Classical Art History

The aim of this virtual issue is to bring together a selection of articles on ancient Greek and Roman art historical subjects. On the one hand, the anthology makes publicly available – and without cost – eleven contributions that have been published in Art History between 1978 and 2018. On the other, the collection celebrates the role that the journal has played – and, it is hoped, will continue to play – in bridging the academic fields of classics and art history.
 The metaphor of ‘bridging’ seems appropriate here because of the residual gulf between so much classical and art historical scholarship. To demonstrate the point, let me begin with a personal anecdote, drawn from a recent spell as external examiner at a prestigious British university. As is customary with such roles, my job entailed reviewing undergraduate scripts and coursework: to comment on academic standards, student performance and general assessment processes, above all in the field of ‘classical art and archaeology’. The quality of work was hugely impressive, matched only by the care with which academic staff had marked it. But the more essays I read, the further I found myself pondering their disciplinary fault lines: there was something striking about the parameters in which responses had been framed.
 A case in point came in discussions of the ‘Knidian Aphrodite’ – a marble statue sculpted by Praxiteles in the mid-fourth century BCE, and the archetype for every ‘female nude’ in western art historical traditions.1 Students demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the statue and its archaeological contexts: they analysed the trademark Praxitelean ‘s-curve’ of the statue, for example, its iconography and the problems of reconstructing a lost Greek ‘original’ from extant Roman ‘copies’.2 Candidates had evidently thought hard about certain issues. But responses were also conspicuous for the questions, approaches and interpretive modes left unspoken. Only a handful of students touched upon the dynamics of viewing the sculpture, for instance. Still fewer thought it important to tackle the Knidia’s long and chequered reception since antiquity. And not a single essay tackled issues of gender – the fact that this statue, sculpted by and for men, at once reflected and constructed a particular ideology of the female body. How could it be, I wondered, that so fundamental an art historical case study was being discussed without reference to the theoretical frameworks, disciplinary debates and critical toolkits developed by art historians?
 I decided to raise this question in the annual report sent back to the board of examiners. It is in the nature of such letters that most comments had to do with assessment procedures and the spread of results. To liven things up, I threw in a wild card: ‘in the art historical papers, I wonder whether more might be done to encourage students to think about issues in broader comparative terms – in particular, to bridge the study of classical materials with larger art historical questions’.
 The comment evidently spurred careful consideration, and at different administrative levels. A few months later, however, I received a letter from the university, complete with the following response:

While appreciating the comments about the ‘art historical papers’, these are in fact classical art and archaeology papers, and are not conceived of or taught within a framework of art history per se, but of classical culture. It would therefore not be appropriate to expect students to address questions outside of their discipline.

Whatever ‘art history’ may or may not be, it was here deemed to lie ‘outside’ the study of ‘classical culture’. Now, the response is in some ways reasonable enough – it simply re-states the university’s teaching arrangements (‘these are in fact classical art and archaeology papers’), while simultaneously enshrining the objective of fair and proper evaluation (‘it would therefore not be appropriate to expect students to address questions outside of their discipline’). Still, there could be no franker admission of disciplinary confines: given that art history did not form part of the ‘framework’ in which papers are ‘conceived of or taught’, I was told, it was only right that it should lie beyond the parameters of assessment.

A mere anecdote, as I say. But a touchstone, in my view, for how the study of ancient Greek and Roman art continues to be practised, especially (but by no means exclusively) in the UK.3 My anecdote pertains to just one university, and within a single national tradition. And yet it is broadly representative of the ways in which classical art tends to be taught and researched. Here in the UK, at least, the study of classical art is almost exclusively conducted in departments of classics: it forms part of the larger project of understanding Greek and Roman antiquity specifically.4 Conversely, in chronological terms, most art history departments take up their subject from the ‘post-antique’, usually beginning, in western chronological terms, with the ‘medieval’ (the ‘Byzantine’ is left in something of a proverbial limbo). Let me say outright that, from a classicist’s perspective, this institutional framework brings with it certain strengths, not least in fostering close relationships between the study of ancient visual materials and that of Graeco-Roman literature, philosophy and ancient history. But the costs of segregating the ‘classical’ from ‘art history’, no less than the ‘art historical’ from ‘classics’, are conspicuous. When it comes to academic research, just as with teaching, it can quickly become ‘not […] appropriate to expect students to address questions outside of their discipline’.
