection and presentation of material otherwise not easily accessible. Their analyses of the evidence should not be understood as the definite statements on any given subject, but rather as useful starting points of reference for further thinking. The online, unannotated bibliography of the German Archaeological Institute (Archäologische Bibliographie) published by Biering and Brinkmann on Projekt Dyabola is probably the most useful tool for students and scholars alike.

  • Bianchi Bandinelli, Ranuccio, and Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli, eds. 1958–1966. Enciclopedia dell’arte antica classica e orientale. 7 vols. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.

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    Reprinted, 1994. A milestone in the understanding of the art and archaeology of ancient cultures around the Mediterranean and beyond, although a concentration on the Classical world is obvious. The scope is much broader than LIMC’s or ThesCRA’s, but the entries are less detailed. Archaeological sites, geographical entities, cultural phenomena, general art historical subjects, artistic genres, and individual artistic personalities are discussed in alphabetical order.

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  • Boardman, John, ed. 1981–1997. Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae. 8 vols. Zurich: Artemis.

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    This visual encyclopedia (conventionally abbreviated LIMC) is an invaluable tool for art historians and classical archaeologists interested in the iconography and iconology of individual divine and heroic figures as well as mythological narratives from Greek, Roman, and Etruscan Antiquity. The eight double volumes (one volume of each pair contains text, one images) are structured alphabetically, with occasional omissions that are found in appendices in later volumes. Text is in English, French, German, and Italian.

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  • J. Paul Getty Museum. 2004–2006. Thesaurus cultus et rituum antiquorum. 5 vols. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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    This international project (conventionally abbreviated ThesCRA) started as the successor of LIMC, aiming at encyclopedic presentation of the visual and textual evidence for Greek and Roman cults and rituals. The first three volumes are dedicated to various ritual forms, the fourth discusses places of cult and representations of cult places, and the fifth presents the visual and textual evidence for cult personnel and cult instruments. The planned next level of ThesCRA will feature a more synthetic and less encyclopedic approach.

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  • Project Perseus

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    In addition to a huge collection of ancient Greek and Latin texts in the original and in translation, the Perseus Collection of Greek and Roman Materials offers access to online versions of publications such as John H. Oakley’s The Achilles Painter (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1997), Alan H. Shapiro’s Greek vases from southern collections: Art, myth, and culture (New Orleans: Museum of Art, 1981), and Andrew Stewart’s One hundred Greek sculptors: Their careers and extant works (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). The commented Art and Archaeology Artifact Browser is a very helpful tool, but the number of objects is still relatively small. Access is free, but occasionally hardware problems make use difficult.

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    • Projekt Dyabola–Archäologische Bibliographie

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      The most important and complete bibliographical database for ancient art history and Classical archaeology. The search tools permit looking for individual titles or scholars, specific topics, general subjects, and chronological or geographical entities. One can also combine different search results in order to extract even more concrete bibliographical references. Especially for scholars and graduate students, this an obligatory tool, even though bibliographical references to recent scholarly publications are becoming disturbingly thin. The only disadvantage is its high subscription cost, which prevent many institutions from purchasing it.

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      • Prometheus Bildarchiv

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        Thanks to the number of objects, the variety of its chronological and geographical spectrum, and the ease of use, the Prometheus Bildarchiv is one of the best online image databases for art history, especially superb in respect to sculpture. Access is not free, but an individual license costs only €20 per annum. High-quality images can be easily downloaded and are to be used exclusively for individual research and teaching (publication of the images is strictly prohibited).

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        Journals

        Articles on the iconography and iconology of Greek art, as well as presentations of previously unpublished material and reports on current archaeological fieldwork, appear regularly in the scholarly periodicals cited here. The most common abbreviation systems (for American publications in particular), can be found on the American Journal of Archaeology website. The subject range of all periodicals dealing with ancient art reflects the close interconnection between archaeology and art history.

        Sculpture in the Round

        Most introductions to Greek sculpture concentrate on stone objects. Students should not forget, however, that many Greek sculptors worked mainly or even exclusively in bronze (Mattusch 1996), while Pheidias was famous for his chryselephantine (gold-and-ivory) works (Lapatin 2001). Methodologically, the main problem in dealing with Greek sculpture is the fact that we are trying to reconstruct an artistic genre based on Roman copies of Greek originals, and the majority of introductions completely fail to address this issue or refer to it only in passing. While enough material survives from the Archaic and Hellenistic periods, our knowledge of Classical and Late Classical Greek sculpture is almost exclusively based on Roman copies. Stylistic analysis and the so-called Meisterforschung have dominated the field of Greek sculpture (Fuchs and Hirmer 1993; Palagia and Pollitt 1996). However, a shift toward a more contextual appreciation of Greek sculpture (Stemmer 1995) is currently taking place: stylistic analysis is recognized as a valuable method, but no longer the main interest of art historical scholarship. The best introductory works combine connoisseurship with a profound knowledge of the historical and intellectual background (Stewart 1990). A well-known fact, which most studies of sculpture in the round, reliefs, or architectural sculpture still fail to fully incorporate in the appreciation of form or style is that ancient sculpture and architecture were vividly colored (Brinkmann and Wünsche 2007).

        • Brinkmann, Vincenz, and Raimund Wünsche, eds. 2007. Gods in color: Painted sculpture of classical antiquity. Munich: Stiftung Archäologie und Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek.

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          The catalogue of an exhibition shown in Europe and the US is the most up-to-date reminder of a well-known fact: ancient sculpture and architecture were vividly colored, a fact that most studies of sculpture in the round, reliefs, architectural sculpture or, as a matter of fact, architecture still fail to fully incorporate in the appreciation of form or style! Several meticulous papers discuss general technical questions of ancient polychromy, its modern study and reconstruction as well as individual monuments such as the Aphaia pediments, the Parthenon sculptures, the so-called Peplos Kore, which is interpreted as Artemis, the frieze of the Siphnian treasury, and the so-called Alexander sarcophagus.

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        • Dillon, Sheila, 2006. Ancient Greek portrait sculpture: Context, subjects, and style. Cambridge, UK: Cambdirge Univ. Press.

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          Although the stylistic analysis of portraiture is an important part of this study, its most significant merits lie in the contextualization of copies of Greek portraits in a clearly Roman setting. The study beautifully demonstrates that a history of Greek sculpture based on Roman copies is not just possible but desirable. In the more concrete context of Greek portraiture, Dillon is not so interested in the identification of persons and types—for this approach see Richter, Gisela M. A. The portraits of the Greeks (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984)—but rather in the typological and stylistic interconnections between different genres such as portraits and grave reliefs.

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        • Fuchs, Werner, and Max Hirmer. 1993. Die Skulptur der Griechen. Munich: Hirmer.

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          A “traditional” introduction to Greek sculpture according to general types defined primarily by posture (e.g., standing, kneeling, sitting) or display (freestanding, architectural) and, in the case of reliefs, also by use (votive, funerary). The presentation follows a strict chronological arrangement, and the analyses are exclusively formal and stylistic. A chapter entirely dedicated to the discussion of heads seems not only outdated but also methodologically problematic. Nevertheless, this remains one of the best introductions to style and form in Greek sculpture.

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        • Lapatin, Kenneth D. S. 2001. Chryselephantine statuary in the ancient Mediterranean world. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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          Presently the only monograph dedicated to the production of chryselephantine statues in Greco-Roman antiquity. Chronologically, the approach is admirably holistic: from the Bronze Age down to the Roman Imperial period. Chryselephantine statuary is discussed as a phenomenon in all its complexity, including issues such as religious importance, artistic impact, technical difficulties, and economics of production. A central part of the study is dedicated to the role of Pheidias and his masterpieces in Athens and Olympia. A scholarly point of reference of the highest quality.

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        • Mattusch, Carol C. 1996. Classical bronzes: The art and craft of Greek and Roman statuary. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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          Although the central focus is on the technical aspects and problems in the production of bronze statues in Greek and Roman antiquity, Mattusch also offers interesting hypotheses about the interrelation between Greek original and Roman copy, the issue of seriation in the production of bronze sculpture, and the validity of the Kopienkritik method. The main theory of the book, that bronze statues were produced in series in antiquity, has the potential to change art history’s approach to Greek and Roman bronze statuary. See also Mattusch’s Greek bronze statuary from the beginnings through the fifth century B.C. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988).

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        • Palagia, Olga, ed. 2006. Greek sculpture: Function, materials, and techniques in the Archaic and Classical periods. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          A very helpful introductory volume on materials and techniques used in the production processes of Greek sculpture, mainly from the 6th to the 4th centuries BCE, although John Boardman’s chapter deals with objects created in the late 8th and 7th centuries. Geographically, the volume concentrates on Athens, the Cyclades, southern Italy, and Sicily, as well as Asia Minor (Xanthos and Halikarnassos). Mainly, marble is discussed as material, but B. Barletta also discusses terracotta sculpture, and C. Mattusch examines bronze statuary; there is no discussion of chryselephantine statuary. Some images are of poor quality.

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        • Palagia, Olga, and Jerome J. Pollitt, eds. 1996. Personal styles in Greek sculpture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          A volume dedicated to the analysis of the style of two sculptors from the 5th century BCE (Pheidias and Polykleitos), two from the 4th century (Praxiteles and Lysippos), and one from the 2nd century (Damophon). Only in the case of Damophon (chapter by P. Themelis), however, do we have the luxury of working with original material; all the other sculptors are studied based on Roman copies. The volume clearly owes much to the Meisterforschung approach, which is masterfully presented by Pollitt in the introductory chapter. Despite the methodological pitfalls, the volume is a point of reference for art historians interested in the Greek sculptor as the genius behind artistic innovations.

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        • Rolley, Claude. 1994–1999. Vol. I, Des origines au milieu du Ve siècle; Vol. II, La période classique. La sculpture grecque. Paris: Picard.

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          This introduction to Greek sculpture (a third volume dedicated to Hellenistic sculpture is planned) discusses stylistic phenomena within their broader historical context, best exemplified in “Le style sévère: Des Guerres Médiques au Parthénon” (Vol. 1, pp. 318–396). The general structure is based on chronology and stylistic development, but some chapters also deal with thematic entities such as the Parthenon or Polykleitos and his school. The author ends the first volume not, as is traditional, with the Persian wars, but with the period immediately before the Periclean projects on the Athenian Acropolis, thus creating a better connection between the artistic developments of the late 6th and early 5th centuries BCE.

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        • Stemmer, Klaus, ed. 1995. Standorte: Kontext und Funktion antiker Skulptur. Berlin: Freunde und Förderer der Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik e.V.

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          A catalogue accompanying an exhibition in Berlin, this is an invaluable comprehensive study of Greek (and Roman) sculpture strictly according to its context of display. Sculpture is discussed in four large thematic categories: cemetery, sanctuary (votive images, “cult statues”), public space (the Agora of Athens, Greek theaters, Roman fora, and Roman baths), and Roman villa. Sculpture is understood and analyzed not as museum objects, but as an integral part of the Greek and Roman Lebenswelt.

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        • Stewart, Andrew. 1990. Greek sculpture: An exploration. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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          This study in a sense supersedes Gisela M. A. Richter, The sculpture and sculptors of the Greeks (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970). It is almost a sociological approach to Greek sculpture, which is discussed and analyzed from the dual perspective of social context and individual artistic personality. The first part, dedicated to the sculptor’s world, is thematically structured, and the second part follows a traditional chronological pattern. In the third part, textual evidence relevant to Greek sculptors is collected. The lack of footnotes is surprising, and using the book is not always easy, since the reader often has to jump between chapters to fully understand the author’s argument. Nonetheless, this remains one of the best introductions to the study of Greek sculpture.

