2021 Trendall Lecture

Event status:

The ninth annual Trendall Lecture - online via Zoom

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Date:
Thursday 09 December 2021 06:00 pm until Thursday 09 December 2021 07:30 pm (Add to calendar)
Contact:
Dr Gillian Shepherd
trendall@latrobe.edu.au
Presented by:
Trendall Research Centre
Type of Event:
Public Lecture; Public

THE VASE-PAINTER’S PALETTE: the significance of colour and texture in ancient Greek vase-painting

If you have ever studied a masterpiece of Greek painted pottery from photographs alone, it is a revelation when you encounter it “in the flesh.” There is the immediacy of its three-dimensional corporeality: the orange clay-colour glows; the black gloss gleams and coruscates with the change of light as you move around it. You see subtle variations in the decorative surface: matt additional colours contrast with the glossy black; your eye is caught by the filigree-like intricacy of incised details, and perhaps by relief elements glinting as they catch the light. The figures in the scenes, static in fixed-view photographs, are enlivened by the shifting dynamics of the pictorial composition. Even in the sterile context of a museum, you can capture something of how ancient vases were perceived by their contemporary users. But did ancient viewers respond as we do to the colours and textures applied by the vase-painters? That question, in particular reference to the Athenian black-figure tradition, will be a major focus of this illustrated lecture: while we tend to interpret overlaid added-red and added-white in terms of our own culturally constructed spectrum, there is evidence that vase-painters used them beyond mere chromatic variation to add extra layers of meaning to their depictions.

Speaker:

Dr Anne Mackay - Honorary Research Fellow in Classics and Ancient History, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Throughout a long academic career in several countries, Anne Mackay’s primary research field has been ancient Greek vase-painting. In 2010 she published a definitive monograph on the innovative painter-potter Exekias, who worked in Athens in the black-figure technique in the second half of the sixth century BC. Two edited volumes attest to her additional interest in oral theory, an area in which she has contributed comparisons between narrative techniques of early (oral-derived) epic and the black-figure painting tradition of archaic Greece. She was Professor of Classics at the (then) University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, before her appointment in 2001 as Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Auckland. She recently retired, and now holds an Honorary Research Fellowship in Classics at that University.

Image:

Three warriors: detail from the exterior of a black-figure cup (the famous "Dionysos Cup" signed by Exekias), Munich Antikensammlungen 8729. (Photo: Mackay 2007)

The event will be online via Zoom

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