 Truth be told, classical specialists have sometimes relished the isolationism of their field.5 Where the larger field of art history works across variables of time and place, defining its common subject around a (broadly speaking) visual medium, many classicists prefer to stick with the historical and historicist framework of ‘antiquity’. For some, especially in Germanophone traditions, even to label ancient Greek and Roman objects ‘art’ smacks of sacrilegious anachronism: by imposing modern ideas and ideologies, the very category of ‘art history’ has at times been thought to hinder the objective of historical explication.6 Other classical archaeologists have gone still further, insisting on a ‘material culturalist’ perspective that denies the category of ‘classical art’ altogether. ‘Classical art history is archaeology or it is nothing’, to cite one vociferous rallying cry; ‘there is nothing at all radical about sprinkling postmodern fairy dust over the traditional objects of classical archaeology and calling the resulting mélange “classical art history”’.7
 Unsurprisingly, perhaps, art historians have at times responded in kind. ‘Art historical classicists are in fact so lacking in self-assertiveness’, as one prominent voice declared in 2012, ‘that they have more or less retreated into a corner of their own, isolated from the rest of the discipline […]. Nor does any classicist dare to build a case for the unavoidability of their field, any case at all’.8 One might take issue with the phrasing. But the consequences are evident enough. In response to the terms ‘art history’ – specifically, the question of ‘what […] we in fact refer to when we use them?’ – it was once written in this journal that ‘a simple answer […] is to say, in England, “what is done and taught at the Courtauld Institute”’.9 Suffice it to note here, though, that ancient Greek and Roman materials have effectively been dropped from the Courtauld’s syllabus. Following a decision not to replace a teaching position, there has not been a permanent post in classical art at the Courtauld Institute since 2011: in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the Courtauld had been one of the most exciting and theoretically engaged British centres for the study of classical art; today, students are denied even the option of specializing in Greek and Roman materials.10
 Quite how, when and why we have ended up with this twenty-first-century situation is an interesting historiographical question. To claim, as I would, that the whole history of western art is one of responding to ancient materials – an elaborate series of pushes and pulls, each redefining in turn (what we call) the classical – might be open to debate.11 But there can be no denying the role of antiquity in shaping the disciplinary parameters of art history: the very project of writing about art – of critiquing images, historicizing them, or determining frameworks for their analytical interpretation – was fashioned from a quest to make sense of the classical legacy.
 Like it or not, the western project of theorizing the visual has gone hand in hand with attempts to understand and explain antiquity. Take a project like Vasari’s Lives in the sixteenth century, simply unimaginable without the model of Pliny’s Natural History.12 The ties are even more conspicuous in eighteenth-century Germany, when art history, alongside philosophical aesthetics, developed into a self-standing field of enlightened intellectual enquiry. Consider Johann Joachim Winckelmann, whose Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (1764) is rightly regarded as the founding text of classical archaeology and art history alike.13 But consider too almost any of the great Germanophone ‘critical historians of art’ that followed, from Lessing, Herder, Goethe and Hegel, to the likes of Riegl, Wölfflin, Cassirer, Saxl, Warburg and Panofsky (to name but a few).14 In each case, ancient Greek and Roman materials were judged to have a wholly programmatic significance – not only for a historical understanding of classical antiquity, but also for art historical method and aesthetic critique.
 The decisive change came in the twentieth century, above all in the aftermath of World War II. Part of the explanation for this shift lies in disciplinary specialization: with the development of new methods of archaeological excavation (especially from the late nineteenth century onwards), and the associated rise in excavated objects, classicists developed their own frameworks for historical interpretation.15 But no less important is the history of twentieth-century art itself: the parting of ‘classics’ from ‘art history’, I would argue, reflects perceived developments in modern artistic practice. Generally speaking, the various movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries tended to villainize the old and champion the new: with each subsequent ‘-ism’ (‘Impressionism’, ‘Expressionism’, ‘Cubism’, ‘Futurism’, ‘Dadaism’, ‘Surrealism’, etc.), objects from the classical past seemed ever more passé. Where earlier generations had constructed the classical as an exemplary paradigm, twentieth-century perspectives deemed it ancient history: perhaps inevitably, the study of Graeco-Roman materials became the focus of a narrowing disciplinary historicism – and to the great detriment of classics and art history alike.16

Over the last forty years, Art History has arguably done more than any other academic platform to challenge this status quo. The journal has published articles on a wide range of Greek and Roman topics. But Art History has also done something else: it has provided a forum for productive engagements between specialists in classical materials and those concerned with the visual arts of other periods and places.
 This distinctive remit stretches back to the core principles of the journal, and not least to the creative vision of its founding father, John Onians. The very first editorial of Art History, published in 1978, laid out the rationale as effective manifesto; indeed, it seems appropriate that the present anthology forms part of the celebrations marking the fortieth anniversary of that inaugural issue.17 Right from the outset, Art History was conceived to provide an ‘open outlet’, encompassing ‘areas with which we are familiar’, as well as ‘areas more remote in time and place’: ‘in the exploration of new fields for research no materials no tools, no methods and no language will be excluded’.18
 In writing these words, John Onians can today be seen as having sown the seeds for what he would later champion as ‘world art studies’.19 From a classicist perspective, however, it is tempting to read the editorial as a response to contemporary scholarship on Graeco-Roman art in particular. Onians’ first degree was in classics (at Cambridge);20 in 1979 – the year after his editorial appeared – Onians’ book on Art and Thought in the Hellenistic World radically redefined approaches to Greek art between the fourth and first centuries BCE.21 This disciplinary backdrop lends piquancy to the journal’s foundational ‘conviction that of all people it is the art historian who should be best equipped to analyse and interpret works of art and that our discipline can only benefit if we sharpen it, extend it and broaden its base’.22 The words were not addressed to classicists. But Onians’ rallying cry was arguably informed, at least in part, by his work on ancient Greek and Roman materials – a conviction that classical subjects belonged to the diachronic and transcultural project of art history, not just to the historicist frameworks of classics and classical archaeology.23

Since the first issue of Art History in 1978, a wide range of articles have explored Graeco- Roman art through the ‘open’ disciplinary lens that Onians championed. Some have formed part of special thematic issues: the present collection complements a volume dedicated to The Embodied Object in Classical Antiquity (published in 2018: issue 41: 3),24 and two earlier issues examined The Image in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds on the one hand (1994: issue 17: 1),25 and Art and Replication: Greece, Rome, and Beyond on the other (2006: issue 29: 2).26 In the majority of cases, though, contributions have been published as self-standing articles, in regular issues of the journal.