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        Archaic Sculpture

        The formative period of Greek sculpture has long been considered a preparatory phase for the masterpieces of the Classical period. Archaic sculpture was viewed and understood through Winckelmann’s glasses (see Winckelmann 2006). In recent decades, however, scholarship started seeing the characteristics of Archaic sculpture (typological formalization, compositional repetitiveness, visual ambiguity) not as signs of an art in the making, but as powerful artistic elements of a visual language that is simply different from that of the Classical period and has to be interpreted in its own frame. Although most introductory studies demonstrate a strong interest in the stylistic analysis of Archaic sculpture (Boardman 1978, Bol 2002, Richter1988a, Richter1988b), a more contextual approach becomes increasingly apparent (Meyer and Brüggemann 2007). Attention to Archaic artistic personalities—so predominant in the study of Classical and Late Classical sculpture—is still a desideratum, despite some isolated publications (Viviers1992).

        • Boardman, John. 1978. Greek sculpture: The Archaic period. London: Thames and Hudson; New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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          Published only one year after the 1st edition of Ridgway 1993, this offers a still valid overview of Archaic sculpture in Greece. Based on a somewhat descriptive method, this compendium is mainly interested in the definition of the Archaic style in sculpture, the identification of individual sculptors, and the clear presentation of sculptural types and categories. Style is approached, however, from an evolutionist point of view and not regarded as a historical phenomenon.

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        • Bol, Peter C., ed. 2002. Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst. Bd. I, Frühgriechische Plastik. 2 vols. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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          The most up-to-date introduction to Archaic sculpture (the first two chapters are dedicated to Geometric and Subgeometric imagery, however). Following a strictly chronological pattern, various experts explain the gradual development and transformation of Archaic style. All analyses are exclusively stylistic and not contextual. Occasionally, stylistic progression is presented as if it were an inevitable, almost organic evolution from simplicity to complexity. The second volume comprises 776 high-quality black-and-white illustrations.

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        • Ducat, Jean. 1971. Les kouroi du Ptoion: le sanctuaire d’Apollon Ptoieus à l’époque archaïque. Paris: Boccard.

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          The first, and so far the only, in-depth discussion of the important group of kouroi found in the Boeotian Ptoion. In its contextual and historic integrity the Ptoion group can be compared with the Acropolis korai. Ducat offers a stylistic appreciation both of the kouroi produced locally and of those examples revealing non-Boeotian traits (either imported or produced in Boeotia by foreign artists). In addition, the publication of small finds and pottery from the sanctuary places the Ptoion kouroi in a firm archaeological context.

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        • Karakasi, Katerina. 2003. Archaic korai. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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          Despite numerous editorial flaws, this is the only up-to-date catalogue of Archaic korai. More than 100 statues, complete or in fragments, have been added to the catalogue of Richter 1988. Based on a strictly regional and contextual approach, the book offers a formal, stylistic, and interpretive discussion of Archaic korai in respect to their exact provenience. From an interpretive standpoint, Karakasi attempts to find a single explanation for the sculptural type of the Archaic kore. The illustrations, both black-and-white and color, are magnificent.

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        • Meyer, Marion, and Nora Brüggemann. 2007. Kore und Kouros: Weihegaben für die Götter. Vienna: Phoibos.

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          The most recent monograph on Archaic korai and kouroi. Meyer’s Part 1, dedicated to korai, offers no new insights but sums up in a usefully critical way almost all suggested interpretations of this sculptural type. Brüggeman’s Part 2, on kouroi, is the first study of this sculptural type strictly based on objects with a secure archaeological context. The catalogue (with no descriptions) lists 414 kouroi, complete or in fragments. Unfortunately, interpretation is kept to a minimum.

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        • Richter, Gisela M. A. 1988a. Korai: Archaic Greek maidens. New York: Hacker.

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          Despite Karakassi 2003, this reprint is still a useful reference on Archaic korai because of the high standard of the formal and stylistic analysis. However, the material is arranged and studied according to categories based on chronology rather than on style. Richly illustrated, but the quality of the images is poor. For recent attempts at interpreting the kore type, see Catherine M. Keesling, The votive statues of the Athenian Acropolis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), or Mary Stieber, The poetics of appearance in the Attic korai (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004); both studies fail, however, to convince completely.

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        • Richter, Gisela M. A. 1988b. Kouroi: Archaic Greek youths. 3d ed. New York: Hacker.

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          Still a standard work on the formal and stylistic analysis of Archaic kouroi, although the evolutionist model applied is outdated; the classification of the individual statues into groups is based on chronology rather than geographical distribution. Richly illustrated, but the quality of the images is too often poor.

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1993. The Archaic style in Greek sculpture. 2d ed. Chicago: Ares.

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          When first published in 1977, this book represented the first holistic approach to Archaic Greek sculpture, discussing not only stylistic tendencies and iconographic types but also geographic distribution, problems of chronology, and origins. Nevertheless, the general approach reveals an evolutionist approach behind the idea that style “progresses” almost automatically. Details such as the presentation and interpretation of the kouroi from Sounion or the assumption that all kouroi were originally Apollines are rather problematic.

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        • Viviers, Didier. 1992. Recherches sur les ateliers de sculpteurs et la cité d’Athènes à l’époque archaïque. Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique.

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          An excellent example of the fruitful combination of stylistic analysis of sculpture, literary criticism, and evaluation of epigraphic evidence, this study concentrates on three artistic personalities, Endoios, Philergos, and Aristokles It offers insights on broader issues, however, such as the relationship between different workshops and their respective clienteles, the social environment and ethnic background of artists, and the dynamic interrelation between word and image.

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        • Winckelmann, Johann Joachim. 2006. History of the Art of Antiquity. Introduction by Alex Potts, translation by Harry Francis Mallgrave. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute.

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          Presents the earlier, most widely adopted approach to the study of Greek art, sometimes viewed as a somewhat organic process.

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        Classical Sculpture

        Owing to the preoccupation of Roman authors with the famous Greek sculptors of the Classical period and to the Renaissance concept of the individual “master” and his “masterpieces,” the study of 5th-century sculpture long focused on individual artists—such as Agorakritos (Despinis1971), Alkamenes, Myron, Pheidias, or Polykleitos—and their styles. More recent studies have tended to move, perhaps too forcibly, in the opposite direction: They try to contextualize sculpture but neglect the artist. Sculpture of the 5th century is neither a sequence of masterpieces nor a collection of anonymous yet contextualized statues. A meaningful association of the individual artist with the intellectual framework within which he was operating has been recognized as the best way to deal with Classical sculpture (Beck, et al. 1990, Moon 1995). Nonetheless, the in-depth stylistic analysis of 5th-century sculpture remains crucial for any further contextual, iconographical, or iconological understanding of Classical art (Bol 2004, Boardman 1985, Ridgway 1977).

        • Beck, Herbert, Peter C. Bol, and Maraike Bückling, eds. 1990. Polyklet: Der Bildhauer der griechischen Klassik. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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          Together with Moon 1995, this volume, which was published as a companion to an exhibition in Frankfurt, initiated a significant renaissance of interest in the art and personal style of Polykleitos—something not really achieved by Thuri Lorenz, Polyklet (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1972). Numerous papers deal with almost every possible aspect of Polykleitos’s work and discuss in detail some of his main sculptures (Doryphoros, Diadumenos, Discophoros, Hermes, Amazon). The book also offers important insights on Polykleitos’s impact on later periods and the reception of his work during Hellenistic and Roman Imperial times, in both art and literature.

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        • Boardman, John. 1985. Greek sculpture: The Classical period. London: Thames and Hudson.

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          An invaluable introduction to the sculpture of the 5th century BCE, especially for teaching purposes. Large parts are dedicated to the sculptural decoration of the temple at Olympia and the Parthenon, architectural sculpture in general, and funerary reliefs, since the book offers an analysis based mainly on originals. Only two relatively brief chapters discuss individual artists and Roman copies of Greek originals.

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        • Bol, Peter C., ed. 2004. Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst. Bd. II, Klassische Plastik. 2 vols. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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          The most up-to-date introduction to Greek sculpture of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. While the general structure is chronological, individual chapters always have a thematic focus (e.g., “The Ephesian Amazons,” pp. 145–158; “Body and garment,” pp. 188–226). The includion of chapters dedicated to terracotta and bronze figurines (pp. 429–473) and to the famous Greco-Phoenician sarcophagi (pp. 475–493) is a welcome conceptual innovation. The second volume contains 1,059 high-quality black-and-white photographs.

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        • Despinis, Georgios I. 1971. Symbolé ste meléte tou ergou tou Agorákritou. Athens: Hermes.

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          Presently the only monograph devoted to the work and sculptural style of Agorakritos. Part 1 is a stylistic analysis of the numerous original fragments of the statue of Nemesis dedicated at Rhamnous. In Part 2, further works of Agorakritos are discussed, either Roman copies of pieces known through the literary sources or original sculptures attributed to him on stylistic grounds. Despinis suggests a strong involvement of Agorakritos and his workshop in the creation of the Parthenon pediments.

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        • Moon, Warren G., ed. 1995. Polykleitos, the Doryphoros, and tradition. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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          Papers from a conference devoted to the work of Polykleitos, prompted by the outstanding replica of the Doryphoros in Minneapolis, discussed in two different chapters. The volume concentrates not so much on individual works and attributions (for such an approach, see Beck, et al. 1990), but on the contextualization of Polykleitos as an exceptional artistic personality. Thus, several chapters deal with the intellectual background of Polykleitos’s work and his reception from the late 5th century BCE to the 18th century CE.

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1970. The Severe style in Greek sculpture. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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          Other than Vagn Poulsen, Der Strenge Stil: Studien zur Geschichte der griechischen Plastik, 480–450 (Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), this is the only general monograph on Greek sculpture of the early 5th century. It does not deal exclusively with sculpture in the round, and applies a somewhat eclectic approach: in the main chapters only a few examples are discussed, while further pieces are presented in useful appendices. Also important are the chapters on the Severe style in the Hellenistic and Imperial periods.

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1977. Fifth century styles in Greek sculpture. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

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          Still a valid general introduction to 5th-century sculpture. A large part is dedicated to architectural sculpture, mainly that of the Parthenon. The chapters discussing 5th-century originals, the great “masters,” Roman copies of Greek originals, and Roman creations are also filled with keen observations.

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        Late Classical Sculpture

        The study of 4th-century BCE sculpture was long characterized by the same overemphasis on individual artistic personality that characterized research on Classical sculpture. However, the study of artists such as Lysippos, Praxiteles, and Skopas still dominates scholarship on Late Classical sculpture, not having moved on as has that on the 5th century. Many recent books on 4th-century sculpture methodologically owe much to the Meisterforschung (Corso 2004, Corso 2007, Moreno 1987, Todisco 1993), although prominent scholars have been challenging this method since the 1970s (Ridgway 1997). How fruitful the Meisterforschung method can be when combined with a historically and philologically informed approach has been brilliantly demonstrated in Stewart 1977.

        • Boardman, John. 1995. Greek sculpture: The Late Classical period. London: Thames and Hudson.

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          Part 1 of this introductory work is a comprehensive study of 4th-century sculpture to the age of Alexander the Great, from both a stylistic and a contextual point of view. Parts 2 and 3 are dedicated to the sculpture produced in the western Greek colonies (Part 2) and to that produced in the eastern colonies and the southeastern Mediterranean (Part 3) between the 6th and 4th centuries. The latter parts are too brief.

