“The Colorful Art of the Ancient Synagogue” to Be Topic of Naamani Lecture on April 1

Professor Steven Fine of Yeshiva University in New York has been selected to deliver the University of Louisville’s 2012 Naamani Memorial Lecture on Sunday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. This year, the lecture will be presented at the Jewish Community Center.

Dr. Fine’s illustrated lecture, entitled “the Colorful Art of the Ancient Synagogue,” will explore the use of color – polychromy – in the art of ancient synagogues and will discuss the importance of color for our understanding of the Jewish art, archaeology and liturgy of the Roman period.

“Moderns are accustomed to imagining ancient Roman sculpture exhibited in pristine white marble,” Professor Fine explains, but “recent scholarship has shown that classical art and architecture were, in fact, vibrantly colored, challenging our understanding of the visual experience of ancient art.”

Dr. Fine is a cultural historian specializing in Jewish history in the Greco-Roman world. He focuses on relationships between the literature of ancient Judaism and its art and archaeology.

He holds an M.A. in art history from the University of Southern California and a doctorate in Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently, Dr. Fine is professor of Jewish History and director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University in New York.

Dr. Fine’s unique blend of history, rabbinic literature, archaeology and art is expressed in a broad range of publications. The author of academic monographs, museum catalogs, articles and even a book for children, his most recent book is Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology. He is also an editor of IMAGES: A Journal for the Study of Jewish Art and Visual Culture.

The Naamani Memorial Lecture is named in memory of Professor Israel Naamani, a respected and beloved member of U of L’s Political Science Department who died in 1979. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This year, for the first time, the Naamani Lecture will be presented off campus and on a Sunday, in an effort to make it easier for more people to attend. For more information about the Naamani Lecture, contact Prof. Lee Shai Weissbach in the History Department at the University of Louisville, 852-3755 or weissbach@louisville.edu.

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