 What, then, makes Art History so distinctive? One answer lies in the journal’s rigorous process of peer review – by two or more carefully selected anonymous readers, as well as by the editors (and frequently by additional members of the editorial board). A second, and related answer, lies in the journal’s wide-ranging readership. Unlike specialist classics or classical archaeological journals, the articles published in Art History are selected, at least in part, for their generalist appeal across the field of art history (as indeed beyond it). Consider the current guidelines for submission:

Art History covers all kinds of art and visual culture across all time periods and geographical areas. The journal welcomes contributions from the full spectrum of methodological perspectives, and is a forum for a wide range of historical, critical, historiographical and theoretical forms of writing. By means of this expanded definition, Art History works to transform and to extend the modes of enquiry that shape the discipline.27

When it comes to Graeco-Roman art, as with so many other areas, this rubric has been hugely productive: it has encouraged those specializing in classical materials to re-frame their discussions with a view to the ‘transferable’ stakes, and to the enrichment of both classical and art historical perspectives alike.28

The articles collected in this virtual issue play out the point. Needless to say, the present anthology can present only a small proportion of relevant articles. As a representative sample, the collection nonetheless testifies to the journal’s role in sustaining dialogue between specialists in classical materials and the broader intellectual and imaginative landscapes of art history.
 Five interrelated factors have influenced my selection of articles. First, I have chosen work from across the forty-year lifespan of the journal, reflecting different spurs and intellectual trends. Second, I have prioritized pieces of particular or lasting influence, while also throwing into the mix some lesser-known articles (which, in my view, deserve re-reading in their own right). Third, I have included articles on a range of subjects, some focussed on particular Greek or Roman case studies, others adapting a more diachronic or thematic approach. Fourth, given the long-standing contribution of reviews, it seemed right for at least one article to be taken from that section of the journal.29 Fifth and finally, in so far as I was able, I have tried to showcase a diversity of methodological approaches – by different authors, and from a range of institutional and national backgrounds. This last criterion was in many ways the trickiest. It is salient to note, for instance, that male authors have published around three times as many relevant articles in the journal than female scholars (a bias which may not be representative of Art History as a whole, but which is still a major problem in classicist circles – especially in the fields of archaeology and ancient history). Likewise, when it comes to articles on Greek and Roman topics, particular sorts of affiliations recur. Art History has always prided itself on its international profile. And yet the majority of articles on classical subjects were written by scholars based in, trained at or affiliated to particular British universities (none more so than Cambridge).30
 Rather than introduce each article in turn, it seems appropriate to add something about their interconnections in the present anthology. To my mind, four themes stand out. The first is an interest in the dynamics of viewing – that is, the attempt to explore not just the objects of classical art, but also their social and cultural construction of the viewer. The topic lies at the core of Rainer Mack’s article (2002) on the petrifying gaze of the Gorgon Medusa in Archaic and Classical Greek art.31 But it is also foundational to Robin Osborne’s analysis of viewing Attic funerary monuments (1988),32 Barbara Kellum’s recourse to the ‘Augustan viewers’ of the Ara Pacis (1994),33 and Katharina Lorenz’s discussion of ‘spectator figures’ in Roman wall-painting (2007).34
 A second, albeit related, theme pertains to cultic and religious frameworks – the subject of a seminal article on ‘Production and Religion in the Graeco-Roman World’ by Richard Gordon (1979), as well as Milette Gaifman’s discussion of ‘Statue, Cult and Reproduction’ (2006).35 Gordon’s contribution in particular played a pivotal role in affecting a ‘cultic turn’ in classical art history. At the same time, the article staged a thinly veiled critique of the traditional disciplinary frameworks of classical archaeology, with its ‘studious avoidance of the really difficult problems’.36
 Third comes the relationship between visual and verbal media, both within the historical confines of antiquity, and as more general theoretical dilemma. The theme, variously refracted, recurs in each of the articles reproduced in this anthology. In particular, though, it gave rise to a review by Mary Beard (1995), discussing an influential volume on Art and Text in Ancient Greek Culture. Questions of ‘image and text’ also lie at the heart of the articles by John Onians (1980) and Jas Elsner (2010). On the one hand, Onians seeks to explain the stylistic shifts of late-antique art in relation to a prototypical sort of ‘verbal turn’ (there is ‘a crescendo in the volume of artistic descriptions at precisely the same time that art itself is becoming less and less descriptive’).37 On the other, Elsner relates the entire disciplinary project of art history to ancient rhetorical ideas about ekphrasis (‘Far from being a rigorous pursuit, art history – certainly since its founding fathers […], and undoubtedly in the surviving ancient sources who were their inspiration – is nothing other than ekphrasis, or more precisely an extended argument built on ekphrasis’).38
 The project of Elsner’s article, moving from ancient ekphrasis to the author’s own ekphrastic response to Michelangelo’s Rondanani Pietà (c. 1555–1564), also serves to introduce a fourth theme: namely, cross-cultural, diachronic and comparative analysis. All manner of relevant articles might be cited here. But two stimulating recent case studies are found in the articles by Jeremy Tanner (2016) and Verity Platt (2018) – the one comparing the social and cultural roles of portraiture in Classical Greece and Early Imperial China, the other centred around ancient and modern ideologies of the ‘incomplete’.
