The Art History Newsletter

Ancient Category Archives

As The Romans Did

11 January 2012 | Ancient, Books offers a welcome if belated review ($) of Peter Stewart’s 2008 book The Social History of Roman Art. Brenda Longfellow writes: In an innovative twist, Peter Stewart embeds a summary of social-historical scholarship into his book on the functions and reception of Roman art … Each chapter focuses on a theme that has received [...]


Assyrian Sophistication

9 December 2010 | Ancient, Books

The fascinating new book Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashunasirpal: A Cultural Biography re-evaluates Assyrian art and describes its reception in the Middle East and abroad over three millennia. A well-illustrated set of symposium proceedings edited by Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas, it pays less attention to the best known images, of warring [...]


In the papers

18 September 2010 | Africa, Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Contemporary, Modern, Renaissance, Theory

Recently in the papers: Kaelen Wilson Goldie on Routes d’Arabie at the Louvre (The National) On Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art from Ancient Nigeria, previously in Santander, Madrid and London, now in Houston, and later in Indianapolis, Richmond and New York: Douglas Britt (Houston Chronicle); The Economist; Itziar Reyero (; Richard Dorment (The Telegraph); Jonathan [...]


‘we don’t need to take everything’

15 September 2010 | Ancient

On NPR, ecologist/journalist Craig Childs calls for an end to archaeology or, at least, an end to archaeological digs: I’ve come to believe that artifacts need to stay in their place. And that’s after having gone through museum collections and seeing just the vast amounts of material that we’ve gathered already and going through private [...]


In the papers

4 September 2010 | Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Books, Modern, Museums, Photography

Recently in the papers: “Art and its mediums,” a set of links from Bookforum Alex Danchev reviews Michael Fried, The Moment of Caravaggio (THE) Jeffrey Hamburger and Anthony Grafton, “Save the Warburg Library!” (NYRB) Rebecca Solnit and Peter Conrad on Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain (The Guardian) Tom L. Freudenheim on German Master Drawings at [...]


In the papers

18 August 2010 | Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Medieval, Modern, Museums

Press clippings: Sarah Williams Goldhagen reviews ?ur?i? and Hadjitryphonos, Architecture as Icon: Perception and Representation of Architecture in Byzantine Art in The New Republic (exhibition and catalog) “The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley 5,000-3,500 B.C.” at the Ashmolean Museum, reviewed by Neal Ascherson (LRB), and noted by Jonathan Jones (Guardian) and Paul Levy (WSJ); previously [...]


A ‘Colossal’ Text

16 July 2010 | Ancient, Architecture, Books

In, Thomas J. Morton considers a new book by Katherine E. Welch: The Colosseum, more than any other building from ancient Rome, is routinely the subject of both scholarly and popular texts. While it seems that important studies are published on this structure every year, rarely does any attain the status of definitive text. [...]


Improve Acropolis, Get Marbles?

4 June 2010 | Ancient

The Dec. 2009 Antiquity cover bears an unusually alluring set of teasers: Royal purple found at Qatna, Syria The Bishops of Whithorn and their diet Cannibalism in Neolithic Germany Clubbing and stabbing in Bronze Age Spain The eventful story of some Chinese trousers Also in this issue, Bisserka Gaydarska analyzes the Theoretical Archaeology Group and [...]


Ravenna, Caravaggio, Delacroix, Duchamp

9 May 2010 | Ancient, Books, Modern

Recently in the papers: Stuart Ferguson reviews Ravenna in Late Antiquity, by Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis Ingrid D. Rowland, “Radiant, Angry Caravaggio” [$] Julian Barnes on a new, 2,520-page edition of Delacroix’s Journal (“un document étonnamment complexe, hybride, chaotique, labyrinthique”)* Dalia Judovitz on her book Drawing on Art: Duchamp and Company


Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference

28 April 2010 | Ancient, Conferences

From Brown University: Brown University will host the Theoretical Archaeology Group from Friday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2, 2010. [This conference will address] the question of the place of archaeology – literally and figuratively. We have invited renowned scholars [Homi K. Bhabha, for example] from around the world to join with Brown faculty and [...]


