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The Graduate Art History Association Distinguished Lecture Series

  • To
  • Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building
The Unsettling Presence of Minoan Creatures

From tiny objects to monumental halls, Minoan renderings of creatures were distinctively unsettling presences in Aegean social contexts. In this talk we will explore two different types of animalian thing from Bronze Age Crete and the southern Aegean: small Middle Minoan seal stones engraved with both the figures of beasts and signs of early script, and polychrome wall paintings of the Late Bronze Age that featured animals. In their own particular ways, these crafted embodiments of animals contributed to the shaping of social arenas that saw considerable change during these moments. The animals that took form in the seal stones and paintings—which were, at once, both bodily and thingly—were part of key developments in interactive life in the region, involving matters of identification, administration, and the manifestation of spatial authority. From their textured surfaces outward, these things realized new dimensions and conceptions of the animalian and made animals intrinsic elements of innovations in social, cultural and political life. While we may not be able to get ahold of the intentions of the makers and designers of these artful animals, we can think critically and closely about the more fundamental question of how they were actually experienced as realities.


Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building

Tea at 4 PM in 4213 ASY

Lecture at 5 PM in 2309 ASY


Department of Art History & Archaeology

For disability accommodations, please contact Holly Miller at

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