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Grant number like: FA-50515-04

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Joanna S. Smith
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$24,000 (approved)
$24,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2005 – 12/31/2005

Artistic Exchange in the Mediterranean Bronze Age World

The proposed book, Artistic Exchange in the Mediterranean Bronze Age World, will be the first to highlight specific images that artists saw while making figures of cross-cultural inspiration in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1650-1050 BCE) eastern Mediterranean. Its methodological focus is on "layered images," or figural and schematic designs carved at several different points in time, perhaps in many places, and by several different hands. "Layered" images exist in stone, ivory, and other media; they were created through reuse, recarving, and other recycling. This study is important for all studies of artistic influence, particularly those for which there are few or no contemporary textual sources. Without written evidence to support our ideas about images that were considered artistically important in the past, scholars who make use of archaeological evidence to formulate ideas about histories of art often must rely on presumed influences based on visually, technologically, or functionally similar objects. Objects with layered images that contain physical evidence for the transformation of figures and scenes demonstrate precisely--rather than presumably--how artists adopted ideas about art from across the Mediterranean. For the Bronze Age it lays a foundation for studying all art forms with multiple cultural associations and identifies artistic change with the merchants who traded in everything, from food to art objects.