Verity Platt

Professor, on leave 2023-2024


I specialize in Greek and Roman art history, and have a particular interest in the relationship between ancient literary and visual cultures, especially in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

My research and publications focus on ancient theories of the image; media and intermediality; the historiography of ancient art (especially the author Pliny the Elder); art, nature, and ecology; the material and visual culture of religion; Roman wall-painting and funerary art; Graeco-Roman seal-stones; Hellenistic poetry (especially epigram); and Greek literature under the Roman Empire. I have a special interest in classical reception, as an editor of the Classical Receptions Journal, and have curated exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists. Together with Annetta Alexandridis, I am also curator of the Cornell Cast Collection.

I welcome applications from graduate students in Classics, History of Art, and Archaeology working in all areas of ancient visual culture and its receptions, as well as at the intersection of visual, material and literary studies.

Research Focus

My current book project, Epistemic Objects: Making and Mediating Classical Art and Text (contracted to the Oxford University Press series "Classics in Theory"), explores how Greek authors drew on ancient models of sense-perception when formulating relationships between texts and objects, with a focus on Hellenistic epigram. Moving beyond the concepts of description (ekphrasis) and imitation (mimesis), which have dominated so much scholarship on the text-image relationship in antiquity, it focuses on the language of the impression (typos), addressing the verbal and conceptual strategies that authors such as Posidippus employed when dealing with the materiality of artifacts and modes of cultural transmission.



Edited Volumes


  • “Undisciplining the University through Shared Purpose, Practice, and Place,” Nature: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9, no. 172 (2022), with A. Freiband et al.

  • “Ancient Relief: Terminology, Medium, Ontology”, in J. Elsner, M. Gaifman and N. Jones (eds.), Rethinking Classical Relief, Yale Classical Studies/Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

  • “Art, Nature, and the Material Divine in Roman Landscape Painting,” in J. Powers, (ed.), Art, Nature, and Myth in Ancient Rome, exhibition catalogue, San Antonio Museum of Art. Forthcoming October 2021.

  • “Bodies, Bases and Borders: Framing the Divine in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” in R. Wood and J. Elsner (eds.), Imagining the Divine: Exploring Art in Religions of Late Antiquity across Eurasia, British Museum Press, 2021: 19–36. 

  • "Beeswax: The Natural History of an Archetypal Medium," in A. Anguissola and A. Grüner (eds.), The Nature of Art: Pliny the Elder on Materials. Brepols series on "Art and Materiality", 2021: 51–64.

    • Translated into Italian as "Cera d’api: la storia naturale di un medium archetipico," transl. C. Ballestrazzi, Journal of the Istituto universitario olandese di storia dell’arte. Forthcoming.

  • “Re-membering the Belvedere Torso: Ekphrastic Restoration and the Teeth of Time,” Critical Inquiry 46 (Autumn 2020): 49–75.

  • "Color in Ancient Religion and Ritual," in D. Wharton (ed.), A Cultural History of Color in Antiquity. Bloomsbury, 2020: 63–80.

  • “The Seal of Polycrates: A Discourse on Discourse Channel Conditions,” in P. Michelakis (ed.), Classics and Media Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, series on “Classical Presences”, 2020: 53–76.

  • “De l’original perdu aux séries de répliques : nouvelles approches des multiples gréco-romains,” transl. G. Mélère, invited contribution to Perspective: actualité en histoire de l’art, special issue on Multiples. 2019.2: 165–78.

  • ​"Ecology, Ethics and Aesthetics in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History," Journal of the Clark Art Institute 17, special issue on Ecologies, Agents, Terrainsed. C. P. Heuer and R. Zorach, Yale University Press, 2018. 219-42.​

  • "Orphaned Objects: Pliny’s Natural History and the Phenomenology of the Incomplete," Art History 41.3 (June 2018), special issue on The Embodied Object, 492-517.

  • "The Embodied Object," Introduction to Art History 41.3 (June 2018), special issue on The Embodied Object (co-authored with M. Gaifman), 402-19.

  • “Ex votos in the Ancient World”, in I. Weinryb (ed.), Agents of Faith: Votive Giving Across Cultures. Bard Graduate Center Gallery Publications, Yale University Press, 2018, 2-19.