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        • Corso, Antonio. 2004. The art of Praxiteles. Vol. I, The development of Praxiteles’ workshop and its cultural tradition until the sculptor’s acme (364–361 BC). Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

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          The first comprehensive art-historical study of the early years of Praxiteles’ career. The book methodologically owes much to the German Meisterforschung approach. Praxiteles is, perhaps too nicely, placed in a wider artistic tradition that starts with Myron and ends with Kephisodotos the Elder, the alleged father of Praxiteles. Refer to Marcello Barbanera’s review in Gnomon 79 (2007): 435–439.

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        • Corso, Antonio. 2007. The art of Praxiteles. Vol. II, The mature years. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider.

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          The title of the book is somewhat misleading, since it is almost entirely dedicated to the statue of Aphrodite Knidia, with far shorter chapters discussing the Coan Aphrodite, the Dodekatheon at Megara, an Aphrodite about to garland herself, and the Chaerippe. Methodologically, this represents no advance over Corso 2004.

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        • Moreno, Paolo. 1987. Vita e arte di Lisippo. Milan: Il Saggiatore.

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          Together with Moreno’s edited volume Lisippo: L’arte e la fortuna (Rome: Fabbri, 1995), this is the most recent study of Lysippos’s work. Despite the title, only a small part is dedicated to the life of Lysippos, since our information is based on anecdotes. The volume is mainly devoted to stylistic analyses of works attributed to Lysippos in the form of a loosely structured catalogue. The attributions are, however, often uncritical and overly speculative. Based on the Kairos and its philosophical implications, there is a brief but useful appreciation of the theoretical intellectual background of Lysippos’s work.

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1997. Fourth century styles in Greek sculpture. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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          Follows almost a diametrically opposite approach to that of Todisco 1993: the individual master is forced into the background. Form, style, and meaning of 4th-century sculpture are the focus. In the lengthy chapters 7 and 8, the method of Meisterforschung is questioned, perhaps too critically. The approach to Lysippos and the works usually attributed to him is highly skeptical and almost incompatible with Moreno 1987. The surprisingly small number of illustrations is a major disadvantage.

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        • Stewart, Andrew. 1977. Skopas of Paros. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes.

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          The standard work on Skopas. Based on the pedimental sculptures of the Alea temple at Tegea, the style of Skopas is meticulously described and analyzed. Further works are discussed and attributed to Skopas on the basis of their stylistic affinity to the sculptures from Tegea. The book also offers a reconstruction of Skopas’s career and places the sculptor’s traineeship at Epidauros.

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        • Todisco, Luigi. 1993. Scultura greca del IV secolo: Maestri e scuole di statuaria tra classicità ed ellenismo. Milan: Longanesi.

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          The first general monograph on 4th-century sculpture; see, however, the sophisticated study by Adolf Borbein, “Die griechische Statue des 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.,” Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 88 (1973): 43–212. Todisco unfortunately puts extreme emphasis on Meisterforschung, so that only works considered attributable to a known master are discussed. Regarding individual sculptors, the volume applies an exclusively chronological and not a thematic approach. The numerous illustrations are an obvious advantage. Refer to Andrew Stewart’s review in Gnomon 68 (1996): 444–447.

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        Hellenistic Sculpture

        The last phase in the history of Greek sculpture defies any attempt at a linear or evolutionist approach. Analyses of sculpture that presuppose a continuous, one-way stylistic development have failed to understand Hellenistic sculpture. Most of the recent introductory works are chronologically structured, without adopting an evolutionist model (Bol 2007, Ridgway 1990–2002). The study of Hellenistic sculpture is far less interested in the artist and concentrates on general stylistic phenomena (Kunze 2002) or on the impressive variety of depicted themes (Smith 1991). In addition, the sculpture of this period is a perfect example of the development of local styles in the important cultural centers of the last three centuries BCE, such as Pergamon, Alexandreia, and Antiocheia. The inadequacy of stylistic analysis as the only basis for dating Hellenistic sculpture is demonstrated by the highly divergent assessments of objects such as the small Attalid dedication (Stewart 2004), the Old market woman in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or, far more famously, the Laokoon group.

        • Bol, Peter C., ed. 2007. Die Geschichte der antiken Bildhauerkunst. Bd. III, Hellenistische Plastik. 2 vols. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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          The most recent introduction to Hellenistic sculpture. However, unlike the more imaginative structure of Bol 2004, the survey adopts a strict chronological approach to present material that, by its very nature defies categorization based exclusively on dates. Nevertheless, the stylistic and formal analyses, the geographical and intellectual contextualization, and the presentation of style as a historically meaningful phenomenon are exemplary. The second volume contains 932 high-quality black-and-white images.

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        • Kunze, Christian. 2002. Zum Greifen nah: Stilphänomene in der Hellenistischen Skulptur und ihre inhaltliche Interpretation. Munich: Biering and Brinkmann.

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          Based on detailed analyses of individual monuments, this study discusses various stylistic phenomena relevant for Hellenistic sculpture. Its main point of departure is the style and composition of the so-called Farnese Bull. Issues such as changing perspectives, the visual interrelationship between object and viewer, situational motion, visual capture of momentary actions, and the aesthetics of ugliness are exemplified through further examples of Hellenistic sculpture, such as the Pasquino group, the Boy Strangling a Goose, the Drunk Old Woman, the Sperlonga Scylla, the Large Gallic group, the Laokoon group, and the crouching Aphrodite of “Doidalsas.”

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        • Laubscher, Hans Peter. 1982. Fischer und Landleute: Studien zur hellenistischen Genreplastik. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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          Together with Nikolaus Himmelmann, Über Hirten-genre in der antiken Kunst (Opladen: Westdeutscher, 1980), this is one of the first in-depth and nonjudgmental studies of an important group of Hellenistic sculpture, usually subsumed under the term “genre sculpture.” The author considers the style, function, and meaning of statues representing fishermen, shepherds, farmers, and peasants. In an appendix, images of old persons, such as the Drunken Old Woman, are discussed (cf. Paul Zanker’s magnificent analysis of last, Die Trunkene Alte: Das Lachen der Verhöhnten [Frankfurt: Fischer, 1989]).

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1990–2002. Hellenistic sculpture. 3 Vols. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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          Presents thematic categories in a clearly defined chronological framework for each volume: Vol. 1, The styles of ca. 331–200 BC; Vol. 2, The styles of ca. 200–100 BC; Vol. 3, The styles of ca. 100–31 BC. In Vol. 1, Late Classical sculptors are also discussed to further an understanding of the stylistic transition to Hellenistic sculpture. Lysippos, in this context, plays a significant role and is discussed in detail. The study focuses on Greek originals, although copies are introduced from a methodological standpoint. Individual monuments are scrutinized and add to a general appreciation of the production of sculpture from the late 4th to the late 1st century BCE. There is much to disagree with over specific monuments, suggestions about Hellenistic workshops, and dates, but this is the first scholarly reference work to consult on Hellenistic sculpture.

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        • Smith, Roland R. R. 1991. Hellenistic sculpture. London: Thames and Hudson.

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          This introduction approaches the topic not from a stylistic or chronological standpoint, but from an iconographic and a regional one. In Part 1, figures of kings, intellectuals, heroes, athletes, divinities, and attendants of Dionysos are discussed. In Part 2, Hellenistic sculpture in Pergamon, Alexandria, the Seleucid Empire, Macedonia, and Delos is presented. Unsurprisingly, the dates suggested in this study do not always correspond with those proposed elsewhere; in most cases, the dates are based on historical probabilities rather than stylistic analyses.

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        • Schultz, Peter, and Ralf von den Hoff, eds. 2007. Early Hellenistic portraiture: Image, style, context. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          This volume of fifteen lengthy papers is the most recent and deepest analysis of Early Hellenistic portraits. In four interrelated thematic categories, the following general topics are discussed: the connection of Hellenistic portraiture with Late Classical traditions, the stylistic variety of Early Hellenistic portraits (perhaps due to the different contexts of display), concrete examples for the public setting of portraits (Acropolis of Athens, Agora in Athens Olympia, and Greek sanctuaries in general), and Hellenistic portraiture in and from Egypt.

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        • Stewart, Andrew. 2004. Attalos, Athens, and the Acropolis: The Pergamene “Little Barbarians” and their Roman and Renaissance legacy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          Studies a specific monument (the so-called Small Attalid dedication) and follows an unusual approach, presenting its history backward from the Renaissance, when the marble “Little barbarians” were discovered in Rome, to the Roman Imperial period, when the copies where made, and into the early 2nd century BCE, when (according to Stewart) the original bronze group was created. In a separate essay, Manolis Korres presents thirteen cornice blocks in Pentelic marble with sockets to fit bronze statuary that belonged to the original base of the monument. The book is a model study of a specific monument, its history, and its artistic appreciation across the centuries.

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        Architectural Sculpture

        By its very nature, architectural sculpture demands contextual and not only stylistic analysis (Knell 1990, Marconi 2007). However, general introductions to Greek sculpture normally disjoin this artistic genre from its architectural context. Most expert studies on architectural sculpture concentrate on iconographic and iconological issues (Webb 1996), although the sculptural decoration of buildings—if still in situ—could serve as the perfect case for studying modes of viewing and aspects of visual communication in Greek Antiquity (Buitron-Oliver 1997). In this field, the study of the Parthenon sculptures is a special case: no other ancient monument has been so thoroughly explored, while still remaining a puzzle.

        • Buitron-Oliver, Diana, ed. 1997. The interpretation of architectural sculpture in Greece and Rome. Hanover, NH: Univ. Press of New England.

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          A collection of papers from a conference held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the exhibition The Greek Miracle. The papers follow the concept of the exhibition and try to understand the political, religious, and artistic context of the sculptural decoration of monuments as important as the Parthenon and the Nike temple on the Athenian Acropolis, the Hephaisteion in the Athenian Agora, and the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Based on the contextualization of the architectural sculpture, important iconographic and iconological aspects and problems are addressed.

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        • Knell, Heiner. 1990. Mythos und Polis: Bildprogramme griechischer Bauskulptur. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

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          The book studies the agency behind and the reasons for the use of particular mythological narratives as part of the sculptural decoration of Greek buildings (mainly temples). Both geographical and chronological range are broad: from the Archaic Athenian Acropolis to the Hellenistic altar of Zeus at Pergamon. The strength of the book lies not in its synthetic approach but rather in the detailed analysis of individual monuments. There is, however, an obvious preference for straightforward reconstructions and interpretations without reference to the sometimes numerous alternatives.

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        • Marconi, Clemente. 2007. Temple decoration and cultural identity in the Archaic Greek world: The metopes of Selinus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          The most recent contextual approach to architectural sculpture. Although both its geographical range (Selinus) and material focus (metopes) appear too limited, the study succeeds in setting the sculptural decoration of temples in a broader cultural context. Based on a meticulous study of the Selinuntine material, Marconi stresses that Archaic architectural sculpture in Magna Grecia was primarily a visual expression of concrete local polis identity and not so much a general sign of Hellenicity in a non-Greek cultural context.

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        • Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. 1996. Prayers in stone: Greek architectural sculpture ca. 600–100 BCE. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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          Although definitely not a systematic survey of the stylistic development of Greek architectural sculpture based on detailed analyses of individual monuments (for that see Knell 1990), this book certainly is a reference work owing to its significant interest in questions and problems of methodology and the semantic appreciation of this material. The apparent skepticism regarding the ability of modern scholarship to fully capture the ancient mentality behind sculptural “programs” decorating religious buildings cannot be shared by everyone, but it opens a useful discussion about modern interpretations of art and their debt to the Zeitgeist.

