Anne Chapin (Brevard College, North Carolina) will introduce the topic “Into the Labyrinth: Research Methods and the Study of Minoan Iconography”. The lecture is part of the Greek Iconographies seminar, co-organized by the Netherlands Institute at Athens and the Belgian School at Athens.
This lecture reviews the scholarly study of Minoan iconography from a historical perspective, from the important work of Sir Arthur Evans to the present day. Individual case studies of famous Minoan artworks are discussed in order to reflect on how their interpretation has changed through time. Indeed, the evolving understanding of Minoan art and culture has been strongly influenced by the varying research methods embraced by past and present scholars – research methods that reflect the cultural priorities of the various generations in which they were produced. Thus Victorian values shaped Sir Arthur Evans’s ideas about Minoan palatial art, the feminist movement in the late twentieth century redefined women’s roles in Minoan society, and more recently, postprocessual theory that emphasizes subjectivity, individuality, and variability has bought new perspectives to Minoan art. Questions about future directions for the study of Minoan iconography are also raised.