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Making Images

Several Groningen scholars have a research interest in image-making in Greco-Roman literature and visual culture. We focus on the agency of written and physical images in their social and cultural contexts and on the interaction between text, image and the human imagination.

A central focus of Chris Dickenson’s research is the meaning and reception of statues in the public realm in Hellenistic and Roman period Greek cities. Using literary, epigraphic and archaeological material, he is particularly interested in the potential religious significance of portrait statues. His current project is the publication of a set of female portrait statues from the Artemision at Messene, which he is using as a case study to explore why people in the ancient world sculpted dedicated likenesses of themselves to the gods. 

The MARE research project headed by Lidewijde de Jong and focused on mortuary rituals in the Roman East investigates the function of funerary iconography in ritual practices. Bilal Annan investigates the roles funerary portraits in Palmyra played in the mortuary rites and the cult of the dead. 

Bettina Reitz-Joosse directs the project FACERE, funded by the European Research Council. The FACERE team, composed of scholars of literature and visual culture, investigates processes of ‘making’ (the manufacturing of artefacts and architecture) in the Roman cultural imagination. Bettina also works on Roman texts about architecture, and especially on literary aspects of Vitruvius’ treatise De Architectura.

Leanne Jansen specialises in post-republican images of Cicero as politician. More generally, she looks at the portrayal of the political culture of the Roman Republic in imperial Greek historiography and oratory, and the manner in which these texts use the concept of exemplary leadership to articulate views on Roman civic identity.

David Rijser holds a long-standing interest in the interaction between word and image. At present he is finishing a short book comparing Western and Eastern receptions of classical templates of composition. The book confronts post-classical narratorial, visual and urbanistic paradigms in Christian and Islamic cultures.

Felix Budelmann is interested in the literary and visual imagination. He is currently co-editing a volume on cognition and image-making in Greek and Latin poetry. 

Jacqueline Klooster is concerned with the ways in which literature reflects societal norms and how it is used to create images of authority. One of her interests concerns the way in which ancient political leaders who were also literary authors were evaluated, and what this can tell us about the images of ancient leadership and ancient literature in Greco-Roman society. Another project focuses on the way ancient myth is currently being retold from a female perspective in best-selling popular novels such as Madeline Miller’s Circe or Natalie Haynes’ A Thousand Ships.

The CRASIS Masterclass and Annual Meeting 2024 will focus on the interaction between the textual and visual in the ancient world. 

PhD students currently working within this theme:

Last modified:09 November 2023 7.45 p.m.