What is Art?

Figure 1.1 | Blind Homer with Guide, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau / Milwaukee Art Museum, Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Pamela J. Sachant and Jeffrey A. LeMieux Sachant: Professor of Visual Arts, University of North Georgia LeMieux: Professor of Art, University of Madison-Wisconsin Introduction We live in a rapidly changing world in which images play an important,[…]

The Altneuschul, Prague: Medieval Jewish Synagogue Architecture

Altneushul, Prague (photo: Øyvind Holmstad, CC BY-SA 3.0) The Old New Synagogue or Altneuschul, situated in Josefov, Prague, is Europe’s oldest active synagogue.[1] It is also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design. By Dr. Carol Herselle Krinsky / 09.18.2017 Professor of Art History New York University In architecture, there is often a dominant mode of design in a given country or region at[…]

Rome’s Enduring Arch

Figure 1: Ponte Garibaldi serving as both pedestrian walkway and traffic arterial ( Photo by: Self, 2013) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 09.06.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The first arch made an appearance in structural design in the second millennium BC via the Mesopotamians. However, it wasn’t[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Roman Architecture

An example of post and lintel architecture: Hera II, Paestum, c. 460 B.C.E. (Classical period), tufa, 24.26 x 59.98 m By Dr. Jessica Leay Ambler / 08.08.2015 Professor of Humanities Southern New Hampshire University Roman architecture was unlike anything that had come before. The Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans all had monumental architecture. The grandeur[…]

An Antidote for Social Amnesia: The Memory Space of the Cais do Valongo

Valongo Wharf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, December 13, 2013 The archeological remains of a wharf in Rio de Janeiro used in the transatlantic slave trade is a site of collective memory. By Camilla Querin / 12.12.2017 Research Assistant Getty Research Institute In 2011 an archeological site of global importance resurfaced in Rio de Janeiro: the Cais[…]

The Billingford Hutch and the Moonwort Fern – A Medieval Mystery Solved?

A heavy oak chest in the Parker Library (Corpus Christi College) was used to store objects left as collateral for loans of money. Its ironwork features the outline of a plant – but no-one knew why. Now a visitor to the Library may have unravelled the meaning of this decorative motif. 12.10.2017 A visitor to the Parker Library[…]

The Tiber River: Central to Prosperity and Life in Ancient Rome

The Tiber River / Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 12.03.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Figure 1: Ancient Tributaries of the Tiber Legend tells us that Rome was founded by a brother who, along with his twin, was sentenced to death as an infant. They were[…]

Water and the Development of Ancient Rome

From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Water is a basic necessity for life and civilization. Humans can survive a month without eating, but only a week without drinking water (Spector, 2014). In ancient times, before the practice of purifying and cleaning water was[…]

Engineering of Rome’s Via Appia

Photo by Paul Hermans, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 03.26.2014 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The infrastructure of a city is the foundation on which civilization is built upon. ‍Formally defined here, infrastructure can be thought of as any underlying foundation used to provide goods and services for[…]

Engineering of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Figure 1. Location of St. Peter’s Basilica From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper by B. Hess) / 09.06.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Background Saint ‍Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is the largest church in the world, as it can hold up to 60,000 people and it is 22,000 square meters.[…]

Post-Roman Italian Renaissance Gardens and the Villa d’Este

Parts of Fountain of Rome, includes: Statue of the wolf and Romulus and Remus, Minerva and another statue at Villa d’Este (Tivoli) / Photo by Yair Haklai, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Renaissance Gardens History Gardens have been present in cities[…]

Deterioration and Decay of Ancient Roman Structures

Roman insulae in Ostia Antica / Photo by Charles Gardner, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Claire Cyra) / 12.04.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Many ‍of the engineering techniques and materials that make up our cities today also formed the foundations and structure of Roman architecture over two[…]

Construction and Behavior of the Pantheon

The Pantheon Today (Photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Alec Harrison) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most iconic and best preserved ancient structures. With massive single stone columns holding up the portico at the entrance, the immense open interior[…]

Understanding Roman Concrete

A section of the Roman city-wall of Empuries, Spain. 1st century BCE. The base of the wall was made using calcareous rock while the upper portion is of Roman concrete (opus caementicium). / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Nigel Lyons) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction[…]

