Art and Identity in the Late Roman World

Art and Identity in the Late Roman World lead image

Art and Identity in the Late Roman World, Toledo Museum of Art, GlasSalon, December 7–8, 2017

The study of late antique art, art produced in the Mediterranean region from the third to eighth centuries AD, has become increasingly popular over the past several decades. However, scholars have tended to consider the art of the period in terms of the push and pull of competing "umbrella" traditions, the classical heritage of Greece and Rome and the three great monotheistic traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While these "umbrella" traditions are productive categories of inquiry, their use has had the tendency to obscure the specific contexts of the production of an responses of viewers to particular art works and monuments in different parts of the late antique Mediterranean. People of the period did not only self-identify as Roman, Persian, or Goth, or as Christians, Jews, or Muslims, but held complex and constantly changing combinations of affiliation based upon their circumstances and life experiences that, though impossible to reconstruct in full, can nonetheless be interrogated through an analysis which combines the tools of art history and anthropology.

This colloquium is undertaken in conjunction with the exhibition Glorious Splendor: Treasures of Early Christian Art. Art and Identity in the Late Roman World is generously supported by The Ferrell Family Fund and the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation with additional support from Bowling Green State University.


December 7
Adam Levine (Toledo Museum of Art)
Religious Metanarratives and the Emergence of Identity in Late Antiquity

Sean Leatherbury (Bowling Green State University)
Deliberate Provincialism: Identity, Iconography and Style in the Mosaics of Late Antique Syria

Robin Margaret Jensen (University of Notre Dame)
Christian Identities and the Destruction of Gods' Statues in Roman Africa

Ann Kuttner (University of Pennsylvania)
Our Past Recast, Our Future, Bright: Old Statues as New in Late Roman Christian and Civic Cityscapes

December 8
Douglas Boin (Saint Louis University)
Constantine's Fountain: From Jewish to Christian Art to a Social History of Late Antique Material Culture

Felipe Rojas (Brown University)
Archaeophilia in Late Antique Anatolia and Beyond

Ashley Jones (University of Florida)
Kings of the Romans

Susanna McFadden (Fordham University)
Visual Theater in the Late Antique Wall Paintings of Amheida, Egypt