Workshop on Religion and Late Antique Culture October 23-24

cohen-1A workshop on religion and culture in late antiquity will be held at Vanderbilt this Friday, October 24, with a Thursday evening keynote at the Nashville Parthenon. The workshop, Religion in Late Antique Culture and Society (RELACS), is sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Department of History of Art. Participants will meet all day Friday in Cohen Memorial Hall, with a late afternoon field trip to the Nashville Parthenon.

Gregor Kalas, associate professor of the history and theory of architecture, School of Architecture, University of Tennessee, will deliver an Archaeological Institute of America lecture on Thursday, October 23, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park. In his lecture, titled “Visualizing Statues in the Late Antique Roman Forum,” Kalas will explore using high-tech digital techniques to visualize the appearance of sculpture in the late antique Roman Forum. This lecture is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and the departments of history of art and classical studies at Vanderbilt.

Kalas will welcome participants to the Friday morning session, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in Cohen 308 with a follow-up Q & A regarding the AIA lecture. Jacob Latham, assistant professor of history, University of Tennessee, will present a paper entitled “The pompa circensis in Late Antiquity: Christianization, transformation, restoration” at 10:30 a.m. followed by Tina Shepardson, associate professor of religious studies, University of Tennessee, “Give it up for God: Wealth and the cost of religious resistance in John of Ephesus’ Church History,” 11:30 a.m.

The afternoon session commences at 2:00 p.m. in Cohen 324 with Barbara Tsakirgis, associate professor of classics and history of art, “Omega House in Athens: An early Christian residence?” followed by a plenary session at 3:00 p.m. led by Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, and David Michelson, assistant professor of the history of Christianity. Betsey Robinson, associate professor of history of art, will lead a field trip, “The Parthenon after antiquity,” at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Late antiquity is a term used by scholars to describe a historical period that includes both the end of classical civilizations and the first centuries of medieval societies in the Mediterranean, Africa, Europe and the Near East. The Religion and Culture in Late Antiquity seminar, which meets once a month at the Warren Center for the Humanities, describes the geographic definition of “late antiquity” as focusing primarily on the cultures and societies of the Mediterranean world. Seminar coordinators are Jensen, Michelson, and Mark Ellison, graduate student in religion.

For more information on the workshop, contact Ellison, workshop convener, at

Patricia Leighten to Deliver Goldberg Lecture on November 6

cartier-bresson.behindGareStLazare.1932Patricia Leighten, professor of art history & visual studies, Duke University, will present the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History on Thursday, November 6, at 4:10 p.m. in 203 Cohen Hall. Her lecture is entitled “The Secret Life of Henri Cartier-Bresson,” with a reception to follow in the atrium.

Leighten’s field of research is late nineteenth and early twentieth-century modernism and politics in Europe, primitivism, and the history and theory of photography. In her research and teaching, she is interested in the relationship between visual culture and the politics of both representation and interpretation. Leighten received her PhD from Rutgers University.

She is author of The Liberation of Painting: Modernism and Anarchism in Avant-Guerre Paris (University of Chicago Press 2013) and Re-Ordering the Universe: Picasso and Anarchism, 1897-1914 (Princeton University Press 1989) as well as coauthor of A Cubism Reader: Documents and Criticism, 1906-1914 (University of Chicago Press 2008) [Le cubisme devant ses contemporains–Documents et critiques (1906-1914), Paris: Les Presses du réel, forthcoming 2014] and Cubism and Culture (Thames & Hudson 2001 [Cubisme et culture 2002]).

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East.

*Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Saint-Lazare Station, Paris, 1932, gelatin silver print

Gregor Kalas to Deliver AIA Lecture on Thursday, October 23

kalasstructureGregor Kalas, associate professor of the history and theory of architecture, School of Architecture, University of Tennessee, investigates late antique urban landscapes by digitally reconstructing the center of Rome in order to reveal the ritual function of buildings and the topographical linkages between significant city spaces.

His current research concerns the late antique revitalization of public architecture in the Roman Forum, Rome’s chief monumental precinct.

Kalas will deliver an Archaeological Institute of America lecture on Thursday, October 23, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park. In his lecture, titled “Visualizing Statues in the Late Antique Roman Forum,” Kalas will explore using high-tech digital techniques to visualize the appearance of sculpture in the late antique Roman Forum. “During the fourth and fifth centuries CE, statues populating the open areas of the Roman Forum preserved memories of the individuals represented in portraits,” wrote Kalas. “This visualization project contextualizes the now dispersed statues and their inscribed bases in the public space of the late antique Forum.”

While in Nashville to deliver the AIA lecture, the next morning Kalas will welcome participants to an all-day workshop on Religion in Late Antique Culture and Society (RELACS) sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities Late Antique Seminar and the Department of History of Art.