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        • Webb, Pamela A. 1996. Hellenistic architectural sculpture: Figural motifs in western Anatolia and the Aegean Islands. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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          The most significant strength of this book is that it presents archaeological, iconographical, and architectural discussions of monuments rarely treated in so much detail, along with examples of architectural sculpture to be found in any handbook on Hellenistic sculpture, such as the Pergamene Telephos frieze. Webb pays special attention to curiously shaped and ornamented (mainly Early Hellenistic) religious buildings. Important also is the chapter on the various locations for sculpture (columns, capitals, pedestals, or ceilings) beyond the traditional pediments, metopes, and friezes.

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        The Sculptures of the Parthenon

        The bibliography on the Parthenon and its sculptural decoration is vast, for this specific monument shaped—both before and after its mutilation by Lord Elgin—our understanding of ancient Greece and its art. Current research is beautifully presented and summarized in Neils 2005. With the spate of books and articles devoted to the Parthenon hard to keep up with, one cannot but ask whether there is anything new to say about this best-known monument from Greek Antiquity. The papers collected in Cosmopoulos 2004 are perhaps most suited to prove skeptics and critics wrong on this count. Neils 2001 is not afraid to demonstrate, brilliantly, that the Parthenon frieze and its iconographical as well as iconological interpretations are very much still open to debate.

        • Cosmopoulos, Michael B., ed. 2004. The Parthenon and its sculptures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          The essays in this volume present a broad variety of scholarly approaches to dealing with the sculptures of the Parthenon within a methodological framework, relying on traditional formal analysis, new digital technologies, appreciation of the original cultural background, and the diachronic reception of the monument. There is a well-balanced mixture of art historical and archaeological papers that shed light both on the aesthetic effects and on the practical production of the sculpture. Especially provocative is J. Younger’s suggestion that the frieze was created by groups of sculptors working from prepared sketches.

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        • Neils, Jenifer. 2001. The Parthenon frieze. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          The best current, comprehensive study of the Parthenon frieze. The approach is clearly art historical, but without an excessive interest in the “masters” of the frieze, although the relevant scholarship is summarized. The largest part is devoted to the definition of the High Classical style and to the iconography and iconology of the frieze. The book is not overloaded with personal reconstructions and interpretations—there are simply too many to keep adding new ones—but presents in a serene way the vast scholarship on the Parthenon frieze. Despite the art-historical approach, the last chapter is devoted to the ethical, legal, and political issues relevant to the repatriation of the Parthenon frieze.

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        • Neils, Jenifer, ed. 2005. The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the present. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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          Although the book is devoted not exclusively to the sculptures but to the building of the Parthenon as a whole, three extensive papers (more than 100 pages) offer up-to-date summaries of the iconography and interpretation of the metopes, the frieze, and the pediments. The chapters dedicated to the Acropolis, the architecture of the Parthenon, the statue of Athena Parthenos, the later history of the building, and its impact on modern architecture create a fruitful scholarly setting for understanding the sculptural decoration in a broader context.

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        Votive, Funerary, and Documentary Reliefs

        Thanks to their thematic and stylistic variability, funerary reliefs have enjoyed much more interest (Bergemann 1997, Clairmont 1993, Himmelmann 1999) than have votive (Comella 2002) or documentary reliefs (Lawton 1992). Although stylistic analysis has always been part of any study focusing on Greek reliefs, recent scholarship concentrates on iconography and iconology. Their specific and clear functions make votive, funerary, and documentary reliefs welcome evidence for the reciprocal connections between context and object. From a stylistic standpoint, however, scholars tend to overemphasize the interconnections between sculpture in the round and reliefs, thus neglecting the independent artistic power inherent in the genre of relief.

        • Bergemann, Johannes. 1997. Demos und Thanatos: Untersuchungen zum Wertsystem der Polis im Spiegel der attischen Grabreliefs des 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. und zur Funktion der gleichzeitigen Grabbauten. Munich: Biering and Brinkmann.

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          The main approach of this study of 4th-century BCE grave reliefs is sociological. Bergemann demonstrates that personal themes and individualization are rather rare, and socially acceptable “types” are used as signs for to characterize the athlete, the warrior, the hunter, the orator, or the mother. Apparently, funerary reliefs cannot be seen as a mirror reflecting social realities in Classical Athens: their size, type, and quality do not indicate the specific social class of the deceased. In its statement that there are no reliable iconographic criteria for distinguishing the deceased from the living in representations of groups, the study clearly opposes Himmelmann1999.

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        • Clairmont, Christoph W. 1993. Classical Attic tombstones. 8 vols. Kilchberg: Akanthus.

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          Presented as a supplement to Alexander Conze, Die attischen Grabreliefs (Berlin: Spemann, 1893–1922), and based on meticulous analysis of individual monuments, this study addresses questions important for the understanding of funerary reliefs: age characterization, identity of the deceased, the iconography of family ties, the interpretation of nudity (the concept of “heroic nudity” is rejected), and the interconnection between grave reliefs and portraits. Such a massive demonstration of research cannot possibly satisfy every scholarly need, but the work will remain a point of reference for generations. For funerary reliefs from the Greek East, see the similarly magisterial publication by Ernst Pfuhl, Die ostgriechischen Grabreliefs (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1977–1979).

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        • Comella, Annamaria. 2002. I rilievi votivi greci di periodo arcaico e classico: Diffusione, ideologia, commitenza. Bari: Edipuglia.

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          This book is intended neither as a corpus of all votive reliefs of the Archaic and Classical periods nor as the ultimate publication on this relatively neglected topic. Based on a selection of around 350 objects, it discusses mainly issues of iconography and geographical distribution of dedicatory reliefs. Iconological questions are not really asked, and the almost arbitrary categorization of the material into time spans is a significant weakness. See also Ulrich Hausmann, Griechische Weihreliefs (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1960), and Gerhard Neumann, Probleme des griechischen Weihreliefs (Tübingen: Ernst Wasmuth, 1979).

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        • Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 1999. Attische Grabreliefs. Opladen: Westdeutscher.

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          Not an overview of style or iconography of Attic grave reliefs, this work concentrates on the possible influences of religious and political factors on funerary reliefs. The iconography of grave reliefs is seen as a result of their primarily religious function. The study explains grave reliefs as an invaluable part of the funerary cult and clearly opposes the sociological approach of Bergemann1997, which is discussed and rejected in an appendix; nevertheless, Himmelmann’s work should be read together with Bergemann’s.

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        • Lawton, Carol L. 1992. Attic document reliefs: Art and politics in ancient Athens. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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          Discusses and presents an important body of visual evidence that, thanks to the official documents it accompanied in antiquity, can often be dated exactly. Document reliefs are clearly an art genre that explicitly refers to and comments on contemporary political events, since they translate in symbolic pictorial terms the content of the inscriptions they crown. The book not only addresses important issues of iconography and iconology but also raises questions about the commissioners of the reliefs. It clearly argues against the theory of a private commission, although its elucidations, commentaries, and photographs are less satisfactory. See also Marion Meyer, Die griechischen Urkundenreliefs (Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Athen, Suppl. 13. Berlin: Mann, 1989).

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        • Projekt Dyabola–Archäologische Bibliographie

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          The online database of Attic funerary reliefs of the late 5th and 4th centuries is partly based on Bergemann 1997, although the database contains many more monuments and images. Despite its high subscription cost and a search engine available only in German, the database is an extremely useful tool for students and scholars alike, for it allows thorough searches for all kinds of iconographical and contextual information. The high-quality images can be downloaded and used for private research and teaching purposes (not for publication).

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          Vase Painting

          Admittedly, most general introductions to vase painting concentrate on Athenian vases of the Archaic and Classical periods, simply because interest in the style of individual vase painters, iconography, and iconology dominates the field. The dividing line between the more archaeological study of Bronze Age pottery and the more art-historical discussion of black- and red-figure vase painting is rarely crossed, though see Betancourt 1985 with its rather art -historical analysis of Bronze Age pottery. John D. Beazley and his Morellian analysis of painters’ styles defined the study of vase painting for decades (Boardman 2001). Generations of scholars in the Beazleyan tradition devoted their work to the analysis of individual styles of (mainly Athenian) vase painters. However, scholars who prefer a more archaeological approach (e.g., James Whitley) have strongly attacked Beazley’s work and methodology. As a result, recent scholarship concentrates on iconography and iconology, thus neglecting invaluable training in the recognition (and appreciation) of individual style. Contextual analysis of pottery (Rasmussen and Spivey 2009) and connoisseurship cannot possibly be considered mutually exclusive methods. Practical aspects of production and decoration have increasingly become the focus of well-informed scholarship (Cohen 2006), and recent study of Greek vase painting profits from theoretical art-historical approaches (Steiner 2007). Beazley’s work remains—and will remain for generations to come—a firm point of reference in scholarship dedicated to Greek and especially Attic vase painting. In these magisterial studies, innumerable black- and red-figure vases are attributed – in most cases for the first time – to painters or their workshops (Beazley 1942, Beazley1956, Beazley 1971).

          • The Beazley Archive

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            The Pottery database of The Beazley Archive in Oxford presents an extremely useful tool based on Beazley’s work.

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            • Beazley, John D. 1942. Attic red-figure vase-painters. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              Presented in the form of lists, in chapters that are well organized, according to painters, although there are no extensive stylistic analyses or even explanations accompanying the various attributions of specific vases to individual “masters”, so that these studies are certainly not the most suitable instrument for students about to enter the world of Greek vase painting. Second edition published in 1984.

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            • Beazley, John D. 1956. Black-figure vase-painters. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              Presents the material in clearly organized chapters sorted by painters, in list format. However, there are no extensive stylistic analyses or even explanations accompanying the various attributions of specific vases to individual “masters,” so that these studies are certainly not the most suitable instrument for students about to enter the world of Greek vase painting. Reprinted in 1978 (New York: Hacker Art Books).

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            • Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic black-figure vase-painters and to Attic red-figure vase-painters. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              A more recent look at Beazley’s work.

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            • Betancourt, Philip P. 1985. The history of Minoan pottery. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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              An indispensable handbook on Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery from Crete. Owing to the innumerable excavations on the island and the ongoing discussion on Bronze Age Aegean chronology, some of Betancourt’s suggestions have to be supplemented by more recent detailed studies of Minoan pottery and culture in general. However, the book remains an invaluable tool for both scholars and students. For Mycenaean pottery, see Penelope A. Mountjoy, Regional Mycenaean decorated pottery (Rahden: Leidorf, 1999).

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            • Boardman, John. 2001. The history of Greek vases. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              Geographically, this study concentrates on the Greek mainland and southern Italy and Sicily, while chronologically covering the period from the 10th to the 2nd century BCE. Compared with Boardman 1974 and Boardman 1989, this richly illustrated book is much more interested in manufacture, use and function, trade, the impact of viewers and buyers on vase shapes and decorative schemes, the reciprocal relation between potters and painters, the possible reflections of major artistic innovations in vase painting (the term “copy” has been rightly avoided), and images as “social facts.” See also Robert M. Cook, Greek painted pottery, 3d ed. (London: Routledge, 1997).

