Lecture Series

"Ancients Unwrapped" Lecture Series Explores Unusual Aspects of Greek and Roman Culture

The Museum of Fine Arts has scheduled a two-part lecture series in conjunction with the new Ancient Treasures Gallery in the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. "Ancients Unwrapped" lectures are sponsored by The Republican. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2 p.m. – Empire vs. Conscience: The Cost of Compassion in Ancient Rome by Carlin Barton, professor of history, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. An expert in ancient history, Professor Barton specializes in the emotional life of the ancient Romans. Drawing from an array of ancient sources, this lecture will explore the complex and contradictory nature of Roman society. While driven to expand the empire and, in some cases, exterminate or enslave entire populations, Romans were also motivated by their concern for conquered peoples. Professor Barton will analyze the spiritual contradictions inherent in the Roman psyche and outline their impact on the course of the empire. Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006, 2 p.m. – Dressing in Style, Clothing Optional: Nudity and Costume in Ancient Art by Laetitia La Follette, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A specialist in the physical culture of the ancient Mediterranean region, Professor La Follette will explore the expressive nature of dress and undress in Greek and Roman sculpture. Both the Greeks and the Romans understood the power of their personal appearance and dress as a way to communicate information about their social, political and moral status. Professor La Follette will address in particular the symbolism of female clothing, hair styles, jewelry and cosmetics in the Roman world, the way Roman girls were trained to dress properly, the ritual garb of the dead, and the peculiar practice whereby Roman female statues used divine "doubles," nude and clothed. The talks are free with the price of museum admission. Coffee and cookies will be served.