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La Coroplastica Greca. Metodologie per lo studio di produzioni, contesti e immagini

Jaimee Uhlenbrock

Abstract

From May 27 to June 1, 2013, the First International Summer School on Greek Coroplastic Studies was held in Catania, Sicily. Organized by ACoST Executive Committee member Antonella Pautasso, project director at IBAM-CNR, Catania, and Ambra Pace of the University of Messina, with the support of Mario Cottonaro of the University of Catania and Vanessa Chillemi of the University of Messina, this 6-day event was called La Coroplastica Greca. Metodologie per lo studio di produzioni, contesti e immagini. It was developed mainly as a specialized course for university students wishing to conduct research on Greek terracotta objects, or simply to learn more about the study of Greek terracottas, although more advanced researchers also were enrolled. The main thrust of the week was to provide 34 participants (Fig. 1) with a total immersion in coroplastic studies by means of lectures and hands-on workshops (Figs. 2-3). In addition, the volumePhilotechnia. Studi sulla coroplastica della Sicilia greca, edited by Marina Albertocchi and Antonella Pautasso, IBAM CNR 5, Catania, 2012, was officially presented.

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1Seventeen lectures comprised lengthy and in-depth explorations of aspects of coroplastic research that included discussions of methodology, stylistic, chronological, and iconographic issues, historical attitudes, and technical and archaeometric approaches. Most of the lectures were presented as case studies that focused on a particular period or class of objects. The lecture sessions were organized around themes, with the exception of the first session on May 27th that focused on the historiography and methodology of coroplastic studies within which three papers were presented. These were by Jaimee P. Uhlenbrock, “Da dove veniamo e dove stiamo andando,” by Arthur Muller, “L’étude des terres cuites figurées: de l’atelier à la publication,” and by Fabio Caruso “Testo figurativo e contesto archeologico: problemi di interpretazione dalla coroplastica greca.”

2The following day, May 28, three papers dealt with early Greek terracottas from the late Bronze Age to the 7th century B.C. in a session entitled “La coroplastica greca dal tornio alla modellazione a mano all’uso della matrice:” Katia Perna, “La coroplastica cretese tra la fine dell’Età del Bronzo e l’inizio dell’età del Ferro: aspetti tecnologici e problemi iconografici,” Andrea Babbi, “Statuette antropomorfe egee della Prima Età del Ferro in azione: tipologia e dinamiche rituali,” and Oliver Pilz, “Terrecotte cretesi a matrice di età protoarcaica: tecnica, contesti, interpretazione.”

Fig. 2. Antonella Pautasso discusses a terracotta head with students during a laboratory session.

Fig. 2. Antonella Pautasso discusses a terracotta head with students during a laboratory session.

3The second session of the day “La coroplastica greca tra madrepatria e Occidente: circolazione di modelli, linguaggi figurative, identità culturali” comprised two papers, Marina Albertocchi, “Le origini del percorso figurativo occidentale: modelli, sviluppi e pratiche rituali,” and Antonella Pautasso, “Dalla ‘cultura visuale’ alla circolazione di modelli. Aspetti e problemi della coroplastica d’età classica nell’Occidente greco.” These were followed by the first of the hands-on laboratories, which focused on Archaic and Classical terracottas from the votive deposit of the Piazza San Francesco at Catania (Fig. 2). Coroplastic material of all types was spread out on a large table and students were encouraged to handle the terracottas, while docents spoke about the characteristics of each group of objects.

Fig. 3. Giusi Monterosso of the Regional Archaeological Museum “Paolo Orsi” conducts a laboratory session on architectural terracottas.

Fig. 3. Giusi Monterosso of the Regional Archaeological Museum “Paolo Orsi” conducts a laboratory session on architectural terracottas.

4The third day of the program May 29th was devoted to a field trip to Syracuse to visit the Regional Archaeological Museum “Paolo Orsi” for hands-on laboratories coordinated by A. M. Manenti, G. Monterosso, A. Musumeci, and M. Cottonaro. Umberto Spigo spoke on “Temi e aspetti delle terrecotte figurate dal santuario di Francavilla di Sicilia nel quadro degli studi sulla coroplastica siceliota e italiota.” Terracotta figurines, reliefs, revetments, and architectural sculpture from excavations in Syracuse, Centuripe, Bitalemi, and Francavilla di Sicilia were put at the disposition of the participants, who were guided in these laboratories by museum staff and other archaeologists. Of special interest were the discussions of Mario Cottonaro on the iconography of Sicilian Artemis and Giusi Monterosso (Fig. 3) on architectural terracottas. Other discussions regarding provenience, technique, use, and iconography, among other topics, also were particularly illuminating.

Fig. 4. Marcella Pisani presents her paper “Muerte y olvido. Ipotesi di ricostruzione di un rituale di incinerazione dimenticato attraverso alcune appliques fittili di Tebe.”

