Explore Ancient Greece at Oglethorpe

Are you ready for a virtual trip to ancient Greece?  Next week Oglethorpe University will present two art history lectures that will sweep you away to these ancient worlds.

“Look and listen: Poet, artist and patron in ancient Greece”

Oglethorpe will welcome Dr. Jasper Gaunt, the curator of Greek and Roman art at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, who will lecture about Greek artifacts as they relate to the study of the texts of Herodotus, Homer and Thucydides. The lecture will take place on Monday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Lupton Auditorium, and a reception will follow in the Great Hall of Hearst.

“The Minoan Mystery”

The next evening, Dr. Jeffrey Collins, assistant professor of art history at Oglethorpe, will lecture about Minoan archaeology. The Minoan culture, pre-dating the ancient Greeks, was one of the most intriguing and mysterious cultures in the ancient world.

“Archaeology informs us, mythology inspires us,” said Dr. Collins. “Both archaeology and mythology help reveal a mysterious people who built palaces, painted extraordinary frescoes, and traded as seafarers in the ancient world.  Who were they?”  He will help answer this question and lead the audience on a visual journey through the history and the mystery.  Dr. Collins will present the most recent findings and ideas about the Minoan culture on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the OU Museum of Art.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Dr. Collins also is the director of the Study Abroad program at Oglethorpe University (OUSA). For more information about OUSA and the study abroad opportunities for OU students to visit this ancient art up close and personally, contact Jessica Sundstrom.

Photos: Dr. Jasper Gaunt; The Bull-Leaping Fresco from the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete.

Dig This: OU Senior Studies Archaeology in Turkey

Here at the OU Blog, we’ve heard plenty of stories of students traveling all over the world to enhance their OU education.  Most explore places like England, Spain, and plenty of places in Asia—but a student studying archaeology in Turkey?  That’s a new one for us!

Meet Katherine Harkleroad ’12.  She is an art history major at Oglethorpe, and decided to spend her summer in Turkey, where she attended an international archaeology seminar at Crisler Library.  Crisler is an American archaeological research and teaching facility which hosts some of the world’s brightest researchers and historians.  The program is open to undergraduates, graduates, and PhD candidates, and it’s based in Selçuk, near the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.

But when we say archaeology, don’t think of Katherine with a shovel and brush in hand.  As much as she’d probably love to dig, Katherine was taking the seminar from the standpoint of an art historian, and was a respectful observer of those “on the ground.”

“We are not actually digging in the dirt,” explained Katherine, while still in Turkey. “We are visiting Ephesus and the surrounding sites—such as Priene, Miletus, Didyma, and Aphrodisias—with archaeologists and professors from around the world…Turkey is very strict about who is involved in excavations. Although the archaeologists here are from all over, the excavation crews are from Turkey…[While] walking behind the scenes at many of the sites, our group has been able to view and hear about finds that are not yet published.”

Even without digging, Katherine kept a busy schedule.  Each morning, she and her colleagues traveled to a new site, exploring topics such as Roman private life, cult and politics, pagan sanctuaries, and how the Romans supplied themselves with water.  The seminar is taught by esteemed archaeologists known the world over for their research, including Germany’s Hilke Thür, the main lecturer in the course and a thirty-year veteran in the field.

“It is such a great opportunity to visit Ephesus and the surrounding sites with such a well known and renowned archaeologist,” said Katherine.  “[This] has helped me better understand archaeological practices, excavation, and restoration techniques and strategies. Such things are very useful for historians as well as art historians. [In the past,] I have taken a basic archaeology course, but this seminar has given me first-hand experience with the field of archaeology.”

So, after spending her summer up close and personal with professional archaeologists, can this Petrel see some digs in her future? 

“I am very interested in the work of archaeologists, but I don’t think that I am cut out for the life of an archaeologist,” comments Katherine. “The work season for most [is in] the summer, [when the] heat and sun are brutal. The living conditions in an excavation house are…interesting! …like being at camp,” she says laughingly.  “The program was a great—a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It was amazing.”

Photo: Katherine atop a fortress at the Basilica of St. Johns in Selçuk, near Ephesus.

Noon Tea Brings Attention to the Arts

Professor Alan Loehle and Dr. Jeffrey Collins chat with students at the 2011 Art History Tea. Dr. Collins encourages his students to use books in addition to online resources to develop more comprehensive and effective research.

Future curators, academics, and creatives gathered today for the annual Art History Tea, and the chance to review new acquisitions to Oglethorpe’s Philip Weltner Library.

Dozens of Art History and Art students attended this year’s afternoon tea, which honored Oglethorpe’s art majors (especially the senior class) and showcased the library’s newest collection of resources available.

The library has always had a rich and diverse assortment of art volumes, and recently the library staff and the Art Department have worked together to expand that collection even more.

Among the new arrivals is a high-quality, limited edition facsimile of one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, featuring manuscripts and drawings of the Italian artist and explanations of his works. The library also procured titles that explore the works of Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo as well as the essential texts of modern architect Louis Kahn.