Classicisms Episode 2: Jas’ Elsner

last edited on Thu. May 18 2017

Welcome to the Smart Museum Podcast series: Classicisms. This podcast captures lectures given at the University of Chicago, in association with the Smart Museum of Art’s special exhibition Classicisms, up now through June 11, 2017.

Classicism is often presumed to be an unchanging concept—synonymous with order, symmetry, balance, harmony, and decorum—yet history tells us that it is anything but stable. As an aesthetic category, classicism has proved remarkably resilient and flexible, having been adapted to a wide range of historical circumstances and ideological aims. The Smart’s exhibition presents classicism as a multiple and variable phenomenon, one that offers essential points of connection between highly disparate examples.

Our second lecture is by renowned classicist and art historian Professor Jas’ Elsner. Elsner is the Humfrey Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology and Art at Corpus Christi College in the University of Oxford, and Visiting Professor of Art and Religion in the Divinity School and Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. His lecture, “Classicism and the Transmission of Antiquity” examines the ways artworks were viewed in their original context and how they relate to other forms of cultural, social, and spiritual practice.

View images referenced in the talk (PDF)


A special thanks to the curators of Classicisms, Larry F. Norman and Anne Leonard. Support for this exhibition and its programs has been provided by the Smart Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, Mary Smart and the Smart Family Foundation, the Smart Museum’s Pamela and R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric Exhibition Fund, Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago, UChicago Arts Grants, The IFPDA Foundation, and the Museum’s SmartPartners. Thank you to our staff: producers, Margaret Glazier and Molly Bauer, and our composer, Rob Geada.

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