Missouri: On Viewing a Greek Hero in Late Antique Egypt: Image, Myth and Meaning in the House of Serenos

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Presented by: Dr. Susanna McFadden; Assistant Professor and M.A. program director in the Department of Art History at the University of Hong Kong

  • 7:00 PM CTMissouri
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Lecture Information

Excavations in the Dakhleh Oasis at the site of Amheida between 2004 and 2006 brought to light a house filled with painted plaster picturing a multitude of figurative scenes derived from Greco-Roman mythology. Dating to the fourth century CE, these paintings are best understood overall as a record of the aspirations of the house’s owner, a town councilor named Serenos, who used images to communicate his status and identity vis-à-vis the complex and multifaceted society that was late Roman Egypt. This talk focuses on one particular scene depicted in Serenos’ house, the rescues of the Ethiopian princess Andromeda by the demi-god Perseus, in order to illuminate some of the mechanisms of this communication.

Speaker Bio

Susanna McFadden is Assistant Professor and M.A. program director in the Department of Art History at the University of Hong Kong. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and specializes in the art, architecture, and archaeology of the Roman and late antique Mediterranean, with particular expertise in Roman Egypt and on the medium of wall painting. She has been a fellow in residence at the American Academy in Rome (2009-2010) and the Getty Research Institute (2016) and since 2005 has been a member of the New York University sponsored team excavating the late Roman site of Amheida in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis. Recent publications include essays on the wall paintings from Amheida and a multi-disciplinary exploration of the Tetrarchic era wall paintings in Egypt, The Art of Empire: The Roman Frescoes and Imperial Cult Chamber in Luxor Temple (Yale University Press, 2015), which won the 2017 Archaeological Institute of America’s James R. Weisman Book Award.






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