Toreador Fresco, Knossos
AGRS 170A :  Classical Archaeology: Greek Painting
Course Catalog No: 31337
Social Sciences Building 104
Kim Shelton

Painting is one of the most expressive and engaging media of art, especially from the ancient world. It can be literally a window into that distant time and place. In ancient Greece, painting was done on a monumental and miniature scale, in a number of settings: house walls, building exteriors, portable wood panels, and most of all, ceramic vases.

Pottery in ancient Greece, in contrast to most cultures of the world, was an artistic medium for serious and informative images; the corpus is great and wide-ranging with images of gods, heroes, myths and legends; religious, social and civic rituals, institutions and attitudes. This pottery was also functional and was used in everyday life. The images in ancient painting inform us of their world, their beliefs and their values.

This course will survey the painting of the ancient Greek world, on a variety of materials, from its beginnings in prehistory to its height of international fame and accomplishment in the Hellenistic period. We will focus on: the techniques, materials, continuity and development in styles and use, the interrelationship of the various media, decorative vs. narrative meaning, regional and chronological trends, the craft vs. the art.

The material will be presented through lectures and readings. Grades will be based on class participation, a research project/paper and two exams (midterm and final).