Obelisks on the Move

Side view of the Vatican obelisk being lowered, 1590. Engraving in Della trasportatione dell’obelisco… (Rome: Appresso Domenico Basa). The Getty Research Institute, 87-B7401 A look at the manpower and engineering needed to move obelisks in ancient Egypt, Rome, and today. By Sara E. Cole / 12.06.2017 Curatorial Assistant, Antiquities Department J. Paul Getty Museum A few months[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Image by zerochan, deviantArt    By Dr. Amy Calvert (Egypt) and the British Museum (Greece and Rome) / 08.08.2015 Calvert: Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Ancient Egypt Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Old Kingdom, c. 2675-2625 B.C.E. Photo: Dr. Amy Calvert Egypt’s impact on later cultures was immense. You could say that Egypt provided[…]

Modern Roman Construction and Ancient Roman Ruins

Ancient aqueduct construction illustration / Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Mia Celizaga) / 12.04.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction C‍onstruction can be a lengthy process. First, someone is assigned to design and plan a structure and the finances are worked out and the proper materials and machines[…]

Relieving Arches of Roman Structures

The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, erected in 203 CE to commemorate victory over the Parthians. / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Sara Foxx) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Ancient Rome was defined by its incredible buildings, reaching into the sky taller than ever[…]

Origin and Evolution of the Roman Dome

Interior of the Pantheon Dome (photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student J.P. Lehmer) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction This article highlights the evolution of the dome through engineering advancements by the ancient Roman civilization and summarizes their progress through several case studies. The influence the[…]

Engineering of the Flavian Ampitheatre (Roman Colosseum)

Colosseum interior / Photo by LemonCrumpet, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Megan Anderson) / 12.02.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The Colosseum, alternatively known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is arguably Rome’s most well-known monument. The elliptical structure that spans 6 acres signifies the presence and importance of[…]

Engineering the Pantheon – Architectural, Construction, & Structural Analysis

Pantheon, Photo by Steve Heddin, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Kristina N. Low) / 09.28.2011 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Figure 1. Pantheon Facade The Pantheon (Figure 1.) is one of the most famous sights in Italy (Figure 2.) as it issignificant for being one of the most well-preserved[…]

Henry Wellcome: Pioneer in Aerial Photography

Henry Wellcome with Sultans of Socota [Jebel Moya]. Photograph, 191? Wellcome Images reference: M0008634. By Carly Dakin / 03.15.2017 Clinical Collection Coordinator Wellcome Images It’s a little known fact that Sir Henry Wellcome was something of a pioneer in aerial photography. Wellcome first visited Sudan in 1900, to establish what became the Wellcome Tropical Research[…]

The Palette of King Narmer – Vital to Understanding Ancient Egypt

Palette of King Narmer, from Hierakonpolis, Egypt, Predynastic, c. 3000-2920 B.C.E., slate, 2′ 1″ high (Egyptian Museum, Cairo) By Dr. Amy Calvert / 08.08.2015 Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Vitally important, but difficult to interpret Some artifacts are of such vital importance to our understanding of ancient cultures that they are truly unique and utterly[…]

Çatalhöyük: A Neolithic Center of Art and Architecture

Çatalhöyük after the first excavations by James Mellaart and his team (photo: Omar hoftun, CC: BY-SA 3.0) By Dr. Senta German Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Çatalhöyük or Çatal Höyük (pronounced “cha-tal hay OOK”) is not the oldest site of the Neolithic era or the largest, but it is extremely[…]

Time and Place: Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)

Wilmington Giant (1939) by Eric Ravilious / The Mainstone Press Eric Ravilious died when his aircraft went missing off Iceland while he was making war paintings. An artist in multiple disciplines, his greater legacy dwells in water-colours. Frank Delaney re-visits the work of this understated, yet significant figure. By Frank Delaney / 11.27.2013 Former Writer and Broadcaster[…]

An Ancient Network: The Roads of Rome

Figure 1: Roman road network at the peak of the Empire (Andrein, 2009) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student J.C. Back) / 11.02.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Before the inventions of modern times to simplify communication and transportation, roadways were the backbone of achievement and convenience. For the Roman[…]

Venus of Willendorf

From Khan Academy By Dr. Bryan Zygmont / 11.21.2015 Associate Professor of Art History Clarke University Venus of Willendorf, c. 24,000-22,000 B.C.E., limestone, 11.1 cm high (Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna) Can a 25,000-year-old object be a work of art? The artifact known as the Venus of Willendorf dates to between 24,000-22,000 B.C.E., making it one of the oldest and most[…]