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Art and Eternity in the Ancient World


Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe


The Course
  • Art and Eternity in the Ancient World. The seminar explores how humans in pre-Christian times attempted to transcend the limits of life and the finality of death by creating forms of art and types of architecture that were expected to serve as links between mortal existence and the infinite and enduring. The seminar focuses on Prehistoric Europe, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece.
    Prerequisite: ARTH 115.

Required Reading

  • Developed as needed
Student Responsibilities
  • ONE Preliminary Report
    • Choose a topic from the list under Discussion for January 30. Prepare a report for presentation in class on January 30
  • THREE Seminar Reports
    1. Prehistoric
    2. Egypt
    3. Greece
    Each seminar report will take the form of a 4- to 5-page paper to be presented in class with accompanying images. Extensive exploratory research is expected. The aim of each report is to place the art under examination within the context of a state of awareness of the existence of eternity in the mind of the art's maker and how that awareness is made manifest in the resulting art or architecture. Using the concept of eternity as the basis of consideration, the objective of the report is to construct a plausible explanation of why the art in question was made and why it looks the ways it does.

    NOTE: A hard copy of each report should be submitted with a full bibliography that demonstrates the range and depth of your research. Questions about your research and the sources used will be asked during the in-class presentation.

  • Each Seminar Report = 30%
  • Participation = 10%

Office and Hours

  • Pannell 203: Thursdays 2:15-3:00. Others times by appointment
  • phone: 6194
  • email:

© Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe