About Us

Our faculty and staff reflect the widening scope of our discipline with particular strengths in the areas of classical Mediterranean archaeology, medieval and Renaissance art, and the art and architecture of modern Europe and the Americas. Current faculty research interests range from early Greece and Rome to modern architecture and contemporary painting. The art and material culture of German-speaking Europe constitutes a particular area of scholarly activity, supported by excellent resources on campus and world-class collections of German art in St. Louis and Kansas City. Resources available to faculty and students include the department's Visual Resources Center (VRC) and the Museum of Art and Archaeology, the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor, as well as the extensive collections of Ellis Library; many of our students have benefitted from internships or graduate research assistantships in the VRC or in the Museum.

We share with our graduate assistants a tradition of excellence in teaching and advising at all curricular levels.  We currently have about eighty undergraduate majors who are exploring the Western art historical tradition through a sequence of courses in the department. Nearly thirty graduate students are working closely with their faculty advisors on individualized programs of study. Several of our masters and doctoral students are further broadening their experience by pursuing an interdisciplinary minor in Ancient StudiesMedieval and Renaissance Studies, or Women's and Gender Studies, and we welcome the reinstitution in Fall 2010 of our Museum Studies minor. In recent years our students have studied or conducted research in Europe, Asia, and across North America with the support of Fulbright fellowships, Kress travel grants, and other national awards. Our programs prepare students for a variety of employment and study opportunities in arts-related fields. Recent graduates are working in art galleries and museums, businesses, government agencies, research institutes, colleges, and universities throughout the country.

Many department majors are active in Arts Spectrum, a student organization that regularly meets and organizes field-trips to regional museums. The AHA Graduate Student Association enriches the department's cultural life and co-sponsors with the University of Kansas an annual conference on current research in the field. Featured presentations and public symposia with distinguished guest scholars are regularly sponsored through the department's Blake-More Godwin lecture fund, the Archaeological Institute of America lecture series, and other campus organizations.

Specific program inquiries should be directed to Professor Marcus Rautman, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Classical Archaeology; Professor James van Dyke, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Art History; or Professor Anne Rudloff Stanton, Director of Graduate Studies. For further information about the department you are invited to contact individual faculty directly.

 

HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT

Classical archaeology has been taught at the University of Missouri since 1891, when Walter Miller, who had begun the first American excavation in Greece in 1886, joined the faculty. In the following year John Pickard, trained in classical art at Leipzig, Berlin, and Munich, and a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the American Academy in Rome, was hired. Pickard became the first chairman of the Department of Art History and Archaeology, while Professor Miller became the first Dean of the Graduate School in 1914. In that year the graduate program in Classics and Classical Archaeology included the Ph.D. program. Pickard was also the second president of the College Art Association, and during his five-year term The Art Bulletin was founded and edited at the University of Missouri. 

Following Pickard's retirement in 1935, the program was split between the Departments of Art and of Classics, but it was re-established as an independent unit by Saul Weinberg and Homer Thomas in 1960. Weinberg, an architect trained in classical art at Johns Hopkins University and at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, had come to Missouri in 1948, while Thomas, whose training included the study of Byzantine art at the University of Edinburgh, joined the faculty in 1950. Weinberg founded the Museum of Art and Archaeology in 1957 and saw it installed in its present quarters in 1976. Thomas directed his efforts to building the library, which now houses one of the best archaeological and art historical collections in the nation. Between 1965 and 1975 the faculty was enlarged to its present size. 

The Department and the Museum of Art and Archaeology are located in Swallow Hall on the Francis Quadrangle. The quadrangle, designed by M.F. Bell, was built between 1892 and 1895 and is entered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995, Francis Quadrangle celebrated its Centennial.

THE CAST GALLERY AND CAST COLLECTION

The Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia owns more than one hundred plaster casts, mainly of celebrated works of Greek and Roman sculpture, but some made from works of later periods. Scale models of parts of three buildings illustrate the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders. The collection is an old one, having been acquired from casting studios in Europe in 1895 and 1902. John Pickard (1858-1937), professor of classical archaeology and history of art and founder, in 1892, of the Department of Art History and Archaeology, chose the casts while traveling in Europe. He bought fifty casts and the architectural models in 1895, and according to reports in the local newspaper, he purchased 30 or 40 more in 1902. Four of the casts of ancient sculpture were gifts of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 1973.

The collection originally was exhibited in the Museum of Classical Archaeology and History of Art, which was housed in a large gallery on the third floor of the campus administration building, New Academic Hall, later renamed Jesse Hall. The Department of Art History and Archaeology was disbanded in 1935, and in 1940 the casts were pushed to one end of the gallery and hidden behind a curtain so that the Art Department would have enough space for its classes. At this time courses in classical archaeology were offered by faculty in the Classics Department, while the art of later periods was taught in the Art Department. In 1960 the Art Department moved to its own building, the Department of Art History and Archaeology was reestablished, and the casts again were exhibited in Jesse Hall. In 1975-76 the old Chemistry Building was renovated for the Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Museum of Art and Archaeology, and was renamed in honor of John Pickard. The cast collection was moved to the large front gallery on the ground floor of Pickard Hall, where most of it is on public display. Selected casts are kept in faculty offices and in storage. In 2013 the Museum and the cast collection were moved to Mizzou North; many of the casts also can be seen in Swallow Hall, the new home for the department.

The collection includes casts of works important for tracing the historical development of Greek sculpture. For example, casts of the Kouros of Tenea and the Athena from the Aegina pediment represent the Archaic period; casts of sculptures from Olympia and the Parthenon, the Diskobolos, the Charioteeer from Delphi, and the Doryphoros illustrate the fifth century, as the Apoxyomenos and a Scopaic head do the fourth century; casts of Hellenistic sculptures include the Laocoön, a section of the frieze of the Pergamon altar, and the Nike from Samothrace.

People have been collecting casts for centuries. In the Roman period, when many copies of Greek sculptures were made, plaster casts sometimes were used in the copying process. A renewed interest in antiquity beginning in the Renaissance and Baroque periods led many Europeans to acquire bronze and plaster casts of famous works. Cast collecting continued during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries many North American universities, museums, and academies acquired large collections of sculptural casts. Changing tastes in the 1930s-1940s regarded reproductions as old fashioned and no longer pedagogically useful, with the result that many institutions discarded their collections. A resurgence of interest in casts took place in the 1980s; their value as a tool for teaching Greek and Roman sculpture and architecture was recognized, as was their importance as models for drawing classes. People also became interested in the information such collections can provide about 19th-century aesthetics. Since in some cases pollution and restoration have altered the originals, scholars can study casts for details no longer preserved in the original sculptures.

Jane Biers 
Department of Art History and Archaeology