This survey, which centres mainly on Greek sculpture and vase-painting from 600 to 300 BC, examines research over the past twenty years. Organised chronologically in terms of media (free-standing sculpture, architectural sculpture, luxury items, ceramics), the chapters discuss polychromy, the ethics of collecting and the relationship between scenes of myth and everyday life. Attention is also paid to new approaches that question the concept of 'art' in Classical Greece (what is known as the 'paradigm shift') in which the purposes, contexts and effect of material culture are given greater prominence. To summarise recent research, the author adopts a balance between a broad treatment and detailed description. The text and images (fifty in number and largely in colour) will be particularly useful to students and teachers but will have a wider appeal.
Brian A. Sparkes studied at King's College London and the British School of Archaeology, Athens, and was Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Southampton until his retirement in 1996. He also worked for the American School of Classical Studies on the Agora excavations in Athens. He was editor of The Journal of Hellenic Studies and Archaeological Reports from 1964 to 1971, and was Honorary Secretary of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies from 1996 to 2005. His past academic posts include Visiting Fellow at the British School of Archaeology, Athens (1986-1987), Geddes-Harrower Visiting Professor at the University of Aberdeen (1991-1992) and First Leventis Professor at the University of Edinburgh (1998-1999). He was also President of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers from 2001 to 2003 and of the Classical Association from 2004-2005, and is an Honorary Member and a Vice-President of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has worked in the UK, Greece and the USA.