Clemente Marconi

James R. McCredie Professor in the History of Greek Art and Archaeology; University Professor; Director, IFA and University of Milan Excavations at Selinunte

B.A. 1990, University of Rome, La Sapienza
PhD 1997, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

My main research interest is ancient Greek and Roman art and archaeology, with a focus on Greek art and architecture of the Archaic and Classical periods in its Mediterranean dimension. Having been educated in classics and Greek and Roman art and archaeology at the University of Rome La Sapienza and in art history at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, I have a broad interdisciplinary perspective on the ancient world, one that brings me to consider the visual arts beyond the narrow limits of connoisseurship. Thus, in my work, I pursue a hermeneutical approach, arguing for a closer interaction between the study of ancient art and disciplines such as semiotics, anthropology, and hermeneutics. In particular, my research is defined by a contextual approach and a particular interest in the form, meaning, and social function of images and monuments in their relationship with other media, including ritual performance. My publications include work on the full span of Greek and Roman art and architecture. In the first of my three main areas of expertise, I have published extensively on Archaic and Classical Greek urbanism, architecture, sculpture, and painting, with particular consideration of historiography and methodology. A second area of concern is the archaeology of ancient Sicily and Archaic Greek settlement in the West. Last but not least is my examination of the problem of cultural property, having been actively involved in the repatriation of important works of Greek art to Sicily.

My books include Selinunte: Le metope dell’Heraion (Panini, 1994) and Temple Decoration and Cultural Identity in the Archaic Greek World (Cambridge University Press, 2007), both dedicated to Greek temple decoration and Greek colonization in the West. Edited volumes include The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture (Oxford University Press, 2015), which contains thirty original contributions by leading scholars in the field and has been reviewed as an innovative contribution to the study of Greek and Roman art and architecture, filling a genuine need in the literature; Greek Vases: Images, Contexts, and Controversies (Brill, 2004), making a strong case for a contextual approach to the study of Greek painted vases; and the coedited volume Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome (Getty, 2013), linked to an exhibition held at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, and in Cleveland, Ohio.

For a historian of ancient art, archaeology and fieldwork represent an essential dimension of both research and teaching. Besides being involved in the Institute of Fine Arts’ investigations in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace, since 2006 I have been directing the Institute’s and (since 2017) University of Milan’s excavations on the Acropolis of Selinunte. A Greek foundation later controlled by Carthage, Selinunte represents one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy for the Archaic and Classical periods. Our work at Selinunte is focused on the main urban sanctuary, and it is producing major discoveries concerning both the history of the site from prehistory to the Hellenistic period and the ritual context of Archaic and Classical Greek sacred architecture.

Besides curating an exhibition on Picasso and Ancient Greek and Roman Art in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, which will open in March 2023, I am currently working on three main publication projects. One is Kosmos: The Imagery of the Archaic Greek Temple, a critical reassessment of the use of images in sacred architecture in the Greek world from the Geometric all the way to the end of the Archaic period. The second is a volume on the art and archaeology of the Greeks in southern Italy and Sicily. My third project is the publication of the New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts Selinunte excavations. Volume 1, which is nearly completed, presents the results of our first five years of work and revolves around Temple B, temple architecture in Sicily in the Early Hellenistic period, and the cross-cultural relations between Greeks and the Punics in western Sicily. Volume 2 is devoted to Temple R and our remarkable finds which provide the first detailed knowledge of the biography of a Greek temple in Selinunte, from its construction in 580 BCE to its dismantling in the third century BCE during the First Punic War.

In 2012, I started the Seminar on Ancient Art and Archaeology, inviting scholars to share their current work with the research community on ancient art and archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts and in the New York metropolitan area and to meet and talk with our MA and PhD students. The decision to start the seminar came from the realization that the study of Greek and Roman art and architecture is at a critical stage. In recent years, the field has been characterized by an ever-increasing range of approaches, under the influence of various disciplines, such as sociology, semiotics, gender theory, anthropology, reception theory, and hermeneutics. The scope of this seminar is to explore key aspects of Greek and Roman art and architecture and to assess the state of the discipline by reviewing and subjecting its current larger theoretical implications, methodologies, and directions of research to critical scrutiny. Presenters have included leading scholars in the field of Greek and Roman art, such as Tonio Hölscher, Olga Palagia, Jas Elsner, François Lissarrague, and Luca Giuliani.