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            • Cohen, Beth, ed. 2006. The colors of clay: Special techniques in Athenian vases. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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              Catalogue of an exhibition at the Getty Villa in Malibu. Technique and style are the main focus of the individual essays, while iconographical questions are either secondary or completely omitted. Only the paper on the so-called Sotades grave in Athens adopts a contextual approach. The paper on the Kerch vases discusses a stylistic group and not a specific technique, while that on bilingual vases focuses on the use of two distinct techniques on a single object. The remaining papers present up-to-date research on individual techniques, such as the addition of clay, gilding, the outline as a special technique in black- and red-figure vase painting, the use of coral-red glaze, the so-called Six’s technique, white ground, and the “sculpting” of plastic vases. The excellent photographs and in-depth papers make this the most important study of techniques in Athenian vase painting. See also Kenneth D. S. Lapatin, ed., Papers on special techniques in Athenian vases (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications, 2008).

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            • Coldstream, John N. 2008. Greek Geometric pottery. 2d ed. Exeter: Bristol Phoenix.

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              This stupendous study is the most concise account of the Geometric style in pottery. Although the book is structured according to geographical regions, the approach is exclusively stylistic. The study centers on an appreciation of Attic Geometric workshops, but pottery production and decorative systems in Corinth, Argos, Thessaly, the Cyclades, Boeotia, Crete, Euboea, Laconia, the western colonies, and coastal Asia Minor are also thoroughly discussed. At the end, style is presented as an indicator of historical developments in the various Greek landscapes.

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            • Rasmussen, Tom, and Nigel Spivey, eds. 2009. Looking at Greek vases. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              This collection of essays offers excellent sociological, economic, and cultural approaches to Greek vases. Although connoisseurship is rightly recognized as an invaluable tool for the aesthetic appreciation of images on Greek vases, the authors of the ten chapters concentrate on various aspects, such as the interconnection of function and image, Attic vases as a trade success, the theatricality of images on vases and their connection to plays (see also Taplin 2007), or production problems, technological developments, and techniques of decoration. The two introductory chapters on methodological issues are important not only for understanding vase painting but also for Greek art in general. See also Clemente Marconi, ed., Greek vases: Images, contexts and controversies (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004).

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            • Steiner, Ann. 2007. Reading Greek vases. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              The book owes much to current approaches to ancient art, which study the interconnection between image and text. It makes a strong case for analyzing Greek vases in their visual and textual entirety and concentrates on the hermeneutics of pictorial as well as inscriptional repetition and symmetry. Repetition is viewed as an explanatory rather than an aesthetic feature of the imagery on Archaic Athenian vases. One main point is that repetition and symmetry on vases were used to emphasize the activities and values of elite Athenians in the context of the symposion.

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            Black-Figure Vase Painting

            Strangely enough, in-depth studies focusing exclusively on black-figure vase painting have become increasingly rare. After several monographs or edited volumes on individual black-figure painters such as Amasis (Walsh 1987), Lydos (Tiverios 1976), or Sophilos (Bakir 1981), discussions of black-figure vase painters are found mainly either in iconographical studies or in general introductions to vase painting (Boardman 1974). As a result, well-known artistic personalities such as Exekias, who apparently perfected the black-figure style in Archaic Athens, are from a stylistic point of view still inadequately studied: The planned second volume of Mommsen1997, for example, was never published.

            • Bakir, Güven. 1981. Sophilos: Ein Beitrag zu seinem Stil. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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              The first, and so far the only, monograph on the first Attic vase painter whose name is known through his artist’s signature. Based on meticulous analysis of the painter’s style, the study corrects some of Beazley’s assumptions and attributions. The career of the painter is dated between 600 and 570 BCE (Boardman 1974 suggests a shorter period between 580 and 570 BCE), and his relations to Attic and Corinthian workshops exemplified. All pieces associated with Sophilos are illustrated.

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            • Bentz, Martin. 1998. Panathenäische Preisamphoren: Eine athenische Vasengattung und ihre Funktion vom 6.-4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Antike Kunst. Supp. 18. Basel: Vereinigung der Freunde Antiker Kunst.

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              Although the iconographic and stylistic analyses of the Panathenaic amphorae offered in this study are invaluable, it is the meticulous catalogue that transforms the book into the most important reference work for all future research on this kind of Athenian pottery. The chapters discussing iconographical aspects concentrate on the figure of Athena, the physique of the athletes, and the composition of the contests depicted. The inscriptions on the vases, their geographical distribution, and the value of the oil contained in the vases are also discussed.

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            • Boardman, John. 1974. Athenian black figure vases: A handbook. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              The first comprehensive introduction to black-figure vase painting based extensively on Beazley’s research. The basic structure of the study is chronological, although separate chapters are devoted, inter alia, to the Panathenaic amphorae, shapes and names of vases, decorative systems, problems of chronology, and mythological scenes. Although the study is firmly founded on the method of connoisseurship, the topics discussed reveal much broader methodological, iconological, and sociological questions. Experts can still profit from this book, but it primarily addresses students.

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            • Mommsen, Heide. 1997. Exekias 1: Die Grabtafeln. Forschungen zur antiken Keramik. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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              The monograph concentrates on a specific genre in Exekias’s oeuvre, the forty-five fragmentary and two nearly complete funerary plaques in Berlin. The study makes it plausible that the plaques were, like metopes, decorating an Archaic grave monument, probably destroyed during the Persian sack of the city. Iconographically, the study devotes a large section to discussing Archaic representations of prothesis scenes. In addition, it demonstrates that Exekias was already announcing the stylistic developments of the Classical period. A planned second volume had not appeared by 2009.

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            • Tiverios, Michalis. 1976. O Lydós, kai to ergo tou: Symbolé sten éreuna tes attikés melanómorphes aggeiographías. Athens: ΤAPA.

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              Still the most recent monographic evaluation of Lydos’s work. The approach is clearly art historical, and the book arranges the painter’s oeuvre traditionally in three chronologically distinct phases. Several unsigned vases are attributed to Lydos, while others usually associated with Lydos himself are adduced in connection with his workshop. Thanks to the rich illustrations, the reader can always follow the suggestions made. Even more important is the attempt to analyze Lydos’s place within the traditions of Athenian black-figure vase painting and its further development.

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            • Walsh, John, ed. 1987. Papers on the Amasis Painter and his world. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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              Papers from a colloquium at the Getty Museum, and an excellent example of the cultural, artistic, and historical contextualization of a Greek vase painter. Papers are devoted to the intellectual and religious background of Athenian black-figure vase painting; cross-influences between sculptors and vase painters or architecture and vase painting are also explored. Most of the papers discuss general aspects of artistic expression in Archaic Athens from the perspective of the individual artist: Amasis. The implications of the name Amasis, his connection to Exekias’s oeuvre, Amasis and 6th-century trade, and the elements of narrative and realism in Amasis’ work are among the issues explored. The final chapter offers an invaluable overview of almost 200 years of connoisseurship.

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            Red-Figure Vase Painting

            The diminishing interest in connoisseurship also affected the study of red-figure vase painters, although relatively recent work has been dedicated to the oeuvre and style of important artists such as Euphronios (Aulenti 1990), the Berlin Painter (Kurtz 1983), or the Meidias Painter (Burn 1987). More and more, images in red-figure vase painting (or on black-figure vases, for that matter) are studied almost exclusively from an iconographical point of view. Vases and their figural decoration are considered visual evidence for social, religious, or historical phenomena and not as the product of an individual artistic personality. In this respect, there seems to be a discrepancy between the study of Greek sculpture and that of vase painting.

            • Aulenti, Gae, ed. 1990. Euphronios, peintre à Athènes au sixième siècle avant J.-C. Musée du Louvre, Paris, 18 septembre– 31 décembre 1990. Paris: Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux.

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              This catalogue of an exhibition at the Louvre (seen a year later in Berlin) explores the oeuvre of Euphronios and his career as painter and potter. The most prominent representative of the so-called Pioneers is also discussed in comparison with the other members of this innovative group of Athenian artists. Together with the catalogue to the Berlin exhibition (Euphronios der Maler [Milan: Fabbri, 1991]), this study represents the last large retrospective on Euphronios’s work. The illustrations, the distribution maps, and the chronological tables are extremely helpful.

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            • Boardman, John. 1975. Athenian red figure vases: The Archaic period, a handbook. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              This volume follows the basic structure of Boardman 1974 on Athenian black-figure vase painting, with a mixture of chapters arranged chronologically and more thematically conceived ones that discuss vase shapes, iconography, and so on. Individual painters of Archaic red-figure vases are discussed briefly (at times too briefly) and are always placed in a broader context. Sometimes the suggested interconnections between decorative themes and everyday real life are too speculative.

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            • Boardman, John. 1989. Athenian red figure vases: The Classical period, a handbook. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              This volume complements Boardman 1975 and presents a concise chronological and stylistic overview of Athenian red-figure vase painting from 480 to 310 BCE. Although the author’s preference for 5th-century vases is obvious, he manages to show that there was no real break in the early 4th century, but just a gradual decline in production. Occasionally, the interrelationship between monumental painting and developments in Early and High Classical red-figure vase painting is overemphasized. The brief discussion of the shift from mythological scenes to cult and everyday life themes is invaluable.

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            • Burn, Lucilla. 1987. The Meidias Painter. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              A monograph devoted to one of the most significant red-figure painters in late 5th-century Athens, the Meidias Painter and his workshop. Only the first chapter, however, discusses style; the rest of the book is dedicated to meticulous iconographic analyses of the topics the painter decided to illustrate, such as Aphrodite and her world, various heroes and legendary musicians, or nonmythological themes associated with women’s lives. Based on an impressive knowledge of the literary sources, the study firmly places the Meidias Painter and his workshop within a broader historical and intellectual context.

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            • Kurtz, Donna C. 1983. The Berlin Painter. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              The title is a little misleading, since this is not simply a monographic study of one of the most prolific Late Archaic red-figure painters, but equally an appreciation of Beazley’s Morellian analysis of the “Master of the Berlin Amphora,” based on original drawings by the British scholar. Nonetheless, two lengthy chapters are devoted to detailed stylistic analyses of the treatment of human anatomy and the dress of male as well as female figures in the oeuvre of the Berlin Painter.

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            • Robertson, Martin. 1992. The art of vase-painting in Classical Athens. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              The title of this highly informative book is rather misleading: almost half of it is devoted to Late Archaic vase painting, mainly red-figure. Although the structure is clearly chronological, there is an obvious attempt to avoid exact dates for individual objects. The study offers an explicit homage to and defense of Beazley’s Morellian approach to the study of vase painting based on the appreciation of red-figure vase painters’ artistic personalities, oeuvre, and styles.

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            • Trendall, Arthur D. 1989. Red-figure vases of south Italy and Sicily: A handbook. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              The only concise presentation of the five workshops of south Italian and Sicilian pottery: Apulian, Campanian, Lucanian, Paestan, and Sicilian. Relations with Athenian pottery (in terms of vase shapes) and vase painting (in terms of iconography) are briefly discussed, but not overemphasized. Although the greater part of the book is devoted to the style and themes of vases produced in these five workshops, Trendall also tries to associate specific historical events with their development (e.g., the start of the Sicilian workshop is connected to the Athenian expedition in 415 BCE).

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            White-Ground Vase Painting

            The study of white-ground vase painting has long focused on funerary lekythoi (Kurtz 1975), which form a closed group both chronologically and geographically, for they were produced only in Athens during the 5th century. Several monographs have been dedicated to individual painters who worked in the white-ground polychrome technique (e.g., Kavvadias 2000). While questions of individual styles, favorite vase shapes, decorative motifs, and various painting techniques have always been central in scholarly attention (Wehgartner 1983), the iconography and iconology of the scenes depicted on funerary lekythoi have only recently been dealt with in monographs. Thanks to the delicate drawing style and the polychrome decoration, white-ground vases offer a glimpse of the lost masterpieces of Greek painting.

