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Art and Archaeology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2022

Michael Squire*
King's College London, UK


My first title in fact comprises two independent books. Within a section dedicated to Graeco-Roman art and archaeology, the subject may come as something of a surprise: the case study is not ‘Greek’ or ‘Roman’, nor does it derive from the extended Mediterranean. Rather, From Memory to Marble analyses the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, inaugurated in 1949. Elizabeth Rankin and Rolf Michael Schneider have delivered a pair of volumes almost as monumental as the installation they describe, the first examining the context, origin, and legacy of the building's frieze, the second cataloguing its twenty-seven scenes. One of the many remarkable aspects of these two books is that both have been made available as free downloads. But what really stands out in the analysis is the ‘unconditional collaboration’ (5) between an art historian and a classical archaeologist: on the one hand, the project showcases how a broader art-historical training can enrich the traditional sorts of questions posed by classical archaeology, especially when it comes to issues of pictorial narrative; on the other, it demonstrates what classical archaeological formalism can offer to contemporary art history, and indeed larger debates about cultural history and contemporary identity politics. The result will be essential reading for anyone concerned with the legacy of classical ideas and imagery in South Africa.

Subject Reviews
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association

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1 From Memory to Marble. The Historical Frieze of the Voortrekker Monument. Part I: The Frieze. By Elizabeth Rankin and Rolf Michael Schneider. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2020. Pp. xiv + 508. 382 colour illustrations. Hardback £136.50, ISBN: 978-3-11-061522-7.

2 From Memory to Marble. The Historical Frieze of the Voortrekker Monument. Part II: The Scenes. By Elizbeth Rankin and Rolf Michael Schneider. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2020. Pp. xvi + 646. 400 colour illustrations. Hardback £136.50, ISBN: 978-3-11-061524-1.

3 Empires of Faith in Late Antiquity. Histories of Art and Religion from India to Ireland. Edited by Jaś Elsner. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020. Pp. xvi + 515. B/w illustrations, 16 colour plates. Hardback £105, ISBN: 978-1-108-56446-5.

4 For the exhibition catalogue, see J. Elsner, S. Lenk, et al., Imagining the Divine. Art and the Rise of World Religions (Oxford, 2017); see also the companion collection of essays in J. Elsner and R. Wood (eds.), Imagining the Divine. Art in Religions of Late Antiquity across Eurasia (London, 2021).

5 The Triumph and Trade of Egyptian Objects in Rome. Collecting Art in the Ancient Mediterranean. By Stephanie Pearson. Image and Context 20. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2021. Pp. viii + 264. 63 b/w illustrations, 35 colour illustrations. Hardback £91, ISBN: 978-3-11-070040-4.

6 Fundamental is J. Tanner, The Invention of Art History in Ancient Greece. Religion, Society and Artistic Rationalisation (Cambridge, 2006).

7 Decor-Räume in Pompejanischen Stadthäusern. Ausstattungsstrategien und Rezeptionsformen. By Annette Haug. Decorative Principles in Late Republican and Early Imperial Italy 1. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2020. Pp. x + 620. 427 colour illustrations. Hardback £118, ISBN: 978-3-11-069642-4.

8 Principles of Decoration in the Roman World. Edited by Annette Haug and M. Taylor Lauritsen. Decorative Principles in Late Republican and Early Imperial Italy 2. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2021. Pp. vii + 194. 95 b/w illustrations, 21 colour illustrations. Hardback £109, ISBN: 978-3-11-073213-9.

9 A third title is forthcoming: A. Haug, A. Hielscher, and M. T. Lauritsen (eds.), Materiality in Roman Art and Architecture. Aesthetics, Semantics and Function (Berlin, 2022).

10 See e.g. T. Hölscher, ‘Architectural Sculpture: Messages? Programs? Towards Rehabilitating the Notion of “Decoration”’, in P. Schultz and R. von den Hoff (eds.), Structure, Image, Ornament. Architectural Sculpture in the Greek World (Oxford, 2009), 54–67; C. Marconi, ‘Kosmos: The Imagery of the Greek Temple’, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 45 (2004), 211–24; M. J. Squire and N. Dietrich (eds.), Ornament and Figure in Graeco-Roman Art. Rethinking Visual Ontologies in Classical Antiquity (Berlin, 2018); N. Barham, ‘Theorizing Image and Abstraction in Ancient Rome: The Case of the Villa Farnesina’, Art History 44 (2021), 164–85.

11 A. Haug, Bild und Ornament im frühen Athen (Regensburg, 2015). On this topic, we can now look forward to N. Arrington, Athens at the Margins. Pottery and People in the Early Mediterranean World (Princeton, NJ, 2021).

12 Die Stadt als beschriebener Raum. Die Beispiele Pompeji und Herculaneum. By Fanny Opdenhoff. Materiale Textkulturen 33. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2021. Pp. xxiv + 397. 56 b/w illustrations, 78 colour illustrations, 5 tables. Hardback £82, ISBN: 978-3-11-072269-7.

13 La notion de caricature dans l'antiquité. Textes et images. Edited by Anne Gangloff, Valérie Huet, and Christophe Vendries. Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2021. Pp. 232. B/w illustrations, 16 colour illustrations. Paperback €24, ISBN: 978-2-7535-8043-5.

14 New Directions and Paradigms for the Study of Greek Architecture. Interdisciplinary Dialogues in the Field. Edited by Philip Sapirstein and David Scahill. Monumenta Graeca et Romana 25. Leiden, Brill, 2019. Pp. xxii + 326. B/w illustrations. Hardback €138, ISBN: 978-90-04-41663-5.

15 New Approaches to Ancient Material Culture in the Greek and Roman World: 21st-Century Methods and Classical Antiquity. Edited by C. L. Cooper. Monumenta Graeca et Romana 27. Leiden, Brill, 2020. Pp. xiv + 213. B/w and colour illustrations. Hardback €109, ISBN: 978-90-04-44075-3.

16 Specifically, the author here offers an update to B. A. Barletta, ‘State of the Discipline: Greek Architecture’, AJA 115 (2011), 611–40, and the excellent M. M. Miles (ed.), A Companion to Greek Architecture (Malden, MA, 2016).

17 Material World. The Intersection of Art, Science, and Nature in Ancient Literature and Its Renaissance Reception. Edited by Guy Hedreen. NIKI Studies in Netherlandish-Italian Art History 15. Leiden, Brill, 2021. Pp. xviii + 308. 67 colour illustrations. Hardback €125, ISBN: 978-90-04-42376-3.

18 The English-language article – which comes heartily recommended – appears in A. Anguissola and A. Grüner (eds.), The Nature of Art. Pliny the Elder on Materials (Turnhout, 2021).