My research, the Selinunte excavations, and the seminar have been critical for my students in participating in a number of scholarly networks across the United States and Europe. Thus, my graduate students have participated in the regular program of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and have made numerous presentations at professional meetings, including the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Besides teaching at the Institute, since 2017 I am Full Professor of Classical Archaeology in the Department of Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the University of Milan.

Sample courses

Approaches to Greek and Roman Art
Anthropologies of Greek Art
Greek Architecture and White Supremacy in America
Greek Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Archaeologies of Greek Colonization
Greek Temple Decoration
Theories of Representation in Archaic and Classical Greek Culture

Selected Honors

Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
Member of the Academia Europaea
Corresponding member of the Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut

Selected Books

2015. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

2007. Temple Decoration and Cultural Identity in the Archaic Greek World: The Metopes of Selinus. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

2013. Lyons, C., M. Bennett, and C. Marconi. eds. 2013. Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.

2016. Bellia, A., and C. Marconi. eds. Musicians in Ancient Coroplastic Art. Iconography, Ritual Contexts, and Functions. Pisa and Rome: Fabrizio Serra.

2004. ed. Greek Painted Pottery: Images, Contexts, and Controversies. New York and Leiden: Brill.

2017. Marconi, C., M. Kiene, and L. Lazzarini. “Sicile Ancienne:” Hittorff and the Architecture of Classical Sicily. Cologne: Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln. (Die Alben von Jakob Ignaz Hittorff, vol. 5).

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2022. "Greeks and Natives at the Foundation of Selinus: A Revision." In Comparing Greek Colonies: Mobility and Settlement Consolidation from Southern Italy to the Black Sea (8th – 6th Century BC). Proceedings of the International Conference (Rome, 7.–9.11.2018), eds. C. Colombi, V. Parisi, O. Dally, M. Guggisberg and G. Piras, 291-303. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.

2022. Marconi, C., and A. Ward. "Temple R in Selinunte and the Construction of Tradition." Journal of Ancient Architecture 1: 9-35.

2021. "The Case for Parian Sculptors in Selinus and Western Sicily in the Early Classical Period." In Paros V: Paros through the Ages: From Prehistoric Times to the 16th Century AD, ed. D. Katsonopoulou, 119–144. Athens: The Institute for Archaeology of Paros and the Cyclades.

2021. "The Archaeology of Sicily under the Bourbons: A Reappraisal." Bulletin of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens 17: 4–11.

2021. “The Carthaginian Conquest and Destruction of Selinus in 409 B.C.: Diodorus and Archaeology.” In The Destruction of Cities in the Ancient Greek World: Integrating the Archaeological and Literary Evidence, eds. S. Fachard and E. Harris, 85–107. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

2020. Orsingher, A., B. Bechtold, and C. Marconi. "Selinunte's Pre-409 BC Phoenician and Punic Connections: A Ceramic Perspective from the Main Urban Sanctuary." Römische Mitteilungen 126: 235–310.

2020. Ward, A., and C. Marconi. "War and the Life of a Sacred Structure: Weapons from the NYU-UniMi Excavations in the Main Urban Sanctuary of Selinunte." In The Fight for Greek Sicily: Society, Politics, and Landscape, ed. M. Jonasch, 18–46. Oxford and Philadelphia: Oxbow Books.

2020. Marconi, C., D. Scahill, and M. Limoncelli. "New Architectural Work on the Akropolis of Selinous, Sicily: Towards a Digital Platform for Cultural Heritage." In New Directions and Paradigms for the Study of Greek Architecture: Interdisciplinary Dialogues in the Field, eds. P. Sapirstein and D. Scahill, 289–304. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

2019. “The Raw and the Cooked: Scenes of Animal Fights on Archaic Greek Sacred Architecture.” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 71–72: 209–228.

