School of History, Classics & Archaeology

A.G. Leventis Conference 2017

In the wake of the so-called ‘visual turn’ (one turn among many others), the study of ancient images has developed increasingly in the last decades, and a great number of conferences have been devoted to many aspects of image production in the ancient world. In particular, Greek Vase-painting has been one of the most fruitful fields, generating numerous conferences on Ancient Greek and Related Pottery, on Athenian Potters and Painters, as well as the German CVA conferences, and many more. All these meetings have produced original knowledge and interesting new insights. In recent years, the accent has been put on contexts - archaeological, religious, social, historical,- more than on style or iconography, on the viewer and the user, more than on the maker. The only shortcoming of all these enterprises is their exclusiveness and overspecialization on vase-painting. The study of vase painting is obviously the richest field, and is constantly reshaped by new discoveries ; this area also  has been deeply transformed by the on-line accessibility of the Beazley Archive pottery database.

Less discussed is the interaction and comparison between various media, e.g. sculptures, reliefs, gems, coins, terra-cottas, vases, and wall paintings. Our aim is to open a broad discussion between specialists of these different media and address questions that cross over the boundaries of overspecialised fields. There is no unified concept of ‘the image’, but a wide variety of ‘images’ or more precisely of objects bearing images. We would like to sketch an outline of the variety of visual experiences at stake in the various media used in Antiquity. We do not plan to extend the former ‘Word and Image’ Leventis conference (Rutter & Sparkes 2000) but rather want to focus on visual objects, mainly in ancient Greece, without excluding other periods and areas.

More precisely, we would like to shed light on the specificities of each medium, the way meaning is produced, according to the nature of the medium, its use, its context, its enunciative structure. We would also like to discuss the methodologies used by different scholars to produce meaning; one century after Carl Robert’s Archäologische Hermeneutik, it is time to assess as clearly as possible the way that images ‘make,’ that is, create, sense, and the way we think we can access their meaning(s). Each contribution should try to address one or several of the above questions, giving priority to precise examples and clear comparisons.


  • Judith Barringer (Edinburgh), ‘The message is in the medium: White-ground Lekythoi and stone Grave Markers in Classical Athens’
  • François de Callatay (Brussels), ‘Greek coin iconography in context: The beauty, the divine and the brutes’
  • Véronique Dasen (Fribourg), ‘The fabric of myth in ancient Glyptic’
  • Nikolaus Dietrich (Heidelberg), ‘Archaic grave-reliefs: Body or stele?’
  • Luca Giuliani (Berlin), ‘Images and storytelling’
  • Annette Haug (Kiel), ‘Images and history in 8th and 7th century Athens: A discursive analytical approach’
  • Tonio Hölscher (Heidelberg), ‘Again: Working scenes on Athenian vases’
  • Ken Lapatin (Los Angeles), 'Beyond Ceramics and Stone: The Iconography of the Precious'
  • François Lissarrague (Paris), ‘The eagle and the snake: Crossing media, meaning, and methods’
  • Mauro Menichetti (Salerno), ‘The Alexander mosaic: Stories of victory’
  • Marion Meyer (Vienna), ‘Of gods and giants. Myth and images in the making’
  • Richar Neer (Chicago), ‘Fire, lamps and everyday wonders’
  • Dimitri Paleothodoros (Volos), ‘On vases, terracottas and bones: How to read funerary assemblages from 6th and 5th century Greece’
  • Verity Platt (Cornell), ‘Lost wax: A media archaeology of the fugitive and the transparent’
  • Vicky Sabetai (Athens), ‘Images in dialogue: Picturing identities in Boeotian stone and clay’
  • Stefan Schmidt (Munich), ‘Mockery or self-representation. The grotesque imagery of the Theban Kabirion’
  • Alan Shapiro (New York), ‘The medium and the message: Communicating with the divine in marble and clay’
  • Adrian Staehli (Harvard), ‘Parapictoriality’
  • Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell (St Thomas), ‘Winged figures and mortals at a crossroad’
  • Dyfri Williams (Brussels), ‘Les images de la cité: The vase painter's gaze’
  • Martina Seifert (Hamburg), 'Knowledge, Visibility and the Production of Meaning: Greek Imagery Reconsidered'
  • Arthur Muller (Lille), 'Figurative Terracottas of the Archaic Period: Problematic Images?'
  • Gianfranco Adornato (Pisa), "Dying (as) Alcestis'

Conference programme


A.G. Leventis Conference 2017

The next Leventis Conference - 'Images at the cross-roads: Meanings, media, methods' - will take place in Edinburgh, 9-12 November, 2017. (Published 8 March, 2017)

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls, Edinburgh