 One aspect to emerge from my rummage through the archives is how the landscape of Art History has changed over the last forty years. I refer here not just to developments in content – the sorts of materials, arguments and intellectual questions explored. Rather, it is striking to note the related changes in the journal’s physical (as indeed virtual) form and presentation. Within the present anthology, the two early articles by Gordon and Onians (1979, 1980) are conspicuous for their lack of accompanying reproductions. By contrast, recent articles are remarkable not only for their abundance of images, but also – especially since the re-designing of the journal in early 2010 – for the quality of colour reproductions and the attention to layout.39 In his inaugural editorial of 1978, as we have already noted, John Onians argued that ‘of all people it is the art historian who should be best equipped to analyse and interpret works of art’. Forty years on, it seems appropriate that the physical format of the journal champions the point: within my own field of specialism, no other periodical comes close to the presentational standards of Art History.

A different editor, I am sure, would have settled on an entirely different cohort of papers. But I need make no apology here: readers are today in a position to work through the Art History archive for themselves.40 Thanks to an important recent initiative, all journal articles are now available online; likewise, a new e-platform makes it possible to search the digital repository according to not only date, volume and issue, but also title, author, keywords and abstract.41 As a result, any number of virtual anthologies could be imagined, and from a total of over 1,000 previously published papers: one might choose to supplement the current collection with articles that take their lead from the early modern artistic reception of ancient critical frameworks,42 for instance, or those that are interested in the visual afterlife of classical texts and objects.43 Whatever one thinks about this brave new world of digitization, it is radically transforming the ways in which art history is being conducted, in terms of academic research and student pedagogy alike.
 It seems right to end this introduction on a different note, returning to the disciplinary relationships between classics and art history with which I began. In light of my opening anecdote, it might be easy to feel gloomy about the current state of classical art history; indeed, one might assume that ancient materials have little to contribute to the future twists and turns of the larger discipline. But there are grounds, I think, for optimism. In my view, the very marginalization of the classical brings with it an opportunity, prompting productive questions about the objects we study, no less than about our rationales for doing so. Something similar might be said about the rise of ‘world’ and ‘global art history’. Far from making a Eurocentric irrelevance of Greek and Roman materials, such trends can only illuminate the cultural peculiarities (not to mention global diversity) of classical traditions; if anything, moreover, they underline the constitutive role of Graeco-Roman antiquity in defining western cultural assumptions about objects, images, critical ideologies, aesthetics and phenomenologies of the visual.
 Whatever that future, Art History looks set to play a decisive role, just as it has in the past. By bringing together previously published articles, and making them freely available, the editorial board hopes that this virtual issue might spur further work, extending the remit of both classics and art history alike. For even – and perhaps especially – in an ‘era of diversity’, to quote the journal’s most recent editorial, Art History remains as committed as ever to reaching ‘into every corner of the discipline into which our international span of authors engage’.44

I am grateful to Samuel Bibby (Managing Editor of Art History), and to the journal’s past and present editors (Genevieve Warwick and Natalie Adamson; Dorothy Price and Jeanne Nuechterlein), for inviting me to compile the present issue. The anthology is designed to accompany a special issue on ‘The Embodied Object in Classical Antiquity’ (Art History, 41: 3, June 2018) that I co-edited with Verity J. Platt and Milette Gaifman. A version of this introduction was presented at the Andrew W. Mellon conference on ‘Art History: Undisciplined?’ at the Courtauld Institute of Art in June 2018, organised by Alixe Bovey and Fern Insh: I am grateful to both the conveners and participants of the workshop for their responses, as well as to Verity J. Platt and Jas Elsner for their comments on an earlier draft. Finally, it is a pleasure to thank Léo Caillard for permission to use one of his ‘Hipsters in Stone’ photographs as the lead image for this virtual issue.

1 For an introduction, see, for example, Michael J. Squire, The Art of the Body: Antiquity and its Legacy, London, 2011, 69–114 (with bibliography at 213–218). See also: Christine M. Havelock, The Aphrodite of Knidos and Her Successors: A Historical Review of the Female Nude in Greek Art, Ann Arbor, 1995; Antonio Corso, The Art of Praxiteles, Vol. 2: The Mature Years, Rome, 2007, 9–186; and Verity J. Platt, Facing the Gods: Epiphany and Representation in Graeco- Roman Art, Literature and Religion, Cambridge, 2011, 180–211.
