Seth Estrin

Biography

Seth Estrin specializes in the art, archaeology, and visual culture of ancient Greece, with a focus on sculpture of the Archaic and Classical periods. His scholarship and teaching explore the lived experience of art objects in ancient Greece – their sensuous properties, their entanglement with felt experiences such as memory and emotion, and their place in shaping intersubjective encounters and personal histories. His research, which foregrounds close study of surviving objects, engages with ancient concepts and vocabulary for the experience of art as evidenced through ancient literature and inscriptions. Many of his publications deliberately bridge traditional boundaries between the study of the ancient material and literary records.

Estrin's first book, Grief Made Marble: Funerary Sculpture in Classical Athens (forthcoming with Yale University Press), explores the relationship between art and emotion, focusing on how the experience of bereavement in Classical Athens and the emotions of grief and pity were shaped by forms of relief sculpture. Grounded in careful study of numerous extant funerary monuments, new readings of dozens of funerary epigrams, and close consideration of both ancient and modern theories of emotion, the book offers not simply a new history of an important corpus of Greek sculpture, but a new understanding of the capacity of sculpture – specifically, relief sculpture – to configure how bereaved individuals processed their grief.

His current research examines how the making and beholding of art objects in early Greece served to construct embodied facets of social identity, such as notions of sexual or racial difference. A second book project, preliminarily entitled Kouros and Kore: Archaic Greek Sculpture and the Making of Sexual Difference, questions the binarist framework of kouros (“boy”) and kore (“girl”) that has traditionally organized the study of early Greek sculpture. In so doing, it argues for a new understanding of the role of sculpture in constructing the idea of the sexed body in Archaic Greece.

Estrin received his BA in Classics and Art History from the University of Toronto, his MSt in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and his MA and PhD, also in Classical Archaeology, from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2020-21, he was the J. Clawson Mills fellow in the Department of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has previously held fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. and from the Social Science Research Council.

Publications

Grief Made Marble: Funerary Sculpture in Classical Athens. Forthcoming with Yale University Press

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“Horoi and Horizons in Fifth- and Fourth-Century Athens.” In Shifting Horizons: A Line and its Movement in Art, History, and Literature, ed. L. Burkart and B. Fricke (27-54). Basel: Schwabe Verlag, 2022.

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“Sirens on the Edge of the Classical Attic Funerary Monument.” In Music and Memory in the Ancient Mediterranean, ed. L. Curtis and N. Weiss (261-286). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

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Stewart, A., E. Driscoll, S. Estrin, N. J. Gleason, E. Lawrence, R. Levitan, S. Lloyd-Knauf, and K. Tuberville. “Classical Sculpture from the Athenian Agora, Part 2. The Friezes of the Temple of Athena Pallenis (Temple of Ares).” Hesperia 88.4 (2019): 625-705.

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“Experiencing Elegy: Materiality and Visuality in the Ambracian Polyandrion.” In The Genres of Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models, ed. L. Kurke, M. Foster, and N. Weiss (298-324). Leiden: Brill, 2019.

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Memory Incarnate: Material Objects and Private Visions in Classical Athens, from Euripides’ Ion to the Gravesite.” In The Materialities of Greek Tragedy: Objects and Affect in Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, ed. M. Mueller and M. Telò (111-132). London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

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“Cold Comfort: Empathy and Memory in an Archaic Funerary Monument from Akraiphia.” Classical Antiquity 35 (2016): 189-214.

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“Living Surfaces: The Materiality of Minoan Wall Painting.” In Beyond Iconography: Materials, Methods and Meaning in Ancient Painting Studies, ed. S. Lepinski and S. McFadden (109-125). Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 2015.

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Profiles

Niall Atkinson
Niall Atkinson
Medieval and Renaissance Architecture and Urban History
Department Chair
CWAC 260
773.702.0270
Seth Estrin
Seth Estrin
Ancient Greek Art and Archaeology
MAPH Art History Advisor
CWAC 264
Wei-Cheng Lin
Wei-Cheng Lin
Chinese Art and Architecture
Architectural Studies Advisor
CWAC 268
773.702.0268
2006-07
Iowa State University
Assistant Professor, East Asian Art and Architecture
Potters Wheel
Richard Neer
Ancient Greek Art and Architecture
CWAC 259
773.702.5890
Andrei Pop
Andrei Pop
Modern Art and Aesthetics
1130 East 59th Street
773.702.8410
Megan Sullivan
Megan Sullivan
Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art
CWAC 272
773.702.5126