His book, The Restoration of the Roman Forum in Late Antiquity: Transforming Public Space, is forthcoming in January 2015 by the University of Texas Press, Austin. The first comprehensive examination of the Roman Forum in late antiquity, this book explores the cultural significance of restoring monuments and statues in the city’s preeminent public space, demonstrating shifts in patronage, political power, historical associations, and aesthetics. Kalas holds degrees from Williams College (BA), Johns Hopkins University (MA), and Bryn Mawr College (PhD).

Free and open to the public, Kalas’ lecture is sponsored by the Nashville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and Vanderbilt’s Department of Classical Studies and Department of History of Art. Those who plan to attend the AIA lecture on October 23 are encouraged to call the Nashville Parthenon at 615.862.8431 to reserve a seat.

HART Society Sponsors Information Session for Majors on Thursday

HARTdaliInterested in majoring in the History of Art? Ready to study abroad? Nervous about getting a job? Confused about how Art History will fit into the mix? Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 23!

Along with cookies and lemonade in the Cohen atrium from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, History of Art majors will have HART department professors, students, study abroad reps, and a career counselor on hand to offer one-on-one advice and answer any questions.

Contact with any questions regarding the event.

Vivien Fryd Speaks at Colloquium on Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave

Greek_Slave_largeVivien Green Fryd, professor of history of art, participated in a colloquium on The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers held on October 10-11 at the Yale Center of British Art in conjunction with the Sculpture Victorious exhibition. Fryd’s presentation entitled “The Greek Slave and Slavery: A Historiography” was part of a session on “The Greek Slave: Reception and Historiography.”

In 1982 Fryd wrote the first article to examine this statue, which was the subject of the two-day colloquium by invitation only. Her article, “Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave: Emblem of Freedom,” was published in The American Art Journal 14 (Autumn, 1982).

The colloquium and the exhibit offered “a unique opportunity to reconsider this iconic American work in the context of Victorian Britain, where it became a contested symbol in debates about slavery and abolition,” wrote Betsy Kim, Yale University. “A generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art has supported the loan of Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave (1847) from the Newark Museum. Although made by an American artist, the work was first shown in London at the Great Exhibition of 1851, where it became one of the most talked about and controversial sculptures of the age.”

*Hiram Powers, The Greek Slave, 1847, marble

Sheri Shaneyfelt to Lecture at Milwaukee Art Museum on October 16

Antonio BalestraSheri Shaneyfelt, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies in the department of history of art, will explore developments in Italian painting from the late 14th to the 16th century in a lecture at the Milwaukee Museum of Art on Thursday, October 16.

Shaneyfelt will address “Italian Renaissance Art from Glasgow: Paintings from Florence, Bologna, and Venice at the Milwaukee Art Museum” in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit, both celebrating the richness of Italy’s artistic legacy.

Her lecture will be a stylistic, temporal, and geographical journey through the humanization of the figure, the rise of linear perspective, the role of narrative, variations on the “holy family,” and portraiture, through the works of GIovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Luca Signorelli, Tiziano Vecellio (“Titian”), and Paris Bordone, among others represented in the featured exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums.

The exhibit includes religious paintings of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, along with secular Neoclassical and genre paintings of the nineteenth century, representing the principal artistic centers, such as Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Rome, and Venice.

Shaneyfelt, recipient of the Harriet S. Gilliam teaching award for the College of Arts and Science, specializes in Italian Renaissance art. She also teaches courses in Northern European Renaissance and Baroque art at Vanderbilt.

*Antonio Balestra. Justice and Peace Embracing, ca. 1700. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection, Courtesy American Federation of Arts

Rebecca VanDiver to Present Paper at AHAA Symposium

romarebeardenRebecca Keegan VanDiver, assistant professor of history of art, will present a paper at the third biennial symposium organized by the Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA) held October 9-11 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her paper is entitled “The Pictures Not Painted: African American Artists and the Rosenwald Fund Fellowship, 1929-1948.”

During the Great Depression, American artists of all races found themselves struggling to keep their careers afloat; some artists sought refuge teaching in college art departments, while others entered the employ of the WPA, or found themselves drafted into military service. In her paper, VanDiver examines proposals submitted by African American artists to the Chicago-based Rosenwald Fund Fellowship between 1929 and 1948. The Rosenwald Fund, along with the Harmon Foundation, offered critical financial support and creative freedom to African American artists during this pivotal period.

VanDiver’s close scrutiny of these artists’ Rosenwald Fund application materials, now archived at Fisk University, elucidates the specific African American aesthetic that the Rosenwald Fund championed as well as opens up a discussion of the varied economic, cultural, and physical obstacles facing African American artists during the interwar years. VanDiver moves beyond the work of successful applicants (Augusta Savage, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, and others) and engages with counterfactual theory by considering the projects that the Fund rejected, which were submitted by Romare Bearden, Palmer Hayden, and Loïs Mailou Jones, among others.

Her interrogation of these refused applications reveals a number of art works that were planned yet never realized. VanDiver asks, “What might occur to the construction of the American artistic canon if we consider these paintings that remained mere imaginations?”

*Romare Bearden, At Five in the Afternoon, 1946, oil on board, Collection Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK