New at RU, Thursday 26 Feb: Harvard’s G.F. Pinney sheds light on “The Dancers on the Acanthus Column at Delphi”

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Not attending the 2009 annual meeting of the College Art Association next weekend in Los Angeles?

Well, then come by the Rutgers Student Center (126 College Avenue, New Brunswick) on Thursday 26 February at 4.30 PM.  The room? There are three of them in fact, because we’re expecting a capacity crowd: 411 ABC.

There Harvard’s Gloria Ferrari Pinney will lecture on the “Column of the Dancers”, now in the spectacular museum at Delphi in Greece.

That’s a column, carved from high-grade marble, that features on its upper part statues of three dancing young women, with acanthus leaves below.

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The assemblage is an Athenian offering of the fourth century BC to the sanctuary Originally it had a tripod on the top—supported by the women’s heads—on which rested a bronze cauldron.

And for this remarkable (and somewhat mysterious) work of art Gloria Ferrari Pinney will offer a new interpretation.

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Pinney is Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art, Emerita, in the Harvard University Department of Classics.

Her long-term research interests are in the area of Archaic and Classical Greek Art, particularly vase-paintings and iconography, with special attention to the relationship of images to texts.

Pinney is particularly noted for her pathbreaking  book, Figures of Speech: Men and Maidens in Ancient Greece, published with University of Chicago Press in 2002. Figures of Speech explores issues of method in the interpretation of pictures, focusing on the representation of gender in ancient Greece.

Specifically, Pinney there examined a large group of vase paintings that depict young women engaged in a variety of activities—adorning themselves, tossing a ball, fetching water, and, the most prevalent image, spinning wool.

Said Harvard’s Gregory Nagy of Pinney’s work, here “she cogently argues that visual images play against a repertory of assumptions about behavior and cultural norms, and conversely that texts play against a background of implicit visualizations.”

Pinney came to Harvard from the University of Chicago, where she taught in the Departments of Art History and Classical Languages and Literatures from 1993 to 1998.

Born in Bologna, Pinney developed an interest in the ancient world early on, earning a bachelor’s degree in classics from the Universita degli Studi di Roma in 1964. She studied at the Scuola Nazionale di Archeologia from 1964-66, then came to the United States to attend the University of Cincinnati. She earned her Ph.D. there in classical archaeology in 1976.

She has taught at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., and at Bryn Mawr College, becoming the Doreen Canaday Spitzer Professor of Classical Studies there in 1990.

In 1993 Pinney went to the University of Chicago, where she was professor in the departments of art history and classical languages and civilizations, and then in 1998 to Harvard.

It should be pretty clear by now that you don’t want to sleep on this major 26 February RU event.

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PS the lecture fully lived up to (high) expectations, to the delight and edification of the capacity crowd…

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2 responses to “New at RU, Thursday 26 Feb: Harvard’s G.F. Pinney sheds light on “The Dancers on the Acanthus Column at Delphi”

  1. Cara Gloria,
    noi eravamo rimasti ai sarcofagi asiatici.
    Dante

  2. Just curious about the red-figure vases with paintings of “young women engaged in a variety of activities—adorning themselves, tossing a ball, fetching water, and, the most prevalent image, spinning wool.” Can any of these vases be viewed in Greece?
    Thank you~ Amy Gammon

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