Myth-Ing Sound: Exploring Markers of Music in Ancient Athenian Vase Paintings, Sponsored by the Department of Classical Studies
From Library Student on November 19th, 2020
A lecture by Danielle Smotherman Bennett, curatorial assistant for the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. Music features as an important component in a variety of ancient Greek mythological tales, including those portrayed on vases. Athenian vase paintings, however, are a silent medium. This talk demonstrates how images regularly incorporate sound through visual clues inviting viewers to imagine these sensory aspects and how vase painters visually express in different ways music, speech, and other sounds within representations of tales such as Orpheus and Marsyas, among others. Visual markers of sound, such as the inclusion of instruments, figures with an open mouth, and even nonsense inscriptions can entice viewers to relate the depiction with noises an ancient audience would expect. Through engaging the work of scholars and musicians working to recreate ancient Greek music, modern viewers can gain greater insight into the visual representations on ancient ceramics. And can experience how and why ancient Greek artists inspire their audience to fill-in the details of these silent pictures.