            • Kavvadias, Giorgos. 2000. O Zôgrafos tou Sabouroff. Athens: TAPA.

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              This richly illustrated volume is the only treatment of the so-called Sabouroff Painter and also the most recent monograph dedicated to a painter of white-ground vases. Since it discusses the entire oeuvre of the Sabouroff Painter, red-figure vases are also included. Kavvadias attributes a total of 323 vases to this painter. The study is clearly structured, discussing in separate chapters the vase shapes preferred by the painter and floral as well as geometric ornament. The main section is devoted to figurative representations. The catalogue is brief and well structured. The chronological division of the painter’s career into Early, Middle, Transitional, and Late phases appears too mechanical and conservative, but does help the reader understand the development of the painter’s style.

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            • Kurtz, Donna C. 1975. Athenian white lekythoi: Patterns and painters. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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              This book concentrates on floral patterns and motifs used as decorative elements on white-ground lekythoi, and not on the subjects, funerary or otherwise, depicted on the vases. The stylistic evolution of “peripheral” decorative features such as lotuses or palmettes is meticulously traced through the various Athenian workshops and used as a starting point to discuss more complex questions, such as the relationship between workshop and individual painter, or between potter and painter. See also the complementary study, in terms of the vase shapes discussed, of Joan R. Mertens, Attic white-ground: Its development on shapes other than lekythoi (New York: Garland, 1977).

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            • Wehgartner, Irma. 1983. Attisch weissgrundige Keramik: Maltechniken, Werkstätten, Formen, Verwendung. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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              A welcome overview of Athenian white-ground vase painting from a technical point of view. Important issues such as the role of glaze, the use of outline and relief line, the various ceramic and non-ceramic colors, and the variety of vase shapes decorated in the white-ground technique are discussed in depth. The study associates Nikosthenes with the introduction of the white-ground technique. In terms of style, it discusses the changing interplay between line and color until polychromy expired at the end of the 5th century BCE.

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            Painting

            Thanks to spectacular findings from Crete, the Greek mainland (Immerwahr 1990), and especially the small island of Thera (Doumas 1992), our knowledge of Bronze Age Aegean wall painting is excellent. In contrast, the masterpieces that Greek painters such as Polygnotos, Zeuxis, or Apelles created are incontrovertibly lost. Recent finds in Macedonia (Andronikos 1994, Miller 1993, Saatsoglou-Paliadeli 2004), however, allow an evaluation of Greek painting based on primary evidence and not through the eyes of Greek or Latin authors. Nonetheless, the study of Greek painting remains an art-historical field that demands solid philological training (Rouveret 1989). Scholars far too speculatively try to reconstruct the Greek originals based on Roman wall painting and the descriptions offered by ancient authors. The Roman author Pliny the Elder (Naturalis historia 35) is the most important source for any in-depth study of Greek painting. Actually, Pliny delivers the first art-historical discussion of painting: he discusses chronologically the most important Greek painters, names their main works, and describes their artistic achievements and their stylistic evolution. For further discussion of ancient authors’ attitudes toward ancient painting, consult the collection of texts in Reinach 1985.

            • Andronikos, Manolis. 1994. Vergina II: The “Tomb of Persephone.” Athens: Archaeological Society at Athens.

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              The first comprehensive monograph on the wall paintings in the royal “Tomb of Persephone” at Vergina. After a brief description of the tumulus and the cist grave, the book discusses in detail the style and iconography of the frieze, visible on the east, north, and south walls, showing the rape of Persephone. Unfortunately, the semantics of the depicted mythological narrative—even if the death connotations of the Persephone myth are all too obvious—is discussed in four pages. Nevertheless, the book remains a major contribution in the study of Greek painting of the later 4th century.

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            • Doumas, Christos. 1992. The wall-paintings of Thera. Athens: Thera Foundation.

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              The most concise and comprehensive presentation of the magnificent wall paintings from Bronze Age Thera. The introductory texts and the descriptions are brief and do not offer detailed discussions of problems of technique, style, form, or iconography, although all these issues are touched on. The strength of the book lies in the excellent photographs, which allow the reader to deal independently with the material presented.

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            • Immerwahr, Sara A. 1990. Aegean painting in the Bronze Age. University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

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              The first, and so far the only, handbook on Bronze Age wall painting in the Aegean (Mycenaean pictorial pottery and the Tanagra larnakes are also briefly discussed). Important issues are clearly presented, such as historical and geographical contexts, the techniques applied, the chronology and its problems, and the origins of wall painting. The main interest lies, however, in the careful analysis of the regional styles that can be identified as Minoan, Mycenaean, and Cycladic, and in the definition of similarities, discrepancies, and interdependencies among them.

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            • Lydakis, Stelios. 2004. Ancient Greek painting and its echoes in later art. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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              The most up-to-date introduction to ancient Greek painting and its later reception, especially in Renaissance and Baroque art. Chronologically, the study starts with Minoan and Mycenaean wall paintings and also discusses vase painting. Owing to the lack of material evidence, the chapters on individual Greek painters are based on literary sources. In this context, the “re-creation” of Greek paintings by artists such as Penni, van Winghe, Vleughels, or Tiepolo becomes perhaps the most important part of the book. However, the volume’s approach to Roman art and to its relation to Greek art is judgmental and thus problematic.

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            • Miller, Stella G. 1993. The tomb of Lyson and Kallikles: A painted Macedonian tomb. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

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              A major contribution to the study of Greek painting and tomb architecture. The paintings of Macedonian arms and armor in the main chamber of the famous tomb at Lefkadia are of special interest not only for art historians but also for military historians. The book addresses important questions regarding the so-called Painted Architectural Style in Macedonia and the possible interconnections between the use of illusionistic painted architecture in northern Greece and Rome or Campania. In her caution regarding a direct connection between Macedonia and the Roman Second Style, Miller is definitely right.

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            • Reinach, Adolphe. 1985. Textes grecs et latins, relatifs à l’histoire de la peinture ancienne. New edition with introduction and notes by Agnès Rouveret. Paris: Macula.

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              An invaluable tool that brings together and organizes the ancient literary sources on Greek painting in clearly defined chapters. The main parts of the book are devoted to 5th and 4th century painting, the principal Greek painters, and important regional schools, such as those in Athens, Thebes, and Sicyon. Separate chapters present the literary evidence on Greek painting in the Age of Alexander and the Diadochs.

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            • Rouveret, Agnès. 1989. Histoire et imaginaire de la peinture ancienne (Ve siècle av. J.-C.–Ier siècle ap. J.-C.). Rome: École Française de Rome.

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              This extremely learned introduction to ancient painting, originally published in 1921, sheds light on the ways ancient authors described and appreciated the technical and stylistic aspects of Greek paintings of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. In a separate section (chapters 4 and 5) dedicated to the material evidence, the volume focuses on wall paintings from Macedonia, Rome, and the Campanian cities, although painted stelai from Macedonia, Thessaly, and Egypt are also briefly addressed. The last and perhaps most interesting section discusses the intellectual influence of Stoic philosophical ideas on Hellenistic and Roman art criticism.

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            • Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, Chrysoula. 2004. Vergina, O táphos tou Philíppou: I toikhographia me to kunígi. Athens: Archaeological Society at Athens.

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              The first in-depth monograph on the famous Ionic frieze with the depiction of an idealized hunting scene. The monumental painting decorates the Doric façade of a royal Macedonian tomb at Vergina, usually identified with the grave of Philip II. After presenting the architectural features of the tomb and its façade, it focuses on the meticulous analysis of the technical aspects of production, the style, and the iconography and iconology of the wall painting. The attribution of the painting to Aristeides II is definitely worth thinking about, but perhaps too speculative.

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            • Scheibler, Ingeborg. 1994. Griechische Malerei der Antike. Munich: Beck.

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              A well-structured introduction to Greek painting, offering both an archaeological and an art-historical analysis of techniques, materials used, themes represented, and functions of paintings. Because the vast majority of paintings have not survived, the study is heavily based on literary sources that reveal the attitudes of Greeks and Romans toward painters and monumental painting. Archaeologically, mainly paintings on clay, stone, and wood as well as murals are considered. Lost masterpieces are discussed on the basis of their possible reflection in contemporary vase painting (a much-debated assumption) and especially in Roman wall paintings. See also Paolo Moreno, Pittura greca da Polignoto ad Apelle (Milan: Mondadori, 1987).

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            Varia

            Greek art cannot possibly be reduced to sculpture, vase painting, and painting, although these three fields do represent the focal points of scholarly interest. However, the study of mosaics, jewelry, and terracotta figurines also engages the firm interests of art historians and classical archaeologists alike. Coins used to be viewed through the lens of “high” art, but numismatics has become a separate field of research relevant for both art-historical and historical approaches. Pictorial graffiti have never attracted much attention and were usually published by epigraphers together with textual graffiti. Recent art-historical scholarship has, however, shed new light on the importance of pictorial graffiti for the understanding of nonverbal communication in Antiquity.

            Mosaics

            The study of Greek mosaics suffers from the relatively low number of preserved examples, and especially from the fact that most mosaics are considered a reflection of monumental painting. In addition, discussions of Greek mosaics are far behind the much more numerous and more sophisticated studies of Roman mosaics, and introductory studies usually deal both with Greek and Roman examples (Dunbabin 1999). Greek and Roman mosaics are a perfect example of the fact that the preserved evidence often dictates the direction of scholarship.

            • Dunbabin, Katherine M.D. 1999. Mosaics of the Greek and Roman world. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              An authoritative introduction to mosaics in the Greco-Roman world that will remain a standard scholarly reference impossible to surpass for years to come. Owing to the available evidence, the major part is devoted to Roman mosaics, but two chapters discuss pebble mosaics, the invention of tessera mosaics, and Hellenistic mosaics in the East. In the part devoted to Roman mosaics, evidence from Imperial Greece is also discussed. The emphasis clearly lies on pictorial subjects and far less on geometric mosaics.

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            • Westgate, Ruth. 1997–1998. Greek mosaics in their architectural and social context. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 42:93–115.

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              A purely contextual analysis of Greek mosaics.

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            Coins

            Coins are one of those hybrid artistic categories that are studied by art historians and archaeologists on one hand, and by specialists (here, numismatists) on the other (Kraay 1976), although numismatics is a separate field with its own questions and methodologies.

            • Imhoof-Blumer, Friedrich. 1964. Ancient coins illustrating lost masterpieces of Greek art. New enlarged ed. Chicago: Argonaut.

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              In the past, and occasionally still today, images of statues on coins have been studied as a direct visual reflection of lost masterpieces, a methodologically problematic assumption in the tradition of this work. Despite its outdated approach, the book remains a very useful tool, for it collects the evidence on statues in Pausanias’ work and presents coins—mainly from the collections of the British Museum—decorated with representations of sculpture.

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            • Kraay, Colin M. 1966. Greek coins. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              An invaluable, geographically ordered introduction to Greek coinage. Although the introductory chapter, the individual discussions of specific scholarly issues such as chronology or hoards, and the descriptions are authoritative and readily comprehensible even for nonspecialists, the real strength of the book lies in the 1,349 illustrations by Max Hirmer, which are of the highest quality. The magnification allows the user to see and appreciate details that would otherwise be easily missed. The fact that not a single bronze coin is depicted reveals, however, the clearly aesthetic approach to the material.

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            • Kraay, Colin M. 1976. Archaic and Classical Greek coins. London: Methuen.