2 For so-called Kopienkritik, see, for example, Jas Elsner and Jennifer Trimble, ‘Introduction: “If You Need An Actual Statue”’, Art History, 29: 2, 2006, 201–212, esp. 202–203. Bibliography is booming: see, for example, Klaus Junker and Adrian Stähli, Original und Kopie: Formen und Konzepte der Nachahmung in der antiken Kunst, Wiesbaden, 2008; and Anna Anguissola, Difficillima imitatio: immagine e lessico delle copie tra Grecia e Roma, Rome, 2013.
3 For more detailed discussions of national traditions in Britain and elsewhere, see Jas Elsner, ‘Archéologie classique et histoire de l’art en Grande-Bretagne’, Perspective, 2007, 231–242. See also: Jeremy Tanner, ‘Shifting Paradigms in Classical Art History’, Antiquity, 68, 1994, 650–655; A. A. Donohue, ‘Introduction’, in A. A. Donohue and Mark D. Fullerton, eds, Ancient Art and its Historiography, Cambridge, 2003, 1–12, esp. 4; Michael J. Squire, The Iliad in a Nutshell: Visualizing Epic on the Tabulae Iliacae, Oxford, 2011, 372–81 (also discussing other national frameworks); Michael J. Squire, ‘A Place for Art? Classical Archaeology and the Contexts of Art History’, in Susan Alcock and Robin Osborne, eds, Classical Archaeology, second edition, Malden, MA, 2012, 468–500; and Anthony Snodgrass, ‘Penser l’art antique: alliances et résistances disciplinaires’, Perspective, 2012, 213–15. On the history of German institutional structures and the study of Klassische Archäologie, see: Suzanne L. Marchand, Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750–1970, Princeton, 1996; Hellmut Sichtermann, Kulturgeschichte der klassischen Archäologie, Munich, 1996, esp. 9–27; and Tonio Hölscher, ed., Klassische Archäologie: Grundwissen, Stuttgart, 2002, esp. 11–15, 73–5. On Francophone traditions, see, for example, François Lissarrague and Alain Schnapp, ‘Tradition und Erneuerung in der klassischen Archäologie in Frankreich’, in Adolf H. Borbein, Tonio Hölscher and Paul Zanker, eds, Klassische Archäologie: Eine Einführung, Berlin, 2000, 365–382. On the history of scholarly traditions and institutional structures in North America, see Stephen L. Dyson, Ancient Marbles to American Shores: Classical Archaeology in the United States, Philadelphia, 1998, with scintillating provocations in Verity J. Platt, ‘The Matter of Classical Art History’, Daedalus, 145: 2, 2016, 5–14.
4 One might compare Mary Beard’s opening to the article reproduced as part of this virtual issue (‘Re-Reading the Greek Revolution’, Art History, 19: 1, 1996, 128–133, esp. 128–129): ‘Classical art history in Britain ought to be better than it is. It would be enormously improved by a large injection of theory, by a closer understanding of recent – and not so recent – developments in the art history of other periods, and (most of all perhaps) by a much greater awareness of its own institutional history and the reasons why it has come to be practised as it is.’
5 Comparing the state of classical art history with that of the larger field, some scholars have even found the latter wanting: see, for example, John Boardman, ‘Classical Archaeology: Whence and Whither?’, Antiquity, 62, 1988, 795–777), declaring that ‘art-historians of other periods are barely approaching in the last generation the position achieved in classical art history nearly a century ago’ (795–796).
6 See, for example, Hölscher, Klassische Archäologie, 13: ‘In manchen Ländern wurde sogar an den Universitäten eine Trennung von “Kunstgeschichte der Antike” und “Klassischer Archäologie” vollzogen. Entsprechend hat die Neuere Kunstgeschichte sich von Anbeginn vorwiegend mit Werken der “Kunst” befaßt. Diese Trennung von “Kunst” und materieller Kultur ist aber eine Erscheinung der Neuzeit, die für die Antike nicht gilt. Antike “Kunstwerke” waren nicht museale Objekte des Kunstgenusses, sondern hatten Funktionen im Leben […]. Dieselben Funktionen wurden z.T. von Gegenständen erfüllt, die heute kaum unter den Begriff der “Kunst” fallen.’ For similar sentiments, see, for example, Tonio Hölscher, ‘Einleitung’, in Borbein, Hölscher, and Zanker, Klassische Archäologie, 7–21, at 7; and Stefan Ritter, Alle Bilder führen nach Rom: Eine kurze Geschichte des Sehens, Stuttgart, 2008, 12–13. On the ‘art’ of ‘classical art history’ here, see Michael J. Squire, ‘Introduction: The Art of Art History in Graeco- Roman Antiquity’, Arethusa, 43: 2, 2010, 133–163, along with the other essays in the special issue of the journal, co-edited with Verity J. Platt. Fundamental is Jeremy Tanner, The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece: Religion, Society, and Artistic Rationalisation, Cambridge, 2006. Compare also the essays in Michael J. Squire and Verity J. Platt, eds, The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History, Cambridge, 2017, along with Michael J. Squire, ‘Reflections on Art’, in Pierre Destrée and Penelope Murray, eds, A Companion to Ancient Aesthetics, Malden, MA, 2015, 307–326.
