Artistic Responses to Antiquity

(Image of a Bacchant courtesy of Zofia Guertin)

Artistic Responses to Antiquity

Saturday 3rd April 2021 (2-5pm)

The ancient world is a dazzling place full of different languages, cultures, faiths and population groups. It is something that is altogether familiar and yet incredibly detached from our daily existence in the twenty-first century. While some groups have historically claimed ownership of the classical past, the real beauty of Classics is that it is no one group’s sole inheritance. In being familiar-yet-different, the ancient world has provoked an array of literary and artistic responses. From the opulent imagery of Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, or the Romanticism of Laurence Alma-Tadema – Greece, Rome and other ancient civilisations have informed and inspired artists for centuries.

In more recent times a new wave of artists is arising, individuals who respond to classical imagery in their own personal way and channel antiquity in new and exciting projects: Marian Maguire’s Goddesses (2019), for instance, reimagined female Greek deities through a feminist lens; Webtoon series Punderworld (Linda Šejić) and Lore Olympus (Rachel Smythe) have mainstreamed Greek myths into weekly webcomics; the University of Edinburgh’s Aeclanum project was recently the subject of an exhibition in Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology for its use of comic art to build a public engagement strategy created by artist and public archaeologist Zofia Guertin.

This seminar will give participants the opportunity to hear from a selection of artistic classicists, before being challenged to create their own classically-inspired work of art in only one hour’s time!

In this hour we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece!

Session I:

This session will provide an overview of how classically-inspired artwork has developed over time, and how this fits into the wider theory of Classical Reception. The session will demonstrate how artwork has been an important aspect in the evolution of Classics, and how it continually evolves still. This section will be divided between two presentations, with plenty time for Q&A.

Session II:

This session moves participants on from the wider theory and history underpinning artistic responses to antiquity, and offers the chance to hear from three artists who create works inspired by the ancient world. Each artist will take time to explain their personal relationship with the ancient world, how this has impacted on their subsequent creations,

Session III:

In this session, we hand over to the participants. Within the hour, we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece! Our artistic experts will be on-hand for the duration of the session to field questions and enquiries while we help each other create pieces that chart our own relationships with the ancient world. We will ask people to take pictures of their creations so that we can create a ‘virtual gallery’ on the Classical Association of Scotland website, and we will be sharing a hashtag so that our creations can be shared on social media, too!

Prior to the seminar, Zoom links and a package of images will be sent out to all registered participants. You do not need to purchase anything specific prior to the sessions, only have to hand anything that you will want to create your piece of art!

This session brings together an exciting group of classicists and artists:

Dr Briana King (University of St Andrews)

Zofia Guertin (PhD Candidate – University of St Andrews) @ZofiaAstrid

Dr Maria Haley (University of Leeds/University of Manchester) @marianuncsum

Flora Kirk (MA, University of Durham) @flaroh

As with all of our sessions, it is absolutely free to attend, but registration is required. To sign up or for more information, please contact Dr Alex Imrie (A.Imrie@ed.ac.uk)

Money in a New World: Introduction to Hellenistic Coinage

CAS is pleased to announce the next in its ongoing series of seminars designed to demystify the ancient world and to provide a friendly and accessible gateway into classical topics for learners of any background or ability. Starting off our series in 2021 will be a seminar on Hellenistic coinage!

The figure of Alexander the Great understandably casts a long shadow: his ruthless conquest of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, his claims to divinity and his early death all combine to make Alexander a true celebrity of the ancient world. Outside of academic circles, the period following Alexander’s demise is less well known. It is, however, a period well worth finding out more about. From almost the moment of Alexander’s death, it was clear that his trusted commanders could not be relied upon to maintain any degree of harmony, and soon afterwards they were fighting among themselves to carve out the largest pieces of their dead king’s massive empire. These so-called Successor Kingdoms would be contentious neighbours and rivals for centuries, the new Hellenistic era only truly ending with the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE.

In this two-hour seminar, participants will be introduced to the history of this dynamic period, and will be given an introduction to studying ancient coinage (and how it compares to modern output). The seminar uses Hellenistic coinage to illustrate how these regimes sought to define and legitimise themselves. After these presentations, participants will get to grips with some ancient examples themselves, working in small groups to analyse some ancient coins and discover how much information can be extracted even from the smallest pieces of metal.

As with all our seminars, this session is entirely *free*, although registration will be required. To sign up, please contact Dr Alex Imrie (A.Imrie@ed.ac.uk) 

This session is being offered in conjunction with the Edinburgh University Classics Society. It has been designed by Jenny Shearer, an undergraduate student in Classics with a special interest in the period, with input from faculty members at the university. She will be assisted by a number of her colleagues in the society. This is an exciting opportunity to learn more about a less commonly publicised subject from antiquity, and to see a group of exciting young classicists demonstrating that the ancient world is far from inaccessible!