Archaeology Book Reviews

21 April 2010 | Ancient, Journals

As editor Naomi Norman explains in the January 2010 issue, the American Journal of Archaeology has added much more color to its pages and it has moved all of its book reviews online, where they can be read free of charge. Also online: exhibition reviews and a limited selection of journal content. (Off topic: It [...]


‘Seduction and Power’ Conference

19 February 2010 | Ancient, Conferences

Coming to Bristol this September, “Seduction and Power is the second in a series of major international and interdisciplinary conferences focusing on the reception of antiquity in the performing and visual arts.” Paper topics include: “Woman on Top? Semiramide and the Power of the ‘Oriental Woman’”; “‘Jewel-in-the-belly-button’ Orientalism in Oliver Stone’s Alexander: The Fantasy of [...]


surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)

8 January 2010 | Ancient, Conservation

From the January 2010 issue of Chemistry World ($): Art conservators have long been armed with analytical techniques to explore the chemical make-up of paints and dyes but in the past five years a method called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has started to attract their attention. Experts predict that in the next five years it [...]


Obit: Dietrich von Bothmer

14 October 2009 | Ancient

In a public announcement, NYU Institute of Fine Arts director Patricia Rubin states: The Institute of Fine Arts of New York University notes with deep sadness the death yesterday of our valued colleague, Dietrich von Bothmer, Distinguished Research Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to his long [...]


Senses and Symmetry

21 April 2008 | Ancient, Medieval, Theory

The latest issue of World Archaeology (39:4) is largely devoted to two themes: the senses and “symmetrical archaeology.” C. Pamela Graves writes: In the Middle Ages the senses were considered two-way processes. The senses ‘enabled tangible qualities, and indeed, spiritual or intangible qualities, to be passed from one party to another’ and were acknowledged as [...]


‘oldest urban settlement in Americas’?

28 February 2008 | Americas, Ancient, Architecture

From the AP: A team of German and Peruvian archaeologists say they have discovered the oldest known monument in Peru: a 5,500-year-old ceremonial plaza near Peru’s north-central coast … The discovery is further evidence that civilization thrived in Peru at the same time as it did in what is now the Middle East and South [...]


Art Book Award to ‘Antinous’

19 February 2008 | Ancient, Awards, Books

The new Art Book Award, awarded by The Art Book and the Association of Art Historians (both in the UK), “aims to promote and acknowledge the best in art publishing by honouring the contributions and collaboration of the many different people involved.” Its first award has just gone to Antinous: the Face of the Antique [...]


Between Rock Art and a Hard Place

8 January 2008 | Ancient, Books

A recent issue of the South African Archaeological Bulletin (62:185) includes a lively exchange of letters. We can’t do them justice here; nonetheless, some excerpts: J.D. Lewis-Williams writes: With attacks in (remarkably) two successive issues of the South African Archaeological Bulletin Anne Solomon has raised the boredom rating of her current dispute about San rock [...]


‘Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans’

20 November 2007 | Ancient, Books

In the most recent issue of Mouseion (VI:2), Kelly Olson reviews John R. Clarke’s Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans: Visual Representation and Non-Elite Viewers in Italy, 100 B.C. – A.D. 315: When I first received this book for review, I admit I was quite skeptical. Could we really identify “ordinary” Romans? Could one [...]


‘A History of the Ancient Near East’

29 October 2007 | Ancient, Books

If you don’t specialize in the art of the Ancient Near East, but need to teach it in surveys, you know how hard it is to find good general histories of the period. In a recent issue of East and West (55:1-4), Nicola Laneri reviews Marc van De Mieroop’s A History of the Ancient Near [...]