Iconoclasm and Vandalism (Research Institute)

Iconoclasm raises contentious questions that transcend cultural and temporal boundaries. It can be understood as vandalism, destruction, or a means of repression, all of which fundamentally put culture at risk.

However, iconoclasm can also be a form of protest or a vehicle for creative expression. Iconoclasm is transformative, creating entirely new objects or meanings through alterations to existing artworks. Charged with symbolism, these remains testify to a history of reception, offering clues about the life and afterlife of an object. To a certain extent, all radical changes in cultural production can be described as iconoclastic.

Applicants are encouraged to adopt a broad approach to the theme by addressing topics such as religious and political iconoclasm, protection of cultural heritage, use of spolia, damnatio memoriae, street art, graffiti, performance art, or activism.

The Classical World in Context: Persia (Villa)

The Getty Scholars Program at the Villa for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 terms will address the political, intellectual, religious, and artistic relations between Persia, Greece, and Rome from the ninth century BC to AD 651. The Greeks regarded Media in western Iran as one of the great kingdoms of the East, but it was the Persian Empire, forged by the Achaemenid Dynasty (sixth to fourth century BC), that became their principal adversary. Reaching from the borders of Greece to India, the Persian Empire was viewed by the Greeks as a vastly wealthy and powerful rival and often as an existential threat. When the Macedonian king Alexander the Great finally defeated the Persians in 331 BC, Greek culture spread throughout the Near East, but native dynasties—first the Parthian (247 BC–AD 224) and then the Sasanian (AD 224–651)—soon reestablished themselves.

The rise of the Roman Empire as a world power quickly brought it, too, into conflict with Persia, despite the common trade that flowed through their territories. The 2017/2018 scholar year is the first of two that will be devoted to this theme. Priority will be given to research projects that are cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, and that utilize a wide range of archaeological, textual, and other evidence.

Grant Applications

2017-2018 Scholar Year Poster: Iconoclasm and Vandalism

2017-2018 Scholar Year Poster: The Classical World in Context: Persia

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