Vassar College's D'Ambra to present AIA Lecture on portrayal of women in Roman Imperial sculpture
calendar icon22 Feb 2019
Lincoln, Neb.--Dr. Eve D’Ambra, of Vassar College and one of the foremost scholars on Roman Imperial sculpture, will present a free public lecture titled “Between Elite Style and Mass Appeal: The Nondescript Imperial Women of the Roman High Empire” on Monday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Richards Hall Rm. 15 on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Her lecture, which is sponsored by the Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, will discuss how women were portrayed in the visual realm during the Roman Empire and how we, in the 21st century, interpret these portraits.
The Roman imperial women of the High Empire (from the late first through mid-second centuries C.E.) recede from view in the ancient written sources. The emperors’ wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters typically only appear in historical accounts to be summarily praised or castigated. Yet a rich archaeological record (inscriptions, coins, statuary) is only beginning to be appraised (or re-appraised) by scholars interested in the “soft” power of the court women, the family dynamics of the imperial house, and the imperial women’s traditional roles in religion and patronage.
Portrait sculpture and coins, however, offer evidence of the visibility of the women at the top of society. This lecture surveys the portraits of imperial women from the Flavians through Hadrian to consider how their images stood apart or remained indistinct from those of the cohort of Roman women, and what this signifies about their roles.
D’Ambra is the Agnes Rindge Claflin Professor of Art History at Vassar College where she has taught since 1990. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University. Her research involves many aspects on Roman art, in particular on sculpture and portraiture.
Her recent work involves studies on gender and identity. D’Ambra has authored or co-authored several books including Roman Women (2007) and a textbook on Roman Art (1998). Her numerous articles touch on the same subjects, including gender studies and sculpture.
Among the many grants and awards D’Ambra has received, the more notable include the Rome Prize, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Getty Villa Scholarship, American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, and the Guggenheim Fellowship.
Richards Hall is located at Stadium Drive and T streets.