nalyzing three scholars’ interpretations of a single monument.



7-10 Pages, double-spaced.

DUE DEC. 17 at 11 AM.


For your final paper, you will be analyzing three scholars’ interpretations of a single monument. You will select ONE of the following monuments to write about: Parthenon Friezes (Classical Greece); Ara Pacis (Imperial Rome); Apse Mosaics at Mount Sinai (Byzantine); Santiago de Compostela (Romanesque); Sainte-Chapelle of Paris (Gothic)



You will be reading THREE pre-selected articles (available on Blackboard in the Assignments section) about the monument that you have chosen. Here are the articles.


Parthenon Friezes (Classical Greece)


Neils, Jenifer. “Reconfiguring the Gods on the Parthenon Frieze.” The Art Bulletin 81, no. 1 (1999): 6-20.



Pollitt, Jerome J. “The Meaning of the Parthenon Frieze.” Studies in the History of Art 49 (1997): 50-65.


Stevenson, Tom. “Cavalry Uniforms on the Parthenon Frieze?” American Journal of Archaeology 107, no. 4 (2003): 629-54.



Ara Pacis (Imperial Rome)


Elsner, John. “Cult and Sculpture: Sacrifice in the Ara Pacis Augustae.” The Journal of Roman Studies 81 (1991): 50-61.


Galinsky, Karl. “Venus, Polysemy, and the Ara Pacis Augustae.” American Journal of Archaeology 96, no. 3 (1992): 457-75.


Holliday, Peter J. “Time, History, and Ritual on the Ara Pacis Augustae.” The Art Bulletin 72, no. 4 (1990): 542-57.




Apse Mosaics at Mount Sinai (Byzantine)


Coleman, Simon, and John Elsner. “The Pilgrim’s Progress: Art, Architecture and Ritual Movement at Sinai.” World Archaeology 26, no. 1 (1994): 73-89.


Loerke, William C. “Observations on the Representation of Doxa in the Mosaics of S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, and St. Catherine’s, Sinai.” Gesta 20, no. 1 (1981): 15-22.


Pentcheva, Bissera V. “The aesthetics of landscape and icon at Sinai.” Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 65, no. 1 (2015): 194-211.





Santiago de Compostela (Romanesque)


Abou-El-Haj, Barbara. “Santiago De Compostela in the Time of Diego Gelmírez.” Gesta 36, no. 2 (1997): 165-79.


Mathews, Karen Rose. “Reading Romanesque Sculpture: The Iconography and Reception of the South Portal Sculpture at Santiago De Compostela.” Gesta 39, no. 1 (2000): 3-12.


Rückert, Claudia. “A Reconsideration of the Woman with the Skull on the Puerta De Las Platerías of Santiago De Compostela Cathedral.” Gesta 51, no. 2 (2012): 129-46.



Sainte-Chapelle of Paris (Gothic)


Cohen, Meredith. “An Indulgence for the Visitor: The Public at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris.” Speculum 83, no. 4 (2008): 840-83.


Jordan, Alyce A. Visualizing kingship in the windows of the Sainte-Chapelle, Turnhout, Belgium:

Brepols, 2002, ch. 2.



Weiss, Daniel H. “Architectural Symbolism and the Decoration of the Ste.-Chapelle.” The Art Bulletin 77, no. 2 (1995): 308-20.





In the first part of your essay, describe each scholar’s argument succinctly and separately. (That is, do not immediately compare the arguments.) When you are considering the scholar’s main argument, consider: what new interpretations of the monument are proposed?; what type of question is the scholar trying to answer about the monument?


When you summarize the scholarly argument, make sure also to describe what types of evidence are used (literary, iconographic, stylistic, etc.) to support the main argument.


After having summarized the arguments of each scholar separately, you will then compare their arguments. Be sure to identify what similarities they share. In what ways do the three accounts seem to agree? Once you identify the similarities between the authors, discuss the differences. This will be the focus of your analysis. You might focus on a single image (or two) in your analysis in order to highlight the different interpretative positions.


No additional research is necessary.


Lastly, conclude your paper by stating which position seems most convincing to you and why (that is, explain who has presented the most convincing evidence.) Or, explain why you think the different interpretations can all be correct.. Feel free to hypothesize how one author might respond to the interpretations of other authors.


To summarize: three main parts of your paper:

1. Summarizing each scholar’s interpretation of the monument, describing also the types of evidence used to support their argument.

2. A comparison of the three scholarly arguments, analyzing points of agreement and disagreement between the three different interpretations.

3. A consideration of which interpretation seemed most convincing and why.








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