February 14, 2017
Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program begins a seven-part lecture series on Tuesday, February 28 at 5:30 pm with “The Painted Stage: Drama in Pictures and Pictures in Drama at Rome,” presented by Clark/Oakley Fellow Marden Nichols. The free lecture will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion.
Despite the undeniable importance of sound and song to dramatic performances, the ancient Romans referred to their audiences as spectatores, or viewers. Revolutionary, and lasting, innovations made by ancient Roman dramatists and painters during the Republic and early Empire were developed through a dialogue across the two media concerning ideas of space, representation, and artifice. This lecture uncovers an ancient Roman conception of theater as painting-in-motion and explores the repercussions of this frame of thought for simultaneous developments in painting and dramatic literature.
Marden Nichols is assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on image and text in ancient Rome. Her first book, Vitruvius on Display (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press), is a literary and art historical study of  Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio’s De architectura. Recent articles discuss Roman domestic decor, the authorial personae of Horace and Vitruvius, vermilion (cinnabar), and the reception history of plaster cast replicas of classical art. At the Clark, she is working on her current book, which argues for a mutually constitutive relationship between painting and drama in ancient Rome (c. 240 BCE–100 CE).
For information on upcoming RAP lectures, visit

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
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