Caspar Meyer will give a Work-in-Progress talk on Wednesday, April 10, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Thinking through Lines: How Early Greek Reliefs Connected Visible and Intelligible Worlds.”

Art historians tend to consider reliefs as pictures that just happen to protrude into the third dimension. This focus on the figural content rather than the medium of relief sculpture has had far-reaching implications for our understanding of how ancient Greek societies employed carved stones to sensualize thought. This talk looks at a series of marble reliefs from Archaic Greece to juxtapose linear modes of carving with figurations that protrude from the matrix and explores what this formal choice might reveal about the viewer’s subjective placement in local landscapes and communities. By placing relief carving in a broader set of contemporary practices (including commemoration, temple building, and philosophical inquiry) Meyer aims to show that conventional classifications of stelai based on subject, format, and occasion obscure more fundamental distinctions in how different marks were conceived to materialize memory. This case study is part of a broader effort in his work to shift the debates in classical archaeology from the current emphasis on representation in apparently neutral space to the role which material culture played in inflecting past experiences with class-based politics.

Caspar Meyer is a Professor at Bard Graduate Center. His interest is generally in the possibilities which objects offer for human appropriation, communication and creativity. With respect to classical antiquity his aim is to show how material culture can be brought to shed light on practices and experiences that are beyond the purview of literary accounts of society.