Classicisms Episode 1: Salvatore Settis

last edited on Thu. April 20 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 first lecture is by renowned art historian Salvatore Settis. Settis is one of the world’s foremost experts on ancient and Renaissance art. He is Professor Emeritus of Classical Archeology and Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore de Pisa and is the former director of the Getty Research Institute. Throughout his career, Settis’s research has lead us to a greater understanding of the polymorphic quality of the classical, shedding light on the adaptability of the classical both in terms of its history as an idea, and in its original sense of the multiplicity and serial nature of classical objects. His lecture, “Caravaggio and the Antiquities of Rome” examines the influence of classical statuary on the painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.


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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