Tyler Jo Smith

Tyler Jo Smith (Oxford, D.Phil, 1997) is Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology, and Director of the Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program at the University of Virginia. Her primary areas of research include Greek vase-painting and iconography, the art and archaeology of religion and performance, and the archaeology of Anatolia and the Black Sea. She is the author of Komast Dancers in Archaic Greek Art (Oxford, 2010), and co-editor of the Blackwell Companion to Greek Art (with D. Plantzos, 2012). Her current research projects include a book on art and religion in ancient Greece, and the publication of Greek and South Italian vases in the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Professor Smith has received numerous awards for her research, including fellowships from the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard university, and the Institute of Classical Studies in London. She serves on the executive board of the American Research Institute in Turkey, and the editorial boards of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum for North America and the American Journal of Archaeology. As a field archaeologist, she has participated on excavations and field surveys in Turkey, Greece, Sicily, and England.




Imaging Religion in Greek Art

Surprisingly little has been written about the relationship between art and religion in ancient Greece. Unlike mythology, which is very well served by introductory surveys which integrate visual and material evidence, religion has been overlooked and even ignored by classical archaeologists. The reasons for this are many and relate to perception of ancient Greek religion by classical scholars on the one hand, and to the position of ritual and religion in the history of archaeology on the other. This lecture presents a brief historiography of the combined themes of Mediterranean art and religion; the specifics of applying the terms religion, ritual and performance to Classical cultures; and the sources, evidence and context vital to the study of ancient Greek ‘religious art’.

  • Thursday 11 May 2017, 11:00-13:00 - INHA - 6, rue des petits-champs 75002 Paris


Defining Sacred Space on Vases and Reliefs

When we look at a vase-painting, votive relief, or other artwork, we should ask how the spaces of public religious worship are being articulated visually. Is it possible not only to identify the activity taking place, but also the location of that activity? What are the sites or moments of worship that artists choose most frequently, and how can we be certain of what we see? The first part of this lecture will introduce the ancient Greek sanctuary as a venue for religious practice and one that artists must have been at least partially aware of in order to communicate religious subject matter. In order to create that backdrop, it is necessary to identify the major elements of the sanctuary with particular attention to particular details show to us by artists (i.e. altar, temple, statues, and other ‘permanent’ and portable features). The second part of the lecture surveys the stages and cultic events known to have occurred during public festivals and their performance. Well-represented by the iconographic record are processions and sacrifices, libations, banquets, dance, and music, and competitions (both athletic and dramatic).

  • Thursday 18 May 2017, 9:00-11:00 - EHESS (room 1) - 105, bd Raspail 75006 Paris


Interaction, Cult, and Memory in the Art of Southwest Anatolia

A large number of Hellenistic and Roman votive reliefs have been discovered during the course of archaeological exploration of Southwest Anatolia (Lycia and Pisidia). Among the types represented most notable are the twin hero-gods, Castor and Pollux, accompanied by an unnamed 'goddess, and the local Anatolian horseman, sometimes called Kakasbos. This lecture introduces the cults and images represented, and address the themes of memory and interaction in relation to the reliefs. As permanent votive dedications, the relief carvings (some inscribed) play both devotional and commemorative roles. Their function and iconography also express the importance of protection. It will be argued that the divinities themselves are neither fully Greco-Roman nor fully Anatolian, and that their conflation in these examples, as well as their function in the landscape, indicate regional phenomena.

  • Wednesday 31 May, 14:00-16:00, INHA - 6, rue des petits-champs 75002 Paris


Gods, Goddesses and Devotion: Another Look at “Opfernde Götter"

The gods and goddesses of ancient Greece were depicted regularly in both public and private arts. They featured regularly in epic poetry, hymns and staged dramas, all performance genres, as well as in historical and philosophical writings. But the Greeks did not only perceive their gods through mythological narratives or via a text-driven format. The numerous divine figures, known to us from both literature and art, were the focus of religious worship and in fact the structural framework for it. But did the gods function as models for human beings, rather than as mirrors, as one scholar has recently stated? One may certainly question what, if any, devotional purpose images of the divine might have served. This lecture explores the religious lives of the gods with particular attention to images of the divine taking an active role in religious activities, such as pouring or receiving libations. After summarizing the views of past scholars, a new interpretation of these enigmatic scenes will be offered.

  • Thursdayi 1st June, 16:00-18:00, INHA - 6, rue des petits-champs 75002 Paris