Prof. Brendan Burke (Interim Director / Directeur par Intérim), "The Activities of the Institute, 2018-2019"
Prof. SeungJung Kim (University of Toronto) - "Toward a Phenomenology of Historienbilder: The Emergence of Actuality in the Visual Culture of Ancient Greece"
It has long been recognized that the ancient Greeks were notoriously obsessed with their mythographic tradition, avoiding representations of actuality at all costs. Historical events, for example, were usually cloaked under a mythological guise, as we see on the famed Parthenon. At the dawn of democracy in the late-sixth century and early-fifth century BCE, however, a new trend emerged in the visual culture Greece. It is then that visual representations of actuality in monumental form—contemporary or historical events or public personages, such as the Tyrannicides or the battle of Marathon—began to be commemorated for the first time. This paper explores the emerging interest in the so-called Historienbilder, or images of the “contemporary-historical,” in the context of a societal shift in Greek attitudes towards time, in which the authority of the past gave way to the uncertainty and the immediacy of the present. In particular, by employing a phenomenological lens through which these new images of reality would have been perceived by the viewer, the phenomenon of Historienbilder is reframed as one of the many changes that late archaic and early classical imagery undergoes that signal a novel relationship between time and the image.