Images in Classical and Late Antiquity: meanings and representations


1. To understand the contexts and concepts of Classical and Late Antiquity;
2. To be able to relate Late Antiquity and Early Christianity;
3. To know Classical and Late Antiquity´s main iconographical sources and themes;
4. To debate the meanings and representations of Antiquity images;
5. To understand the main religious and cultural trends supporting image making in Antiquity;
6. To understand the dynamic transformation of meanings and forms in Antiquity´s images;
7.To study examples from Classical and Late Antiquity in occidental Hispânia (Portugal)
8. To acknowlegde the persistence and significance of the imaginal world of Classical and Late Antiquity in today´s history, culture and art history.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





1. Grabar, André. (2009). Les voies de création en iconographie chrétienne, Paris: Flammarion Poche
2. Maciel, M. Justino. (1996). Antiguidade Tardia e Paleocristianismo em Portugal, Lisboa: Autor
3. Marrou, H- I. (1979). Decadência Romana ou Antiguidade Tardia. Lisboa: Editorial Aster;
4. Martínez de la Torre, Cruz; González Vicario, Maria Teresa; Alzaga Ruiz, Amaya. (2010). Mitología Clásica e Iconografía Cristiana, Madrid: Editorial Universitária Ramon Areces;
5. Zanker, Paul. (2010). The power of images in the age of Augustus, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.

Teaching method

Classes have both a theoretical and a practical component. Theoretical contents will be developed through the contact with images, encouraging the observation skills of the student. Practical exercises will consist of text analysis reports and reports based on the observation and description of images. Whenever is possible, study visits to museums and archaeological sites will be carried out, privileging direct contact with artworks.

Evaluation method

There are four elements of assessment:
1. A written test (45%);
2. A written exercise (for example: critical reviews; Study visits small reports ) (10%)
3. A research paper (45%) (25% writing, oral presentation - 20%);

Subject matter

1. Art history of Classical and Late Antiquity: contexts, concepts, methods and debates;
2. Classical sources for the symbolic universe of Antiquity (Vitruvius, Ovid, Pline the Elder and Saint Isidor of Seville);
3. Mithology, Judaism, Christianity and Secretive religions´ presence in the art of Antiquity;
4. Images, Signs, Symbols and attributes in Antiquity;
5. The polysemy of artistic signs in the transition from Classical to Late Antiquity;
6. The relations between images in paintings, mosaic and sculpture and their architectural context;
7. Main iconographic themes in painting, mosaic and sculpture;
8. Early Christian sculpture and mosaic;
9. Portuguese Classical and Late Antiquity case studies;
10. Antiquity images, meanings and representations survival up to the present day.