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ALPHA: Friends of Antiquity offers two spring lectures

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ALPHA: Friends of Antiquity will present two spring lectures. Founded in 1971, ALPHA is dedicated to the study of archaeology, literature, philosophy, history and art of the ancient world.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are presented at 7:30 p.m. in Room 102 of the Jack Arends Visual Arts Building on the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb.

The lecture schedule follows:

Lecture 382: “Tradition Transformed in Late Antiquity: The Shift From the Late Roman to a Byzantine Aesthetic”

March 7

Christina Nielsen, assistant curator for Late Antique, Early Christian and Byzantine Art, Art Institute of Chicago

Nielsen received her PhD in art history from the University of Chicago and has taught courses in late antique, Byzantine and medieval art at the University of Chicago, UCLA and UC-Santa Barbara.

She has worked on a number of exhibitions and installations at the Art Institute. Most recently she served as a member of the curatorial team for the new Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman and Byzantine Art.

She will discuss the profound stylistic and thematic transformation that occurred in the arts of Late Antiquity, from the 4th to the 7th century. Drawing on the material on view in the special exhibition, Tradition Transformed: Late Roman and Early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through August, Nielsen will consider the slow transformation of imagery as Graeco-Roman naturalism gives way to a more “Byzantine” aesthetic in a variety of media, including silver vessels, gold glass, carved ivories, and gem-encrusted jewelry.

Lecture 383: “To Whom Do Antiquities Belong? The Legal and Illegal Trafficking of Antique Art Objects”

April 18

Professor Ralph Burin, Department of Art History, Harper College, Palatine

Burin teaches courses in ancient art history. He also has extensive archaeological experience in field work in Israel at the site of Caesarea Maritima, harbor and city built by Herod the Great 25-13 BCE.  

He will discuss how for centuries the West has plundered the art treasures of ancient civilizations to fill its private collections and museums. In recent years, however, countries such as Greece, Italy and Egypt have begun to claim their right to such ancient art treasures, and have been using legal means to have these treasures returned. In many cases antique objects of art such as sculpture, pottery, mosaics and others are being repatriated.  The stakes are high because antiquities are priceless.

An informal dinner will take place before each lecture at Johnny’s Charhouse in Sycamore. Call Professor Dimitri Liakos at 815-787-6478 for more information or to reserve a spot for the dinner.

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