7 James Whitley, ‘Agency in Greek Art’, in Tyler Jo Smith and Dimitris Plantzos, eds, A Companion to Greek Art, Malden, MA, 2012, vol. 2, 579–595, at 595 (and compare, earlier, James Whitley, The Archaeology of Ancient Greece, Cambridge, 2001, xxiii). For responses, see: Richard Neer, The Emergence of the Classical Style in Greek Sculpture, Chicago, 2010, 6–11; Squire, The Iliad in a Nutshell, 375–377; and Michael J. Squire, ‘Animating Classical Art History’, Art History, 36: 5, 2013, 1077–1080.
8 Christopher S. Wood, ‘Reception and the Classics’, in William Brockliss, Pramit Chaudhuri, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov and Katerine Wasdin, eds, Reception and the Classics: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Classical Tradition, Cambridge, 2012, 163–173, at 171.
9 John Onians, ‘Art History, Kunstgeschichte and Historia’, Art History, 1: 2, 1978, 131–133, at 132.
10 At the time of publication, the chronological listing of ‘research areas’ at the Courtauld is advertised as beginning with the ‘Medieval and Byzantine’: see
11 For the argument, and more detailed bibliographic guides, see: Squire, The Art of the Body; Michael J.Squire, ‘Theories of Reception’, in Clemente Marconi, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, New York, 637– 671; and Michael J. Squire, ‘The Legacy of Greek Sculpture’, in Olga Palagia, ed., A Handbook of Greek Sculpture, Berlin, forthcoming. See also, most recently, Caroline Vout, Classical Art: A Life History from Antiquity to the Present, Princeton, 2018.
12 On the one hand, Vasari’s prosopographic mode of narrating art history formed part of the classical ‘rebirth’ that he sought to narrate and explain. On the other, his anecdotes – indeed, the rhetorical and conceptual frameworks for approaching the visual – were adopted and adapted after ancient precedent. For discussion, see in particular Sarah Blake McHam, Pliny and The Artistic Culture of the Italian Renaissance: The Legacy of the Natural History, New Haven and London, 2013, and Nadia Koch, Paradeigma: Die antike Kunstschriftstellerei als Grundlage der frühneuzeitlichen Kunsttheorie, Wiesbaden, 2013, esp. 274–280 (on ‘Topik und Bios bei Giorgio Vasari’). Numerous articles in this journal might also be cited: see, for example, Patricia Rubin, ‘What Men Saw: Vasari’s Life of Leonardo da Vinci and the Image of the Renaissance Artist’, Art History, 13: 1, 1990, 34–46, esp. 34–35.
13 See, for example, Klause-Werner Haupt, Johann Winckelmann: Begründer der klassischen Archäologie und modernen Kunstwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, 2014. For an English translation of the 1764 edition, see Johann Joachim Winckelmann, History of the Art of Antiquity, trans. Francis Mallgrave, Los Angeles, 2006. For discussions, see, for example: Fausto Testa, Winckelmann e l’invenzione della storia dell’arte: i modelli e la mimesis, Bologna, 1999; Alex Potts, Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History, New Haven, 2000; Elisabeth Décultot, Johann Joachim Winckelmann: enquête sur la genèse de l’histoire de l’art, Paris, 2000; Édouard Pommier, Winckelmann, inventeur de l’histoire de l’art, Paris, 2003; and Katherine Harloe, Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity: History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft, Oxford, 2013.
14 For a recent stimulating attempt to revive this tradition, see Katharina Lorenz, Ancient Mythological Images and Their Interpretation: An Introduction to Iconology, Semiotics, and Image Studies in Classical Art History, Cambridge, 2016. On the one hand, Lorenz notes that ‘Panofsky belonged to the last generation in which modern art-historical and art-theoretical scholarship had an impact on the study of ancient art and, vice versa, problems derived from the study of ancient art still substantially informed art-historical discussion and theory formation at large’. On the other, she observes that ‘such mutual exchange has since largely ceased, replaced by a unidirectional relationship dominated by modern art history’: ‘one of the objectives of this study’, Lorenz adds, ‘is to reignite this discourse’ (5). The most accessible introduction remains Michael Podro, The Critical Historians of Art, New Haven, 1982. On the centrality of the classical to Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics – along with the centrality of his project to the development of art history as a disciplinary field – see now the essays in Paul A. Kottman and Michael J. Squire, eds, The Art of Hegel’s Aesthetics: Hegelian Philosophy and the Perspectives of Art History, Paderborn, 2018. A number of articles in this journal have probed this historiography: see in particular Jas Elsner, ‘The Birth of Late Antiquity: Riegl and Strzygowski in 1901’, Art History, 25: 3, 2002, 358–379; and Martin Schwarz and Jas Elsner, ‘The Genesis of Struktur: Kaschnitz-Weinberg’s Review of Riegl and the New Viennese School’, Art History, 39: 1, 2015, 70–83.
15 On the disciplinary history of classical archaeology (and some steering prophecies about its future), see, for example: Anthony Snodgrass, An Archaeology of Greece: The Present State and Future Scope of a Discipline, Berkeley, 1987; Michael Shanks, Classical Archaeology of Greece: Experiences of the Discipline, London, 1996; Sichtermann, Kulturgeschichte, esp. 9–27; Stephen L. Dyson, In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts: A History of Classical Archaeology in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, New Haven and London, 2006; and Achim Lichtenberger and Rubina Raja, eds, The Diversity of Classical Archaeology, Turnhout, 2017.
