Photo overlooking the totem pole in the Pitt Rivers Museum


During the Final Honour School, students delve more deeply into the subject areas which have been introduced to them in the first year. They will also decide on which three options they would like to take from the following list of 30 subjects. One option is studied in the second year, two are studied in the third year.

Greek Archaeology & Art, c. 500-323 BC

This course studies the visual and monumental culture of classical Greece in depth. Its subjects are the cities, sanctuaries, temples, statues, and other characteristic figured media of the period, such as grave reliefs and painted vases. These things are studied in their physical and historical contexts as vital constituents of classical Greek culture. The course examines the changing functions, styles, and iconographies of figured objects, and looks at how they can be interpreted in terms of contemporary Greek society and politics.  It also analyses the social, symbolic, and economic significance of architecture, particularly monumental public architecture, within Greek cities and sanctuaries.

This period witnessed a revolution in seeing and representing that lies at the base of the western art tradition, and its surviving monuments are sufficiently well documented to allow us to study this revolution in its own terms alongside what it came to mean later.  It forms an interesting test case for assessing what images and monuments can add to our understanding of a period that is also well represented in literary texts. Emphasis is placed on the methods by which figured artefacts may be dated and assessed historically. An ability to read ancient or modern foreign languages is not required. 

Last update on 09/12/16 by Robyn Mason.

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