Art and Architecture

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam

Oral exam


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Greek and Latin languages; Greek and Roman Art History


The course focuses on the relationship between the artistic production (mainly painting and sculpture) and architectural monuments, and on the role of the agent and the notion of decorum (appropriateness). Thanks to a variety of paradigmatic cases of this cultural phenomenon, the investigation will consider monuments from the Archaic Greece to the Imperial period. It is articulated in three sections: the first discusses the evolution of the concept of agency and its role in ancient and modern times. The second part consists of a contextual and diachronic analysis of monuments representative of the private and public agency in the Greek and Roman world: starting with architectural monuments in sacred spaces and in the cities to the domestic architecture and the funerary space. The third section focuses on dedications and monuments and the reading of literary and epigraphic sources in order to better understand and evaluate the complex relationship between sculptors, painters, and architects, and their agents.

Educational aims

Capacity of contextualize the artistic phenomenon in relatioship to the architectural evidence in different places and cultures

Bibliographical references

Bibliographical records on specific cases and monuemts will be provided. For a general introduction to the themes, suggested books are:

Castiglione, M. e A. Poggio. eds. 2012. Arte-Potere. Forme artistiche, istituzioni, paradigmi interpretativi. Milano: LED.

Hölscher, T. 1994. Monumenti statali e pubblico. Roma: "L'Erma" di Bretschneider.

Hölscher, T. 2018. Visual power in Ancient Greece and Rome: Between Art and Social Reality. Oakland: University of California Press.

Smith, R.R.R. 1998. "Cultural Choice and Political Identity in Honorific Portrait Statues in the Greek East in the Second Century A.D." JRS 88: 56-93.

Stewart, P. 2008. The Social History of Roman Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tanner, J. 2006. The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zanker, P. 1989. Augusto e il potere delle immagini. Traduzione di F. Cuniberto Torino: Einaudi.