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              A more scholarly introduction to ancient Greek coinage than Kraay 1966. The division of the material is geographical and chronological, starting with the earliest mints in Asia Minor and then discussing the succeeding developments in mainland Greece, the Aegean islands, the Greek colonies in southern Italy and Sicily, and finally the Greek East. The approach is less art historical than in Kraay 1966, and iconographical or iconological issues are often addressed with more caution than necessary. For the nonspecialist, the discussions of technical processes, weight standards, and denominations are very useful.

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            Jewelry

            Owing to illicit excavations, the study of Greek jewelry has to deal far too often with objects that are without context, so that in most cases a stylistic analysis and appreciation of the objects can be achieved (Williams and Odgen 1994), but not their placement in a firm historical frame. Furtwängler 1900 stands at the beginning of every subsequent appreciation of this artistic medium, while Boardman 2001 is the best current introduction to this field.

            • Boardman, John. 2001. Greek gems and finger rings: Early Bronze Age to Late Classical. Expanded ed. London: Thames and Hudson.

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              The expanded edition of the 1970 original, and the most authoritative introduction to the study of gems and finger rings from the Minoan-Mycenaean to the Late Classical period. Despite its title, an all too brief chapter is dedicated to the evidence from the Hellenistic and early Imperial periods. An additional chapter written for the new edition summarizes the study of gems and finger rings between 1970 and 2000 and is accompanied by a catalogue as well as illustrations of sixty objects. It is perhaps unfortunate that the new expanded edition did not grasp the opportunity to discuss the Hellenistic period more intensively, but this does not lessen the value of this monumental work.

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            • Furtwängler, Adolf. 1900. Antike Gemmen: Geschichte der Steinschneiderkunst im klassischen Altertum. Leipzig: Giesecke and Devrient.

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              A magisterial study of ancient gems. Republished in 2000 as a CD-ROM (Göttingen: Duehrkohp and Radicke).

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            • Williams, Dyfri, and Jack Odgen. 1994. Greek gold: Jewellery of the Classical world. London: British Museum.

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              Catalogue of an exhibition at the British Museum. Although the real strength of the book is the excellent photographs, the introductory texts by Williams are very informative and give a brief overview of materials used, techniques of production, typology, iconography as well as function of Greek jewelry. The volume is arranged geographically according to find-spots, so that at times it is unclear whether a find-spot should be identified with a place of production. However, the issues of imported materials, emigrant goldsmiths, and artistic influence are addressed throughout.

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            Coroplastic

            A field of research that has always attracted much well-deserved attention is the study of terracotta figurines. The appeal of the famous Tanagra figurines (Jeammet 2007) to artists and collectors across Europe in the 19th century gave birth to the scientific study of Greek terracotta production. Three of the most important collections are housed in the British Museum (British Museum 1954–2008), the Antikensammlung in Berlin, and the Louvre. Terracotta figurines have been studied as objects of art, as evidence for trade contact, or as reflections of monumental sculpture. In addition, they have been analyzed according to their function in settlements, sanctuaries, or cemeteries.

            • British Museum. 1954–2008. Catalogue of Greek terracottas in the British Museum. 4 vols. London: British Museum.

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              One of the biggest and most important collections of Greek terracottas is housed in the British Museum. In an admirable, multivolume project, the material has been published in four different monographs arranged in chronological order. The first two are dedicated to terracotta figurines and plastic vases of the Archaic and Classical periods, the third focuses on Hellenistic terracottas, and the fourth is devoted to Ptolemaic and Roman terracottas from Egypt (a region excluded from the third). Some of the photographs are too small, but the excellent descriptions always deliver the needed information. Thanks to the richness and variety of the collection and the scholarly thoroughness of the volumes, this work will remain a standard reference for years to come.

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            • Jeammet, Violaine, ed. 2007. Tanagras: De l’objet de collection à l’objet archéologique. Actes du colloque organisé par le Musée du Louvre à la Bibliothèque Nationale de France le 22 novembre 2003. Paris: Picard.

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              This volume contains nine well-informed and thoroughly researched articles that address important issues regarding the so-called Tanagra figurines. It originated in a conference organized in the context of an exhibition at the Louvre dedicated to this important type of terracotta figurines (Tanagra: Mythe et archéologie, 2003, Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2003). The papers discuss function, various interpretations, technical aspects of production, and the diffusion of Tanagra figurines. Four papers are explicitly dedicated to recent archaeological excavations that discovered Tanagra figurines: Tanagra, Thebes, Klaros, and Macedonia.

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            Graffiti

            A field that owes much to recent theoretical approaches to nonverbal communication through images is the study of ancient graffiti. Owing to the concentration on purportedly higher artistic expression, figural graffiti have been neglected and were normally published by epigraphers. A recent monograph on ancient graffiti (Langner 2001) will, it is hoped, initiate a shift in the appreciation of the genre and put an end to the entirely outdated concept of “beautiful” art.

            • Langner, Martin. 2001. Antike Graffitizeichnungen: Motive, Gestaltung und Bedeutung. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert.

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              Although textual graffiti have often been part of scholarly discussion, this the first comprehensive monograph on figural graffiti and their value as visual evidence for the Greco-Roman Lebenswelt. The book concentrates on the graffiti from Pompeii, but almost the entire Mediterranean is covered in an occasionally too summary way. The approach is both art historical (thorough discussion of motifs and iconography) and contextual (interrelation between figural graffiti and architectural setting). The accompanying CD-ROM containing the entire catalogue has, unfortunately, been rendered almost unusable by the rapid development of software since its publication.

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            Iconography and Iconology

            The study of Greek art started as the study of masters and masterpieces. However, since the 1970s a shift toward a more contextual analysis of images has become increasingly obvious. In the past, the questions raised did not consider the style and artistic evolution of sculptors or vase painters, but rather the ways images functioned as signs in their historical context. Far too speculatively, however, images were interpreted as exact mirrors, mere illustrations of religious, social, or political phenomena. Recent iconological studies have shown beyond doubt that Greek imagery had its own rules and should not be read as a literal reflection of reality. It is impossible to deal here with the wide range of iconographic and iconological studies, but some topics should be stressed. The importance of religion, death, and the human body in ancient everyday life is reflected in the sheer number of images that take exactly these subjects as their central themes. Subsequently, modern scholarship started relatively early to investigate the imagery of death, festivals, rituals, myths, or the visualization of the divine. The conceptualized human body as artistic impulse and violence as a frequent impetus for the creation of art are topics that attracted scholarly attention later.

            Festival and Ritual

            The important position that religious life had in Greek Antiquity is reflected in the fact that the majority of iconological studies discuss images that are tightly associated with festivals (Simon 1983) and concrete rituals such as processions or sacrifices (Gebauer 2002, van Straten 1995). The interest in the iconography of the female and the well-known preeminent role of women in Greek religion has led to recent evaluations of the imagery of Greek priestesses (Connelly 2007).

            • Connelly, Joan Breton. 2007. Portrait of a priestess: Women and ritual in ancient Greece. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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              The most up-to-date collection and analysis of material related to the role of priestesses in Greek religious and social life. Although the main focus is on the visual and archaeological evidence, literary sources and epigraphic material are also amply used, so that a holistic picture can be reconstructed. The book will certainly remain the most important reference for iconographic and iconological analyses of representations of priestesses in vase painting, sculpture in the round, and relief. See also Alexandros G. Mantis, Problémata tes eikonographías tôn iereiôn kai tôn iereôn sten arkhaia elleniké tékhne. Athens: TAPA, 1990.

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            • Gebauer, Jörg. 2002. Pompe und Thysia: Attische Tieropferdastellungen auf schwarz- und rotfigurigen Vasen. Münster: Ugarit.

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              A meticulous iconographic analysis of depictions of sacrificial rituals on black- and red-figure vases. More than 550 vases are discussed in the catalogue and used as the basis for understanding how vase painters composed sacrificial scenes. The study demonstrates that such depictions were definitely not free artistic creations, but instead unrealistically constructed compositions combining specific typified figures. The ambiguity of the scenes is explained as a means to allow potential buyers to project their own concepts on the depictions. Together with van Straten 1995, this is a reference for the iconography of Greek sacrifice. For a sociological and more holistic approach, see Heike Laxander, Individuum und Gesellschaft im Fest: Untersuchung zu attischen Darstellungen von Festgeschehen im 6. und frühen 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Münster: Scriptorium, 2000).

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            • Simon, Erika. 1983. Festivals of Attica: An archaeological commentary. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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              The volume collects visual evidence, mainly images on vases, for several Athenian festivals. However, the title is misleading, since only three Attic festivals are discussed, and the book focuses almost exclusively on images and ignores, for example, the topographical evidence or the information produced by archaeological excavations. Nonetheless, it offers invaluable insight into the visualization of some Athenian cults and festivals (the chapter on the Parthenon frieze is especially stimulating).

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            • van Straten, Folkert T. 1995. Hiera kala: Images of animal sacrifice in Archaic and Classical Greece. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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              Meticulously collects and discusses the visual evidence (mainly vase painting and votive reliefs, but also pinakes, statues, and statuettes) for animal sacrifice in Greece. Owing to the material available, the chronological focus lies on the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. The iconographic and iconological analysis concentrates on stages of the sacrificial process identified as “pre-kill,” “the killing,” and “post-kill.” Together with Gebauer 2002, the volume is an indispensable tool for all those interested in the imagery of Greek cult.

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            Cult Images

            A topic that increasingly attracts attention from ancient historians (Scheer 2000), archaeologists (Donohue 1988), and art historians (Damaskos 1999, Oenbrink 1997) is the notion, form, and function of cult images in Greek Antiquity. Most scholarship on divine images, whether textual or material in orientation, has focused on cult statues. But in itself this focus uncritically reified a term that never existed in antiquity. The ambiguous modern terminology and the lack of clear-cut ancient definitions for religious statuary continue to create fascinating scholarly problems. From a purely art-historical perspective, scholarship still lacks the theoretical tools for the identification of divine images that served in antiquity as images of cult. Regardless of the terminological problematic, scholarship recognizes divine images as important visual media in the religious and intellectual discourses of Greco-Roman Antiquity (Mylonopoulos 2009).

            • Damaskos, Dimitris. 1999. Untersuchungen zu Hellenistischen Kultbildern. Stuttgart: Steiner.

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              A detailed study of Hellenistic cult statues of divinities, deified rulers, and Late Hellenistic citizens in Asia Minor, the Greek mainland, and the Aegean islands. It is based on a meticulous collection of the relevant textual and archaeological material. Important issues for the study of Hellenistic sculpture in general are addressed throughout: the topographical setting of images, patrons of sculptors, methodological problems in the use of images on coins for the reconstruction of originals, the relation of Hellenistic to Classical cult statues, and the status of the sculpture industry and the individual sculptor in the Hellenistic period. A serious flaw is that it is very poorly illustrated.

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            • Donohue, Alice A. 1988. Xoana and the origins of Greek sculpture. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

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              An authoritative study of xoana and their role in the early stages of Greek sculpture. It convincingly argues against the long-held assumption that all xoana were aniconic or half-aniconic wooden cult statues, which represented an early quasi-primitive phase in the visualization of the divine. The book also demonstrates that some important questions in ancient Greek art history can only be answered based on a thorough knowledge of the ancient sources, for the study is exclusively based on the epigraphic and literary evidence (403 ancient testimonia are collected and translated in an extremely useful appendix).

