Monday, February 27, 2012

U.Va. Expert to Share How Modern Methods Enrich Knowledge of Famed "Alexander Mosaic"

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Lecturing at Washington College on Wednesday, March 7, an award-winning professor of Roman Art and Archaeology from the University of Virginia will use advanced technology to illuminate one of the most famous ancient artworks in the world. John J. Dobbins will deliver his talk, “Art, Archaeology, and Advanced Technology: The Case of the Alexander Mosaic at Pompeii,” at 4:30 p.m., in Decker Theater, Gibson Center of Arts on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.
Sponsored the Department of Art and Art History, the talk is free and open to the public.
The Alexander Mosaic, discovered in the House of the Faun at Pompeii and now on display in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, depicts a dramatic encounter between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. In the foreground, Darius looks on in horror from his chariot as Alexander, on horseback, impales a Persian cavalryman with a spear. The mosaic is valued for the sophisticated painterly effects it creates with minute stone tesserae.
Dobbins will show how a 3D digital model and “a lighting package calibrated to 100 B.C.” has helped art historians answer questions about how the mosaic would have appeared in its Pompeii setting.

A graduate of the college of the Holy Cross, Dobbins earned a master’s in English from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. He is co-editor of The World of Pompeii (Routledge: London and New York 2007; paperback 2008) and author of numerous articles in professional journals, including the American Journal of Archaeology and the Classical Journal.
Dobbins has received several teaching awards at U.Va., including the All-University Teaching Award. In 2010, he was awarded the Richard A. and Sarah Page Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship, funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities. The three-year award supports the development of active learning exercises that push students to explore the complexities of their course material in dynamic ways.
In his March 7 talk at Washington College, Dobbins will include a learning exercise he developed for his class on Etruscan and Roman art at U.Va. (To receive advance materials for the exercise, please email Donald McColl, Nancy L. Underwood Associate Professor of Art History at Washington College, at