Course Description

This survey course explores the history of Roman art and architecture from Rome’s founding in 753 B.C. up through the reign of Constantine (A.D. 306-337). Students learn how to analyze works of art and architecture in terms of form, function, and iconography. Particular emphasis is placed on situating objects and monuments within the changing historical, cultural, political, and religious contexts of ancient Rome, including major changes such as the shift from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire and the advent of Christianity. Students will study a variety of media—such as statues, painting, metalwork, and domestic and public architecture—from the city of Rome itself as well as Roman provinces as far afield as Asia Minor and North Africa. The course will introduce students to famous buildings such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon but also to lesser known but equally important works. As we study major objects and monuments from ancient Rome, we will consider questions of design, patronage, artistic agency, viewer reception, and cultural identity. We will also consider Rome’s complex relationship to Greek culture and attempt to answer the question of what makes Roman art distinctively “Roman.” Finally, in considering reception of Roman visual culture in the lived experiences of individuals from a wide spectrum of ancient Roman society we will from time to time draw on current events concerning war, slavery, and issues of gender. 

Instructor: Susan Ludi Blevins, Ph.D.

Email: blevins.susan@wustl.edu

Office Room Number: Kemper 217

Office Hours: Wednesday, 12-1:30

and by appointment

Class Meetings: T/Th 2:30-4:00

Final Exam: May 10, 2017, 3:30-5:30