Robert Ousterhout, professor of the history of art, University of Pennsylvania, will present the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History on Thursday, February 20, at 4:10 p.m. in 203 Cohen Hall. His lecture is entitled “The Life and Afterlife of Constantine’s Column,” with a reception to follow in the atrium.
A renowned scholar of Byzantine architecture, Ousterhout was among those who inspected the summit of Constantine’s column during the recent renovation (2003-2009). His lecture will examine the oldest and most enigmatic monument of Byzantine Constantinople.
Ousterhout teaches courses in Byzantine art and architectural history and serves as the director of the Center for Ancient Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the documentation, interpretation, and restoration of the vanishing architectural heritage of the eastern Mediterranean. His current fieldwork concentrates on Byzantine architecture, monumental art, and urbanism in Constantinople and Cappadocia ranging from such projects as restoring ancient churches in Istanbul to documentation and analysis of settlements in Cappadocia.
He has surveyed and excavated sites in Greece, Turkey, and Israel, but the allure of Istanbul continues to draw him back. In an interview with Emily Wilson, University of Oregon, he said: “The history, the city surrounded by water, the food and big city hustle and bustle all appealed to me. I knew I couldn’t just work in a library. I needed field work, and I began working directly with the documentation of monuments. I’ve since also discovered the wonders of working in rural Cappadocia.”
His abiding interest in Byzantine archaeology, art, and architecture has resulted in major publications and exhibitions, including Master Builders of Byzantium (Princeton University Press, 1999; 2nd ed., University of Pennsylvania Museum Publications, 2008), John Henry Haynes: A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire 1881-1900 (Istanbul, 2011), A Byzantine Settlement in Cappadocia (Dumbarton Oaks Studies 42, Washington, DC, 2011), Kariye Camii, Yeniden/The Kariye Camii Reconsidered, edited with Holger A. Klein and Brigitte Pitarakis (Istanbul Research Institute, 2011), and Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans: Archaeology, Diplomacy, Art, exhibition catalogue (Pera Museum, Istanbul, 2011), edited with Renata Holod.
Sponsored by the Department of History of Art and the Nashville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East.