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Visual Ontologies: Syle, Archaism and the Construction of the Sacred in the Western Tradition

Visual Ontologies: Syle, Archaism and the Construction of the Sacred in the Western Tradition
15 King's College Circle, UC140
Time: Oct 1st, 4:30 pm End: Oct 1st, 6:30 pm
Interest Categories: Visual Studies (UTM), Religion, Study of (FAS), Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), Medieval Studies (FAS), History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Critical Theory, Classics (FAS), before 400 BCE, Art (FAS), Architecture, Landscape, Design, 400-1200, 400-1 BCE, 1200-1500, 1-400 CE
Lecture by Jas Elsner, Oxford University

The Department of Art presents the Peter H. Brieger Memorial Lecture

Jás Elsner, Oxford University, Corpus Christi College and University of Chicago Visiting Professor in Art History

Visual Ontologies: Style, Archaism and the Construction of the Sacred in the Western Tradition


Jás Elsner's main research interest is the art of the Roman empire, broadly conceived to include late antiquity and the early middle ages including Byzantium as well as the pre-Christian Classical world. He began his research by looking at the way art was viewed in antiquity -- and this has led to an interest in all kinds of reception from ritual and pilgrimage in the case of religious art to the literary description of art (including the rhetorical technique known as ekphrasis) to the more recent collecting and display of art as well as its modern historiography and receptions. Since the art of antiquity has such a privileged, indeed canonical, position in our culture, the study of its receptions is an exploration of more recent history's varied, competing and often ideologically understandings of its own past.

Major publications include:

The Cultures of Collecting (editor, with Roger Cardinal), London (Reaktion Books), Cambridge Mass. (Harvard University Press) and Melbourne (Melbourne University Press), 1994. Translated into Japanese and published in Tokyo (Kenkyusha), 1998.

Art and the Roman Viewer: The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to Christianity, Cambridge, New York and Melbourne (CUP), 1995.

Pilgrimage Past and Present: Sacred Travel and Sacred Space in the World Religions (jointly written with Simon Coleman), London (British Museum Press) and Cambridge Mass. (Harvard University Press), 1995.

Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire A.D. 100-450, Oxford: Oxford History of Art (OUP), 1998

Pilgrimage in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2005, editor with Ian Rutherford

Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text, Princeton (Princeton U.P), 2007

This lecture is free and open to the public.  Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the Department of Art at (416) 946-7524.

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