Department of Art and Art History Calendar

Art History Lecture Series presents Milette Gaifman

Greek urn

Divine Fluidities: Between Anthropomorphism and Aniconism

This talk explores some areas of Greek art in which aniconism and anthropomorphism overlap. First, it considers the visual force of aniconism, namely a mode of marking divine presence without a figural image—typically in the ancient Greek context, pillars, stones, and empty spaces that suggest the presence of the divine. It will then focuses on certain aspects of Greek anthropomorphism that undermine the prevalent idea that the gods have human form and/or share something of human nature. This twofold examination highlights the ways in which both aniconism and anthropomorphism convey in different ways the non-anthropomorphic dimensions of the Greek gods.

Milette Gaifman teaches classics and history of art at Yale University. Her research focuses on the intersection between Greek art and visual culture and Greek religious life. She is interested in topics such as the divine image in Greek religion, the relationship between art and ritual, the variety of forms in Greek art—from the naturalistic to the non-figural—as well as the historiography of the scholarship of Greek art.

Co-sponsored with the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP) in the Department of Classics