Patrons and Viewers in Late Antiquity (BOK)
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Antiquity was a multi-cultural and multi-religious world. Meetings and interactions between cultures in East and West, and the consequent widespread exchange of ideas had an enormous impact on cultural practices and the creation of identities. These cultural diversities are reflected by both the archaeological material and the written sources. Patrons of luxurious buildings, elaborate grave monuments, and churches used architecture and images to demonstrate political, social and religious power. These buildings and their embellishment with sculpture, mosaics and paintings were strong factors in communicating identity and attitudes both in the public and private spheres. The continuous production of mythological sculpture and mosaics coexisted, sometimes peacefully other times with violent consequences, with an increasing influence from new philosophical mind sets originating in the East, such as Christianity. In this period of rapid social and religious change new patrons appeared, such as bishops, who were responsible for the construction of churches commemorating the Christian triumph. The seminar focuses on the way patrons, pagan as well as Christian, conveyed messages through material culture and the responses of the viewers.