16 This is not to deny the continuing influence of classical ideas, idioms and forms on the development of modern and contemporary art (the subject of an ongoing research project on ‘Modern Classicisms’ at King’s College London: See, for example, Rosemary J. Barrow, ‘From Praxiteles to de Chirico: Art and Reception’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 11: 3, 2005, 344–368; Elizabeth Cowling and Jennifer Mundy, eds, On Classic Ground: Picasso, Léger, de Chirico, and the New Classicism, 1910-1930, London, 1990; Christopher Green and Jens Daehner, eds, Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Léger, Picabia, Los Angeles, 2011; Elizabeth Prettejohn, The Modernity of Ancient Sculpture: Greek Sculpture and Modern Art from Winckelmann to Picasso, London, 2012, esp. 3–5; Kenneth E. Silver, ed., Chaos & Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918 – 1936, New York, 2010; Isabelle Loring Wallace and Jennie Hirsh, eds, Contemporary Art and Classical Myth, Farnham, 2011; Brooke Holmes and Karen Marta, eds, Liquid Antiquity, Geneva, 2017; Vout, Classical Art, esp. 220–242; and Michael J. Squire, James Cahill and Ruth Allen, eds, The Classical Now, London, 2018.
17 See in particular the special anniversary issue of the journal (Art History, 40: 4), dedicated to ‘Art History 40: Image and Memory’, and featuring articles by former editors. For a reaffirmation of the founding principles of the journal on its fortieth anniversary, see Genevieve Warwick, ‘Editorial’, Art History, 40: 1, 2017, 8–9.
18 John Onians, ‘Editorial’, Art History, 1: 1, 1978, v–vi, at v. On the ‘periodical landscape’ of Art History in the 1970s, compare the scintillating comments of Samuel Bibby, ‘The Pursuit of Understanding’: Art History and the Periodical Landscape of Late-1970s Britain’, Art History, 40: 4, 2017, 808–837.
19 See, for example, John Onians, Art, Culture and Nature: From Art History to World Art Studies, London, 2006. For a recent overview of Art History’s important contributions here, readers are referred to the virtual issue on ‘Documents of Human Culture as a Whole: Art History and World Art Studies’, edited by Samuel Bibby ( virtual-issues/documents-of-human-culture-as-a-whole-art-history-and-world-art-studies/).
20 One might note in passing that – in a recent author biography published in this journal (to accompany ‘Art History and Memory, From the Couch to the Scanner: On How the New Art History Woke Up to a Neural Future’, Art History, 40: 4, 2017, 704–723) – it is stated that ‘John Onians started out as a classicist before becoming an art historian’…
21 John Onians, Art and Thought in the Hellenistic World: The Greek World View 350–50 BC, London, 1979. The book was ahead of its time, which accounts in part for some of the negative initial reviews by classicists (for example, C. E. Vafopoulou-Richardson, Classical Review, 30: 2, 1989, 306–307: ‘a brave attempt, but one which leaves the reader more irritated than satisfied […]. One cannot help asking for whom this book is intended. For the specialist or the non specialist? The former will find it riddled with mistakes and misinterpretations, and the latter will be misinformed’ (306)).
22 Onians, ‘Editorial’, v.
23 For the sentiment, compare also Richard L. Gordon, ‘The Real and the Imaginary: Production and Religion in the Graeco-Roman World’, Art History, 2: 1, 1979, 5–34 (reproduced in this virtual issue).
24 Edited by Milette Gaifman, Verity J. Platt and Michael J. Squire: the volume is represented in this virtual issue by Verity J. Platt, ‘Orphaned Objects: The Phenomenology of the Incomplete in Pliny’s Natural History’, Art History, 41: 3, 2018, 492–517.
25 Edited by Marcia Pointon and Paul Binski: the volume is represented in this virtual issue by Barbara Kellum, ‘What We See and What We Don’t See: Narrative Structure and the Ara Pacis Augustae’, Art History, 17: 1, 1994, 26–45.
26 Edited by Jas Elsner and Jennifer Trimble: the volume is represented in this virtual issue by Milette Gaifman, ‘Statue, Cult and Reproduction’, Art History, 29: 2, 2006, 258–279.
27 Quoted from
28 Working through the archive of articles on Graeco-Roman topics, I was struck by how many authors comment on this aspect: see, for example, Carol G. Thomas, ‘Greek Geometric Narrative Art and Orality’, Art History, 12: 3, 1989, 257–267, declaring that a reviewer’s ‘comments led to the elimination of certain allusions familiar only to classical historians and the addition of “concessions” to the non-classical art historian’ (264).
29 The selected article was Beard, ‘Re-Reading the Greek Revolution’, responding to Robin Osborne and Simon Goldhill, Art and Text in Ancient Greek Culture, Cambridge, 1994.
30 For one highly critical characterization of a so-called ‘Cambridge culture’ in the field of classical art history, see Elizabeth A. Meyer and J. E. Lendon, ‘Greek Art and Culture Since Art and Experience in Classical Greece’, in Judith M. Barringer and Jeffrey M. Hurwit, eds, Periklean Athens and its Legacy: Problems and Perspectives, Austin, 255–276, esp. 262–267.
