November 15, 2007

Neils receives fellowship to study at Yale center for British art


Jenifer Neils, Case Western Reserve University's Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History, is spending a monthlong residential fellowship at the Mellon Center for British Art at Yale University. She is examining the work of British architect and designer James "Athenian" Stuart (1713-1788).

The prestigious Yale fellowship caps a number of recent honors for Neils. She has been made an honorary member of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures and was elected vice president for publications of the Archaeological Institute of America.

During her fellowship, Neils will use the archives and special collections at the Yale Center for British Art to examine Stuart's and his colleague Nicholas Revett's first drawings of the classical monuments in Athens that led to the classical revival in Britain. Stuart is considered a pioneer of classical archaeology--a field that Neils has pursued for more than 25 years in her academic career in her research and writings about ancient Greek art and architecture.

This new research will make its way into Neils' book-in-progress called A Concise Introduction to Ancient Greece for the British Museum. She may also use this research in her role as the art and archeology editor of the forthcoming six-volume edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Stuart was among the first to view archeology from a multidisciplinary view, Neils said, when he examined inscriptions, classical texts, art and ethnography and undertook excavations for his documentation and drawings of ancient monuments.

"Often archaeologists draw ethnographic parallels between past and present populations," said Neils. "Rather amazingly Stuart's work in mid-18th century Athens followed a similar program."

Neils said Stuart employed those techniques from 1751-53 when he excavated the Roman octagonal building officially known as the Horologian of Andronicus Cyrrhestes, but commonly called the Tower of the Winds. Stuart had learned details of a lost bronze weathervane that topped the tower by reading the works of Vitruvius, and this enabled him to reconstruct the monument in his volume, The Antiquities of Athens.

"I hope to write an article that will examine in greater detail the archaeological techniques used by Stuart and how these resulted in greater accuracy, setting new standards for antiquarian publications," Neils said.

"Stuart produced both precise visual records and accurate written accounts that have proven invaluable to modern scholars," she added.

For more information, contact Susan Griffith, 216-368-1004.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, November 15, 2007 10:11 AM | News Topics: Awards, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Research

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