General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Ancient World in Visual Arts
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Radosław Piętka
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-AWV


Module aim (aims)

Course aims:
- to gain knowledge of origins and development of ancient themes in the history of visual arts,
- to gain knowledge of political and social influences on the works of art using antiquity as their main subject,
- to develop the ability of interpretation of the most important works of art based on ancient literature and history,
- to develop research skills in the field of diverse levels of intertextual and cultural relationships: persons, genres, motifs, and selected problems.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

General familiarity with classical antiquity.


Week 1: Introduction: definitions and clarifications; “visuality” in antiquity, ancient culture as a subject matter and as a formal source of inspiration in visual arts
Week 2: Ancient inspirations in painting from early Christian art to Cy Twombly and Francis Bacon
Week 3: Ancient inspirations in sculpture from early Christian art to Igor Mitoraj
Week 4: Antiquity in photography, street art, and new visual media: AES+F, Eleanor Antin, Blemobill, NeSpoon, David LaChapelle…
Week 5: Antiquity-inspired fashion and design
Week 6: Opera theatre as a rebirth of Greek tragedy
Week 7: Ancient Greek plays in modern theatre
Week 8: Urban planning and architecture; the city of Rome as a palimpsest
Week 9: Ancient myth and history in graphic novels
Week 10: Greek and Roman civilisations in films: stereotypes and controversies in the light of the notion of “historiophoty”
Week 11: Ancient languages in film
Week 12: Adaptations: ancient literature turned into film
Week 13: Cinematic Rome
Week 14: Conclusions: the modes of use of ancient literature and culture in visual arts
Week 15: Test

Reading list

A Companion to Classical Receptions. Ed. L. Hardwick, Ch. Stray. Malden 2008; Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture. Ed. D. Lowe, K. Shahabudin. Newcastle 2009; E. Theodorakopoulos, Ancient Rome at the Cinema: Story and Spectacle in Hollywood and Rome. Exeter 2010; J. Paul, Cinematic Receptions of Antiquity: The Current State of Play. „Classical Receptions Journal” 2010, vol. 2, no. 1; Classics and comics. Ed. G. Kovacs, C.W. Marshall. Oxford 2011; Son of Classics and Comics. Ed. G. Kovacs, C.W. Marshall. Oxford 2016; A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen. Ed. A.J. Pomeroy. Malden 2017; R. Warren, Art Nouveau and the Classical Tradition. London-Oxford-New York 2017; P. Salzman-Mitchell, J. Alvares, Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium. Oxford 2018; The Ancient Mediterranean Sea in Modern Visual and Performing Arts: Sailing in Troubled Waters. Ed. R. Rovira Guardiola. London 2018; M.M. Winkler, Ovid on Screen: A Montage of Attractions. Cambridge 2020.