Contagion in the Sanctuary How interaction with art and craft affected architectural style in Ancient Greece

BSR Members and Friends are warmly invited to:

Contagion in the Sanctuary
How interaction with art and craft affected architectural style in Ancient Greece

Mark Wilson Jones

Monday, 12th March 2012 at 6.00 p.m.

 

at the British Academy, 10–11 Carlton House Terrace,
London, SW1Y 5AH

Members are requested to RSVP in case of acceptance, to development@bsrome.it or 020 7969 5247

Mark Wilson Jones
University of Bath and Former Member of the BSR Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters
Abstract: The architectural culture of the western world was set in train by the Doric and Ionic orders that first arose in ancient Greece. Copious effort has sought to understand how and why these columns and their accoutrements came into existence. Between the mid 18th and early 20th centuries this endeavour preoccupied virtually every major architectural thinker, and it still remains the focus of archaeological inquiry. All kinds of theories have been advanced and yet cogent explanations are elusive; there is little scholarly consensus as to roots of classical style.
This lecture looks at a key aspect of the puzzle that has been surprisingly overlooked. Progress may be made by scrutinizing the relationship between Greek temples and the offerings that also inhabited sacred sanctuaries. Temples were houses for the gods and for the finest offerings made to them, but the structures themselves were also offerings. This shared conceptual underpinning helps us appreciate why the shaping of temples involved similar devices to those found on the most prestigious art-offerings displayed in sanctuaries. Similar forms and motifs migrated between furniture, ceramics, ivories, metalwork and architecture. In the context of the sanctuary all such material constituted gifts to the gods, and so, dressed in kindred style, temples radiated the same subliminal message of beauty in the service of devotion.