why do we exist?
This blog started out as just a page on Facebook, where we could share weird and wonderful art from (primarily) Mediterranean antiquity, especially less famous objects. The page was mostly for ourselves and our friends and anyone else who might be interested, and we wanted to use the page to explore how ancient art is received and perceived. As time went on, the facebook page grew a following and eventually we figured out that there is a broader demand and interest for ancient art then we originally appreciated.
Now, after many years of lecturing both in university classrooms and for public audiences, it's become clear just how difficult it is for students and enthusiasts to find quality, insightful, and interesting information about ancient art online. Sure, objects are out there; more and more museums and institutions are making their collections digitally accessible, but you really have to know what you're looking for in order to make best use of these databases, and often times there is very little accompanying commentary.
While the arts of antiquity are becoming more accessible digitally to students through general education websites like study.com, khan academy, and ancient.eu, the analysis provided on these sites can at times be overly simple, out-of-date, haphazardly researched, or missing an expert voice. Also, these sites typically only deal with the most "famous" of objects, missing out on a huge array of fascinating material out there. Ultimately, there is still a massive gulf between academic research into ancient art and dissemination of that research into the broader public. Paywalls are everywhere, so unless you are affiliated with a university or have a huge amount of personal wealth, it's hard to access recent research.
Acknowledging that for most people interested in this subject, their first stop is the University of Google, we've decided to create this site to fill the gap. The focus here is to provide a curated exploration of the visual culture of the ancient Mediterranean world, broadly defined (Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia), although we do step into other regions and periods from time to time. The site is still in its infancy, but the goals at the time of writing this (Feb 2020) are as follows:
posts about individual or specific objects and buildings, providing insights and further references wherever possible
longer posts reviewing books and exhibitions that are of interest to the general public
up-to-date lists of quality online resources and useful bibliographies related to specific topics of ancient art
At the moment the topics are rather random—they are inspired by our current research and teaching, things we just come across online or in person during travel, and recent discoveries/publications. Have a tip, request for a post topic, or a recommendation? If you are on facebook, the best way is via our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theancientartblog/