National Arts Club
Case Western Reserve University)
LocationNational Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York
About the lecture:
Classical Greek artists had no trouble depicting the ideal male, but the painter Zeuxis
needed five female models to make his portrait of Helen of Troy. Unlike men who merited sculpted likenesses in public venues, women were portrayed on their grave stelai. By looking at the imagery of ideal and less than ideal women, this lecture will consider how Greek artists portrayed females in a misogynist society.
About the speaker:
Jenifer Neils (A.B. Bryn Mawr College, Ph.D. Princeton University) was the former Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — the first woman to hold that position in the School’s 140 year history. Formerly the Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts and the Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, she served as Chair of the American School’s (academic) Managing Committee from 2012 to 2017. As a field archaeologist, she has excavated in northern Greece (Torone), Tuscany (Poggio Civitate), and Sicily (Morgantina), and she has published material from all of these sites.
A former curator of ancient art at the Cleveland Museum of Art (1980–1986), she has organized two major exhibitions on the ancient world: Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens (1992) and Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past (2003). As an art historian, she has written extensively on the Parthenon sculptures, Athenian vase painting, and iconography. Her most recent books are The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Greece (2008) and Women in the Ancient World (2011), and she just co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Athens with Dylan Rogers (2021). Prof. Neils has held a number of distinguished fellowships, including those at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the American Academy in Rome, the Getty Research Center, and the Center for British Art at Yale University. She has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University, and she was the Martha Sharp Joukowsky Lecturer of the Archaeological Institute of America, an institution for which she also served for four years as Vice President for Publications.