Institute of Archaeology

Painting and Society in Archaic and Classical Greece

This course explores the development of archaic and classical Greek wall and panel painting: its early indebtedness to Egyptian and Near eastern traditions and its extraordinary transformation in the classical city state, with the development of optical naturalism (The Greek Revolution).

We will seek to place innovations in the forms and contents of painting in the context of the social and political uses of painting – history painting, theatrical painting, funerary painting – and transformations in religious and intellectual culture (colour symbolism, philosophy, optical science). A range of approaches – art historical, archaeological, sociological – will be taken to the materials in question, which range from the archaic Greek paintings of Turkey and Southern Italy to the stunning classical frescoes from the Royal Tombs of Macedon which have transformed our understanding of Greek painting in recent years.

Course information

For registered students

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  • Reading list:


  • Not running in 2017-18

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