I’m Rose and I’m a second year BA student here at The Courtauld, with a passion for classics. I was upset to discover that so little of the undergraduate curriculum is devoted to ancient art — with only a single week in the entire BA course exploring ancient Greek and Roman art! I decided to start a fortnightly column about classics and its reception throughout the ages. Classics is forever influencing every facet and form of art history, but there’s so much to the discipline outside of the traditional plain marble sculptures and old pots we all know and loathe — in this age of hypersaturation of images, classical iconography is once again being addressed and called into question within topics such as politics and gender theory, as well as offering ancient inspiration for contemporary art. I’m particularly interested in modern receptions of Ancient Greek literature — with its wealth of evil women, fallen heroes, recognisably human gods and anthropomorphised vices continuing to provide ample opportunity for investigation to this day.

May 9, 2019

Fig. 1. Pompeii atrium reconstruction, House of the Vettii, Boboli Gardens, Florence, 2007 (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

If I weren’t only eight years old during the seven-month run of Ancient Gardens from Babylon to Rome: Science, Art and Nature in the Florentine Boboli G...

April 25, 2019

It seems we are on the inside, looking out, of a storm of change in politics currently. While change is almost always seen as an unwelcome visitor, these particular winds of change can quite firmly be stated as going very much in the wrong direction. Historically, in t...

April 11, 2019

The discoveries of new poems by Sappho in 2004 and 2014, particularly the near-completion of the Tithonus poem, excited both scholarly and worldwide audiences. Sappho’s poetry appears to be as greatly admired today as it was in antiquity – from the seventh century BC o...

March 28, 2019

Yves Klein, Blue Venus works on display at Blenheim Palace, 2018 (Photo: Vogue) 

Colour is a concerningly abstract and amorphous concept which we have to engage with on the daily, and much of the interest in the semi-myth that the ancient Greeks had no word for the colo...

February 28, 2019

The spectacle of the ancient Greek male body is as enduring and relevant now as it was in 500 BC. The ideal image of man, largely sourced from Homeric legend, still forms the basis of our ideas of masculinity — not only the physical form of a stereotypical Homeric hero...

February 15, 2019

There are numerous historical sources attached to St Valentine ​— ​the Catholic.

Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. The most apt source is the consideration that St Valentine was a priest in third...

January 31, 2019

The lack of classical art history at The Courtauld is surprising to say the least. Besides the few classical lectures during Foundations, there is not one Topic Course, Constellation, or master’s programme available to study ancient Greece and Rome. This is odd as clas...

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