Fig. 4. Marcella Pisani presents her paper “Muerte y olvido. Ipotesi di ricostruzione di un rituale di incinerazione dimenticato attraverso alcune appliques fittili di Tebe.”

5The 4th day May 30th was devoted to two thematic sessions and a hands-on laboratory. The first session “Coroplastica e contesti” comprised three papers: Marcella Pisani, “Muerte y olvido. Ipotesi di ricostruzione di un rituale di incinerazione dimenticato attraverso alcune appliques fittili di Tebe” (Fig. 4), Massimo Osanna, “Coroplastica in contesto, riflessioni sul caso ateniese,” and Arthur Muller et al, “L’Artémision d’Epidamne-Dyrrhachion: ldentification d’une déesse.” The second session entitled “Iconografia e culto,” had two presentations: Stephanie Huysecom-Haxhi, “Lecture des images, Interprétation des ensembles coroplathiques : L’exemple des terres cuites archaïques de l’Artémision de Thasos,” and Elisa Chiara Portale, “Iconografia e culto nella Sicilia greca.”

6A combined laboratory and seminar followed the second session that featured a discussion of the types of archaeometric analyses for the study of coroplastic material by Lighea Pappalardo, as well as a focus on Hellenistic terracottas from Centuripe within the context of a forger’s career by Giacomo Biondi. After the close of this session there was an open meeting of the Association for Coroplastic Studies (ACoST), after which 15 of the 34 participants joined the Association.

7A fieldtrip to the archaeological site of Morgantina in the mountains of central Sicily occupied the 5th day (Figs. 5-6). There the students and docents were guided by Malcolm Bell, long-time director of the Morgantina excavations, who also conducted a laboratory in the afternoon at the Regional Archaeological Museum in Aidone, where the finds from Morgantina are housed.

8On June 1, the final day of the program, there was only one lecture session and a final laboratory. The session was entitled “Vecchi scavi e nuove ricerche” and had three papers presented: Massimo Cultraro, “Il volto della Potnia: terrecotte figurate dall’Egeo miceneo,” Dario Palermo, “Polizzello e altri siti. Elementi locali e tradizione greca nella plastica indigena,” and Andrea Patanè with Maria Randazzo e Simona Barberi, “Il santuario ellenistico di Occhiolà di Grammichele.” The laboratory focused on types of coroplastic material that had already been seen by the participants but in examples that were new to them. At the close of the final laboratory session the students received their certificates of participation.

Figs. 5-6. Malcolm Bell, director of the Morgantina excavations, speaks to the students and docents in the summer school during a field trip to Morgantina.

Figs. 5-6. Malcolm Bell, director of the Morgantina excavations, speaks to the students and docents in the summer school during a field trip to Morgantina.

9It was clear from the discussions of the students that the first international summer school on coroplastic studies was a considerable success. As excavations continue throughout the greater Mediterranean area coroplastic objects continue to be uncovered, sometimes in staggering numbers. It is hoped that the broad introduction to coroplastic studies that this summer school provided will lead to more up-to-date attitudes and preparation for those entering this difficult area of archaeological research. It is of particular interest that IBAM-CNR has already held 5 summer schools on Greek vases. It is to her credit that Antonella Pautasso saw that the time was long overdue for an intensive training session in coroplastic studies and advocated for its fruition. For this we are especially grateful.

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List of illustrations

Title Fig. 2. Antonella Pautasso discusses a terracotta head with students during a laboratory session.
URL http://acost.revues.org/docannexe/image/787/img-1.jpg
File image/jpeg, 140k
Title Fig. 3. Giusi Monterosso of the Regional Archaeological Museum “Paolo Orsi” conducts a laboratory session on architectural terracottas.
URL http://acost.revues.org/docannexe/image/787/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 160k
Title Fig. 4. Marcella Pisani presents her paper “Muerte y olvido. Ipotesi di ricostruzione di un rituale di incinerazione dimenticato attraverso alcune appliques fittili di Tebe.”
URL http://acost.revues.org/docannexe/image/787/img-3.jpg
File image/jpeg, 140k
Title Figs. 5-6. Malcolm Bell, director of the Morgantina excavations, speaks to the students and docents in the summer school during a field trip to Morgantina.
URL http://acost.revues.org/docannexe/image/787/img-4.jpg
File image/jpeg, 98k
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References

Electronic reference

Jaimee Uhlenbrock, « La Coroplastica Greca. Metodologie per lo studio di produzioni, contesti e immagini », Les Carnets de l’ACoSt [Online], 10 | 2013, Online since 10 January 2016, connection on 28 June 2017. URL : http://acost.revues.org/787

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About the author

Jaimee Uhlenbrock

Department of Art History, State University of New York, New Paltz

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les Carnets de l'ACoSt est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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