Special Topics in the Humanities: The Art and Life of Roman Villas
This course will examine the architecture and art (primarily wall paintings, sculptures, and mosaics) of Roman villas in the context of social, intellectual, economic, religious and political life. It will focus on luxuriously appointed villas in the region of the Bay of Naples that were destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, including, among others, the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, the Villa of Oplontis at Torre Annunziata, and several villas at Stabiae. In such villas wealthy Romans lived a life of leisure alongside one that required careful management and productive use of the surrounding land and nearby sea. In our study of artworks and architecture, we will consider the ways in which visual imagery and the built environment responded to and negotiated between these two seemingly divergent modes of life. Social practices (e.g., banqueting, bathing, and the pursuit of intellectual and cultic interests) will be studied against the backdrop of the villa as a farm and the social prestige that the owners garnered from owing and cultivating land while cultivating social and political relationships. The course will briefly compare Roman villa life to that of Renaissance Italy. Students will have an opportunity to do research on objects in the Kelsey Museum.
Estimated cost of materials: $0-$50.
HISTART Concentration Distributions: 1. Ancient, D. Europe and the U.S.
No mandatory field trips outside Ann Arbor.
Textbooks/Other Materials: Roman Art in the Private Sphere, ed., E. K. Gazda. Other reading materials will be posted on Canvas.
Course Requirements: Class attendance and active participation: 20% of total grade; two class presentations accompanied by short papers: each 20% of total grade, midterm examination: 15% of total grade; and final examination or project: 25% of final grade. Graduate students enrolled in HistArt 689 must write a substantial research paper.
Intended Audience: Undergraduates and Graduate Students in art history, classical archaeology, ancient history and museum studies.
Class format: Twice weekly lectures with discussion of readings, slide presentations; several work sessions in the Kelsey Museum
This course fulfills the LS&A Humanities distribution requirement. Meets with HISTART 689.003 and CLARCH 350.001