John N. Hopkins, Assistant Professor in the Deptartment of Art History and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, will deliver a lecture entitled The Ficoroni Cista: A Look at Artistic Production between Rome, Etruria and Latium.
Prof. Hopkins has kindly provided the following abstract:
"Perhaps more than any other object, the Ficoroni Cista has stood out as an icon of artistic production and consumption in Central Italy during the fourth century. A luxury toilet box deposited in a grave at Praeneste, it bears the signature of a craftsperson in Rome and artistic styles commonly tied to Etruria. Those who invoke its significance in scholarship unfailingly trace it to one end: as evidence either for Roman art and expansion, Praenestine families and luxury consumption, or the enduring sophistication of Etruscan craftwork. It is, rather, an indexical object that conflates and amplifies all three; it dissolves boundaries, both within its historical context and in the modern disciplinary fields of art history, archaeology and material studies. This paper will look closely at several elements of the object, including its double inscription, incised iconography and cast handles and feet, to uncover a work that militates against typological or categorical study in the assessment of early Italic culture."