  • "Silent Bones and Singing Stones: Materializing the Poetic Corpus in Hellenistic Greece", in N. Goldschmidt and B. Graziosi (eds.), Tombs of the Poets: Between Text and Material CultureOxford University Press, 2018, 21-49.

  • "Of Sponges and Stones: Matter and Ornament in Roman Painting," in N. Dietrich and M. Squire (eds.), Ornament and Figure in Graeco-Roman Art: Rethinking Visual Ontologies in Classical Antiquity. De Gruyter, 2018, 241-78. 

  • "Double Vision: Epiphanies of the Dioscuri in Greece and Rome," Archiv für Religionsgeschichte 20.1, March 2018, 229-56.

  • "Framing the Visual in Greco-Roman Antiquity: an Introduction," in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 3-99 (co-authored with M. Squire).

  • "Framing the Sacred,"  in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 384–91.

  • "Framing Pictorial Space," in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 102–16.

  • "Getting to Grips with Classical Art: Rethinking the Haptics of Graeco-Roman Visual Culture," in A. Purves (ed.), Touch and the Ancient Senses. The Senses in Antiquity, Vol. 6. Routledge (2017), 74-100 (co-authored with M. Squire).

  • "The Matter of Classical Art History”, in What’s New About the Old? Reassessing the Ancient World, special issue of Daedalus edited by M. Santirocco (Spring 2016), 5–14.

  • "The Artist as Anecdote: Creating Creators in Ancient Texts and Modern Art History," in J. Haninck and R. Fletcher (eds.), Creative Lives in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press (2016), 274-304.

  • "Epiphanies," in The Oxford Handbook of Greek Religion, eds. E. Eidinow and J. Kindt, Oxford University Press (2015), 491-504.

  • "Agamemnon's Grief: on the Limits of Expression in Roman Rhetoric and Painting," in J. Elsner and M. Meyer (eds.), Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture. Cambridge University Press (2014), 211-31.

  • "Likeness and Likelihood in Classical Greek Art," in V. Wohl (ed.), Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought. Cambridge University Press (2014), 185-207. 

  • "Sight and the Gods: On the Desire to See Naked Nymphs," in M. Squire (ed.), Sight and the Ancient Senses. The Senses in Antiquity, Vol. 4, Routledge (2015), 169-87. 

  • "Framing the Dead on Roman Sarcophagi," RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 61/62 (Spring/Autumn 2012), 213-27.

  • "Art History in the Temple," Arethusa 43.2 (Spring 2010), 197-213. 

  • "Viewing the Past: Cinematic Paideia in the Caverns of Macedonia," in P. Cartledge and F. Rose Greenland (eds.), Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander. Film, History and Cultural Studies. University of Wisconsin Press (2010), 285-304. 

  • "Where The Wild Things Are: Locating the Marvellous in Augustan Wall-Painting", in P. Hardie (ed.), Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture. Oxford University Press (2009), 41-74. 

  • "Virtual Visions: Phantasia and the Perception of the Divine in Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana," in E. L. Bowie and J. Elsner (eds.), Philostratus. Cambridge University Press (2009), 131-54. 

  • "Burning Butterflies: Seals, Symbols and the Soul in Antiquity", in L. Gilmour (ed.), Pagans and Christians - from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, British Archaeological Reports series, Archaeopress (2007), 89-99. 

  • "Honour Takes Wing: Unstable Images and Anxious Orators in the Greek Tradition," in Z. Newby and R. Leader-Newby (eds.), Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press (2006), 247-71.

  • "Making an Impression: Replication and the Ontology of the Graeco-Roman Seal Stone", Art History, special edition on Replication in Ancient Art, 29.2 (April, 2006), 233-57. 

  • "Shattered Visages: Speaking Statues from the Ancient World," Apollo (July, 2003), 9-14. 

  • "Evasive Epiphany in Ekphrastic Epigram," Ramus 31 (2002), 33-50.

  • "Viewing, Desiring, Believing: Confronting the Divine in a Pompeian House," Art History 25.1 (Feb, 2002), 87-112.

Online articles and journalism

Curated exhibitions

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