2019. “Prolegomena to the Study of Sculpture in Sicily in the Archaic and Classical Periods.” In Handbook of Greek Sculpture, ed. O. Palagia, 429–472. Berlin: De Gruyter.

2018. “Modernism in Three Dimensions: Picasso’s Sculpture vis-à-vis Ancient Greek and Roman Art.” In Picasso: The Sculpture, eds. A. Colliva and D. Widmaier-Picasso, 52–65. Officina Libraria: Milan.

2017. Marconi, C., R. Miccichè, and A. Ward. “Contextualizing an Animal Sacrifice in the Foundations of Temple R: A Preliminary Report of the Institute of Fine Arts – NYU Excavations on the Acropolis of Selinunte (2013–2015 Campaigns).” Mare Internum 9: 71–88.

2017. “Picasso and the Minotaur: A Chapter in Modern Mythmaking.” In Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors, exh. cat. Gagosian Gallery, London and New York 2017, ed. M. Cary, 88–111. New York: Gagosian Gallery.

2017. “The Frames of Greek Painted Pottery.” In The Frame in Classical Art. A Cultural History, eds. V. Platt and M. Squire, 117–153. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2016. “The Goddess from Morgantina.” Antike Plastik 31: 1–31.

2016. “The Greek West: Temples and their Decoration.” In A Companion to Greek Architecture, ed. M. M. Miles, 75–91. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

2016. "Francesco Vezzoli's Teatro Romano." In Francesco Vezzoli, ed. C. Perrella, 349–354. New York: Rizzoli.

2015. Marconi, C., and D. Scahill. “The “South Building” in the Main Urban Sanctuary of Selinunte: A Theatral Structure?” In The Architecture of the Ancient Greek Theatre: Acts of an International Conference at the Danish Institute at Athens 27-30 January 2012, eds. R. Frederiksen, E. R. Gebhard, and A. Sokolicek, 279–292. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press and the Danish Institute at Athens (Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, num. 17)

2015. “Pausanias and the Figural Decoration of Greek Sacred Architecture.” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 65–66: 177–191.

2014. Lazzarini, L., and C. Marconi. "A New Analysis of Major Greek Sculptures in the Metropolitan Museum: Petrological and Stylistic." Metropolitan Museum Journal 49: 119–142.

2014. "The Mozia Charioteer: A Revision." In Approaching the Ancient Artifact: Representation, Narrative, and Function, eds. A. Avramidou and D. Demetriou, 435–447. Berlin and New York: Walter De Gruyter.

2013. "Skopas in Samothrace." In Skopas and His World, eds. D. Katsonopoulou and A. Stewart. eds. 2013, III, 383–392. Paros: Institute of Archaeology of Paros and the Cyclades.

2013. “Mirror and Memory: Images of Ritual Actions in Greek Temple Decoration.” In Heaven on Earth: Temples, Ritual, and Cosmic Symbolism in the Ancient World, ed. D. Ragavan, 425–446. Chicago: The University of Chicago. (Oriental Institute Seminars, num. 9)

2012. “Between Performance and Identity: The Social Context of Stone Theaters in Late Classical and Hellenistic Sicily.” In Theater Outside Athens: Drama in Greek Sicily and South Italy, ed. K. Bosher, 175–207. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2012. “Sicily and South Italy.” In A Companion to Greek Art, eds. T. J. Smith and D. Plantzos, 369–396. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

2011. “The Birth of an Image. The Painting of a Statue of Herakles and Theories of Representation in Classical Greek Culture.” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 59–60: 145–167.

2010. “Choroi, Theōriai and International Ambitions: The Hall of Choral Dancers and Its Frieze.” In Samothracian Connections. Essays in Honor of James R. McCredie, ed. O. Palagia and B. D. Wescoat, 106–135. Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books.

2009. “The Parthenon Frieze: Degrees of Visibility.” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 55–56: 156–173.

2004. “Images for a Warrior. On a Group of Athenian Vases and Their Public.” In Greek Painted Pottery: Images, Contexts, and Controversies, ed. C. Marconi, 27–40. New York and Leiden: Brill.

2004. “Kosmos: The Imagery of the Archaic Greek Temple.” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 45: 211–224.