31 One might compare Guy Hedreen, ‘Involved Spectatorship in Archaic and Classical Greek Art’, Art History, 30: 2, 2007, 217–246, with various responses to Mack’s arguments.
32 For two other recent discussions in this journal of ways in which Greek funerary monuments were viewed, see: Nathaniel B. Jones, ‘Phantasms and Metonyms: The Limits of Representation in Fifth-Century Athens’, Art History, 38: 5, 2015, 814–837; and Michael J. Squire, ‘Embodying the Dead on Classical Attic Grave Stelai’, Art History, 41: 3, 2018, 518–545.
33 For articles with further extended discussions of ‘Roman viewers’, compare also, for example: P. Gregory Warden and David Gilman Romano, ‘The Course of Glory: Greek Art in a Roman Context at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum’, Art History, 17: 2, 1994, 228–254; John Henderson, ‘Seeing Through Socrates: Portrait of the Philosopher in Sculpture Culture’, Art History, 19: 3, 1996, 327–352; John Ma, ‘The Two Cultures: Connoisseurship and Civic Honours’, Art History, 29: 2, 2006, 325–338; Jessica Hughes, ‘Personifications and the Ancient Viewer: The Case of the Hadrianeum “Nations”’, Art History, 32.1, 2009, 1–20; and Michael J. Squire, ‘Embodied Ambiguities on the Prima Porta Augustus’, Art History, 36: 2, 2013, 242–279. Fundamental on the ‘Roman viewer’ is Jas Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer: The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to Christianity, Cambridge, 1995.
34 Again, additional contributions might just as well have been included – not least the pioneering work of Jas Elsner published in this journal; see, for example, his ‘The Viewer and the Vision: The Case of the Sinai Apse, Art History, 17: 1, 1994, 81–102).
35 Other relevant contributions in this journal include: Jas Elsner, ‘Image and Iconoclasm in Byzantium’, Art History, 11: 4, 1988, 471– 491; and Verity J. Platt, ‘Viewing, Desiring, Believing: Confronting the Divine in a Pompeian House’, Art History, 25: 1, 2002, 87–112.
36 Gordon, ‘The Real and the Imaginary’, 5.
37 John Onians, ‘Abstraction and Imagination in Late Antiquity’, Art History, 3: 1, 1980, 1–24, at 4.
38 Jas Elsner, ‘Art History as Ekphrasis’, Art History, 33: 1, 2010, 10–27, at 11.
39 For the rationale behind this redesign, see Christine Riding and David Peters Corbett, ‘Editorial’, Art History, 33: 1, 2010, 8–9.
40 Quite apart from the twenty or so relevant articles in special issues (see above, nn. 24, 25 and 26), I list the following articles that have not yet been mentioned in my notes: Susan Silberberg-Price, ‘Politics and Private Imagery: The Sacral-Idyllic Landscapes in Augustan Art’, Art History, 3: 3, 1980, 241–251; Susan Silberberg-Price, ‘The Many Faces of the Pax Augusta: Images of War and Peace in Rome and Gallia Narbonensis’, Art History, 9: 3, 1986, 306–324; Paul Davies, David Hemsoll and Mark Wilson Jones, ‘The Pantheon: Triumph of Rome of Triumph of Compromise?’, Art History, 10: 2, 1987, 133–153; Philip Peirce, ‘The Arch of Constantine: Propaganda and Ideology in Late Roman Art’, Art History, 12: 4, 1989, 387–418; Peter Stewart, ‘Fine Art and Coarse Art: The Image of Roman Priapus’, Art History, 20: 4, 1997, 575–588; Kim Bowes, ‘Ivory Lists: Consular Diptychs, Christian Appropriation and Polemics of Time in Late Antiquity’, Art History, 24: 3, 2001, 338–357; Mark Bradley, ‘The Importance of Colour on Ancient Marble Sculpture’, Art History, 32: 3, 2009, 427–457; and Caroline Vout, ‘Laocoon’s Children and the Limits of Representation’, Art History, 33; 3, 2010, 396–419.
41 See Genevieve Warwick and Natalie Adamson, ‘Editorial’, Art History, 36: 1, 2013, 8–11, at 11.
42 Consider, for example, Emmanuelle Hénin, ‘Parrhasius and the Stage Curtain: Theatre, Metapainting, and the Idea of Representation in the Seventeenth Century’, Art History, 33: 2, 2010, 248–261 (discussing the early modern reception of the Elder Pliny’s story about a competition between Parrhasius and Zeuxis [Natural History, 35.65]).
43 Examples are legion. Consider, for example: Jane Ten Brink Goldsmith, ‘From Prose to Pictures: Leonaert Bramer’s Illustrations for the Aeneid and Vondel’s Translation of Virgil’, Art History, 7: 1, 1984, 21–37; Maiken Umbach, ‘Classicisms, Enlightenment and the “Other”: Thoughts on Decoding Eighteenth-Century Visual Culture’, Art History, 25: 3, 2002, 319–340; and Amelia Rauser, ‘Living Statues and Neoclassical Dress in Late Eighteenth-Centry Naples’, Art History, 38: 3, 2015, 462–487.
44 Dorothy Price, ‘Editorial’, Art History, 41: 1, 2018, 8–11, at 10.