Winckelmann and the appreciation of Greek vases

Date & time

5.15–6.30pm 19 October 2017


Milgate Room, 1st Floor, A.D. Hope Bldg, Australian National University


Prof Amy Smith, University of Reading


Phoebe Garrett

Presented by Prof Amy Smith as part of the Centre for Classical Studies Seminar Series

When the Prussian scholar Johann Joachim Winckelmann—widely acclaimed as the founder of the academic studies of Classical Archaeology, Art History and much else—ventured to Rome in 1755, few knew or cared whether the ancient sculptures in papal and other private collections were Greek, Roman or other creations. Yet Winckelmann, who had glimpsed and thus acquired a taste for ancient Greece through the lines of the ancient texts, began to apply stylistic criteria in the classification of antiquities as Greek, Graeco‐Roman or Roman. In his lifetime Greek vaseswere misunderstood even by Winckelmann himself as creations of the Etruscan. In her talk Professor Smith will introduce us to Winckelmann, his friends, and successors, as they came to an understanding that the most prized vases emerging from tombs on Italian soil were made by the Greeks.

Amy C. Smith is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Reading, where she also serves as Curator of the Ure Museum. She received her PhD from Yale University and studied also at the American Numismatic Society, the American Academy and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, where she served in 2016 as Gertrude Smith Professor. Prof. Smith has written widely on Greek art, especially vases, and iconographic subjects concerning politics, religion and gender. She also researches museum collections and their collections histories and explores ways of presenting them to new audiences.

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