Workshop 2014/2015

Fellow Forum

Ornament and Figure in Graeco-Roman Art: Rethinking Visual Ontologies in Classical Antiquity and Beyond

16.–18. Juni 2015


Where, when and how does visual representation become ‘figurative’? What does it mean to talk about ‘decoration’? And how does the ‘ornamental’ function within the visual field?

By exploring these questions in relation to Graeco-Roman visual culture, our Workshop will interrogate shifting ideas of the image both in classical antiquity and in ensuing western art historical traditions. The role and status of ‘ornament’ has of course been radically rethought in recent years, above all in the fields of aesthetics and art history. But Graeco-Roman materials have been conspicuously underplayed in such debates; indeed, scholars of classical art tend to fall back on an uncritical dichotomy, most often privileging the figurative over the ‘patterns’ of framing decoration.

In rethinking the ‘ornamental’ and the ‘figurative’, the Workshop brings together a host of international specialists. At the same time, participants have been encouraged to cross traditional disciplinary divides – between (material-bound) archaeology and (text-bound) philology, certainly, but also between different national traditions, and not least the fields of Kunstgeschichte and Klassische Archäologie.




Nikolaus Dietrich

Universität Heidelberg



Michael Squire

Klassische Altertumswissenschaft



Corina Pertschi


Tel. +49 30 89001 158