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            • Mylonopoulos, Ioannis, ed. 2009. Divine images and human imaginations in ancient Greece and Rome. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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              This collective volume defines the process of visualization as one of the most important instruments in the construction of the divine in ancient Greece and Rome. For the illiterates, images were, together with oral tradition and ritual, the only possibility of approaching the idea of the divine; for the intellectuals, images of the gods could be allegorically transcended symbols to reflect on. Based on the art-historical and textual evidence, the volume offers a fresh view of the historical, literary, and artistic significance of divine images as powerful visual media of religious and intellectual communication.

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            • Oenbrink, Werner. 1997. Das Bild im Bilde: Zur Darstellung von Götterstatuen und Kultbildern auf griechischen Vasen. Frankfurt: Lang.

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              The most comprehensive analysis of representations of statues of divine and heroic figures on Greek vases. Based on a meticulous catalogue, the book studies the iconography and iconology of cult images and their reception in vase painting. A very important issue is the level of interdependency between the statues in the round and their reflections in vase painting: Was this free reinvention of a visual sign or slavish rendering of the original? See also Monica De Cesare, Le statue in immagine: Studi sulle raffigurazioni di statue nella pittura vascolare greca (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1997).

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            • Scheer, Tanja S. 2000. Die Gottheit und ihr Bild: Untersuchungen zur Funktion griechischer Kultbilder in Religion und Politik. Munich: Beck.

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              Although not interested in art-historical or archaeological questions, its topic—images of cult—touches on one of the most important issues discussed in disciplines generally interested in the material and visual aspects of Greek culture: the conceptualization of divine beings, their anthropomorphism, their uses, and their functions. For art historians, the chapters dedicated to the ambiguous ancient Greek terminology for the description of what is today simplistically called “cult statue” and to the modern distinction between cult and dedicated images are extremely important. See also Simona Bettinetti, La statua di culto nella pratica rituale greca (Bari: Levante, 2001).

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            Myth

            Myths are the preeminent topic for both ancient Greek art and literature. Since the dawn of Greek art, artists, especially vase painters, sought to depict the rich mythological traditions of their time. Recent scholarship has recognized that vase painters did not simply transform myths into literal illustrations of oral traditions, but instead reinvented myths very much as did the tragedians of Classical Athens (Giuliani 2003, Woodford 2003). Between the vase painter and the oral tradition very often stood the reinvention of specific myths through the performative medium of theater (Taplin 2007). How inventive vase painters interacted with mythological traditions is clearly demonstrated in those cases where artists approached myths with a satirical attitude (Walsh 2009). Regardless of the level of interdependence between myths and art, any in-depth evaluation of the iconography and iconology of ancient Greek art presupposes an exhaustive knowledge of Greek mythology.

            • Barringer, Judith M. 2008. Art, myth, and ritual in Classical Greece. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              This book studies myths and mythological narratives as subjects for visual large-scale representation. Vase painting is considered only in a comparative sense, and the study focuses on sculpture in the round and architectural sculpture. Individual sites such as Olympia, the Athenian Acropolis and Agora, Delphi, and Trysa, as well as the artistic expressions and uses of myth in these specific spatial contexts, are discussed. At times one misses the more holistic approach of Giuliani 2003 and Woodford 2003. The most important aspect discussed here is missing from the title: the construction of memory through the visualization (and reinvention) of myth.

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            • Giuliani, Luca. 2003. Bild und Mythos: Geschichte der Bilderzählung in der griechischen Kunst. Munich: Beck.

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              The most important question raised and analyzed in this study concerns the interrelations between images and poetry, between form and content. Following a roughly chronological pattern, the book identifies the exact mythological motifs that Greek vase painters decided to depict. However, vase painters did not simply illustrate myths, they visually reinvented them. Thus, interdependencies and discrepancies between visual and textual traditions lie at the center of this study. It seems that the more myths were transformed into texts, the more images lost their vitality and became mere illustrations of fixed written traditions.

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            • Schefold, Karl. 1978–1989. [1] Götter- und Heldensagen der Griechen in der spätarchaischen Kunst; [2] Die Göttersage in der klassischen und hellenistischen Kunst; [3] Götter- und Heldensagen der Griechen in der Früh- und Hocharchaischen Kunst; [4] Die Urkönige, Perseus, Bellerophon, Herakles und Theseus in der klassischen und hellenistischen Kunst; [5] Die Sagen von den Argonauten, von Theben und Troja in der klassischen und hellenistischen Kunst. Munich: Hirmer.

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              These five volumes are the most authoritative survey of Greek myths and their depiction in art. Even if one disagrees on the degree to which ancient artists were dependent on literary sources, these well-illustrated volumes demonstrate how deep was the interrelation among oral, written, and visual traditions. Thanks to the thematic structure, the popularity of specific mythological figures or narratives becomes immediately apparent, while the fact that interpretations and uses of myths in art significantly changed over time and place is stressed throughout all five volumes. Although many of the objects discussed originate in Athenian culture, all volumes refreshingly try to avoid obvious “Athenocentrism.” (Vol. 1 has been translated by Alan Griffiths as Gods and heroes in late archaic Greek art, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992.)

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            • Taplin, Oliver. 2007. Pots and plays: Interactions between tragedy and Greek vase-painting of the fourth century B.C. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications.

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              The most recent survey of the interrelation between tragedy and the representation of specific mythological narratives on Apulian 4th-century vases that were best understood in antiquity through the knowledge of a given tragedy. This well-structured and richly illustrated study presents scenes of myths on vases and the relevant texts arranged according to the Athenian authorship of the tragedies. Even if some scenes were definitely influenced by oral traditions or written sources other than tragedies, Taplin presents a fascinating picture of myths inspiring art after their transformation into literature. See also Arthur Trendall and Thomas Webster, Illustrations of Greek drama (London: Phaidon, 1971).

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            • Walsh, David. 2009. Distorted ideals in Greek vase-painting: The world of mythological burlesque. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              An important book looking at the iconography and use of mythological narratives in vase painting from a specific vantage point: the study does not discuss “serious” representations of myths, but focuses on images that present Greek gods and heroes as ridiculous and ugly. The images used as evidence are mainly found on the so-called Komos vases from Corinth, the puzzling Kabeirion group, and the so-called Phlyax vases. Although the keen analysis of the iconography of Greek humor is a significant contribution, the discussion of the burlesque images against their social and religious background is even more fascinating.

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            • Woodford, Susan. 2003. Images of myths in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              Although this volume discusses myths and their representation in art from a definite art-historical perspective, the multidisciplinary approach demonstrates an unbiased picture of the interrelationship between textual and visual evidence for myths in the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan worlds. The author addresses important issues of the literary and visual composition of scenes, their visual recognizability, the interdependency of poets and artists, the innovative ways artists could reinvent mythological stories, and the factors that led artists to represent only specific moments of larger mythological narratives.

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            Body

            Despite the omnipresent bodily aspects of Greek art, the body as a social and visual construct has rarely been the topic of monographic studies. In this respect, the work of Nikolaus Himmelmann cannot be praised highly enough (Himmelmann 1990). Thanks to the sophisticated and theoretically informed studies of Andrew Stewart, the visual construction of the body has found a firm place in English-language scholarship (Stewart 1997).

            • Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 1990. Ideale Nacktheit in der griechischen Kunst. Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaäologischen Instituts, Supp. 26. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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              One can agree or disagree with the interpretations suggested in this volume, but it definitely is a seminal discussion of Greek male nudity in art and its semantics from the late 8th to the 4th century BCE. Male nudity is identified as a polyvalent visual signifier associated with an ethically elevated heroic, Homeric ideal. The nudity of the male body is conceptualized as an aesthetic and symbolic means for the social enhancement of the depicted figure.

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            • Stewart, Andrew. 1997. Art, desire, and the body in ancient Greece. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              Compared to Himmelmann 1990 and its focus on nudity, the present volume deals more generally with the visual conceptualization of body and gender as physical reality and social construct. The approach is clearly art historical, but as with other studies by Stewart, knowledge of the historical context and the textual evidence is admirably used to create a broader intellectual background for the artistic expression. See also Maria Wyke, ed., Gender and the body in the ancient Mediterranean (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998) and Francis Prost and Jérôme Wilgaux, eds., Penser et représenter le corps dans l’antiquité (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006).

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            Violence

            Greek art is usually associated with beauty, symmetry, and formal perfection. However, both the historical context that led to the creation of artistic expressions in various media and the majority of topics Greek artists chose to depict clearly demonstrate the violent “origins” of Greek art (Fischer and Moraw 2005). Furthermore, violence in art was a sophisticated way to create and demolish the image of dangerous otherness (Muth 2008).

            • Fischer, Günter, and Susanne Moraw, eds. 2005. Die andere Seite der Klassik: Gewalt im 5. und 4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.

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              A collection of excellent essays illuminating both mythological and real violence in Classical Antiquity. Most of the papers are based on the visual evidence, mainly images on Attic red-figure vases, so that geographically there is too obvious a focus on 5th- and 4th-century Athens. The question of how closely the images mirror social reality could have been asked more often. Nonetheless, the individual papers touch upon fascinating issues, such as the visualization of violence, the iconography of victors and losers, murderous mothers and their image in art and literature, violence and love, and violence and the definition of gender.

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            • Muth, Susanne. 2008. Gewalt im Bild: Das Phänomen der medialen Gewalt im Athen des 6. und 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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              A study of images of violence as possible historical evidence of ancient attitudes toward ferocity. The focus is on warlike violence, including representations of both mythical and historical fights and battles. According to the author, violent images cannot be seen as evidence for a visual judgmental discourse about violence, but rather one about superiority and agonal ethos. The attitude toward a too-literal historical interpretation of images of violence is rather negative. See also Matthias Recke, Gewalt und Leid: Das Bild des Krieges bei den Athenern im 6. und 5. Jh. v. Chr. (Istanbul: Yayinlari, 2002).

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            Death

            The sheer beauty of funerary white-ground lekythoi and grave reliefs, but also the unbroken, almost philosophical interest in death, led to studies on the iconography and iconology of death (Oakley 2004). The emotional aspects of death and their expression in Greek art represent more recent fields of interest in art historical studies (Sojc 2005) and deserve further research.

            • Oakley, John H. 2004. Picturing death in Classical Athens: The evidence of the white lekythoi. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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              The first comprehensive study of the iconography and iconology of white-ground lekythoi. After a brief overview of the archaeological context, the painting techniques, the major painters, and the chronological problems, the book concentrates on four major scene types that decorate this category of vases: so-called domestic scenes, the prothesis, mythological narratives, and the visit to the grave. In the iconological part, the aspect of visual and semantic ambiguity is addressed as an important element of the depicted scenes. See also the more general study of Emily Vermeule, Aspects of death in early Greek art and poetry (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).

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            • Sojc, Natascha. 2005. Trauer auf attischen Grabreliefs: Frauendarstellungen zwischen Ideal und Wirklichkeit. Berlin: Reimer.

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              Although not always convincing, this volume challenges the traditional hypothesis that Classical funerary reliefs express only the male view of women and female life. Based on comparison with scenes on white-ground lekythoi, Sojc places 4th-century grave reliefs in a broader (Athenian) visual tradition. The composition of funerary reliefs is analyzed from an iconological perspective in order to understand, for example, the semantics of the centrally sitting female. Grave reliefs can sometimes shed light on individuals, but more often use easily comprehensible visual stereotypes. The iconography of mourning in vase painting has been brilliantly discussed by Alan H. Shapiro, “The iconography of mourning in Athenian art,” American Journal of Archaeology 95 (1991): 629–656.

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            LAST MODIFIED: 12/14/2009

            DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195389661-0088

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