Ancient Art

The Department of Art History at the University of Chicago has a long tradition of combining methodological innovation with rigorous attention to fundamentals. The Program in Classical Art and Archaeology is no exception. In teaching, our goal is to train scholars capable of working at the highest level in both Art History and Archaeology. In research, our goal is to find common ground between these kindred disciplines - and, in so doing, to transform them.

In recent years, one of the most exciting developments in the study of the Classical world has been the integration of art-historical and archaeological methods. Visual materials no longer function as secondary illustrations to historical or literary studies, but have become vital topics in their own right. As a result, questions of representation, iconology, historiography, and visual culture have acquired new prominence. The Department's faculty has been deeply involved in these developments.

Our faculty's expertise covers the Greco-Roman world from the Iron Age to Late Antiquity and beyond. Introductory courses (300-level) provide a basic grounding in materials and methods. Advanced seminars (400-level) address more specific topics. We also do a great deal of undergraduate instruction, providing our graduate students with ample opportunity to gain teaching experience. Because ours is a small (but rapidly growing) program, all students work closely with faculty. We tailor curricula to the needs and interests of the individual (within the parameters of the Departmental program as a whole). We do, however, expect all students to acquire competence in at least one Classical language (Greek or Latin) before advancing to Ph.D. candidacy.

The study of Classical Art, however, is intrinsically interdisciplinary. Within the Department, there exists an ongoing dialogue with the Program in East Asian Art, which has a significant archaeological component. More generally, we strongly encourage students to establish formal and informal links with other departments, such as Classics, Anthropology, and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. For this reason, all students are expected to participate in at least one Workshop (see Resources page), typically Ancient Societies or Interdisciplinary Archaeology.