Art is a highly significant factor in the material values that contribute to the characterisation of a culture. One of the ICAC’s own lines of research is the study of this aspect of the ancient world. It looks at the phenomenon of artistic creation in itself and the archaeological documents deriving from it, including sculptures, paintings, mosaics, the art of the object, etc.

In the projects of this line of research, special attention is paid to the analyses specific to this discipline, including iconography, trade and distribution; the question of artisanal workshops and productions; and the study of the style and the social, cultural and ideological context of classical artistic productions, which were often used as a legitimising element of political power, etc. All this is carried out in conjunction with other specialities. Of particular importance is the relationship of this line of research to transversal sciences such as epigraphy and archaeometry. For this reason, the majority of projects carried out in the framework of classical archaeology and artistic production also form part of both the Textual Sources, Epigraphy and Numismatics and the Archaeometry transversal programmes carried out by the ICAC Archaeometric Studies Unit.

These interconnections allow us to make progress in discriminating between local and imported sculpture and, at the same time, to foster research into a subject that, as a general rule, has received less attention from the scientific community devoted to classical archaeology: the arts of the object, once erroneously categorised as minor arts. They are in fact minor in terms of their smaller size, but definitely not in their artistic value, which can reach a high level, as demonstrated, for example, by gems and cameos. This line of research analyses works from the Greek and Roman cultures, as well as from of other classical cultures with which they were in contact, such as the Carthaginians, Iberians and Etruscans, which often need specific methodologies.

The methodologies and results of the projects in this line of research have been crystallised in the impetus to begin and continue international projects, such as the Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani (CSIR) or the organisation and regular presence of researchers in this line as members of the scientific committee and at specific congresses with international recognition and repercussion.

Consult the different associated projects: