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Medusa – Female Figures of Mythology
and Their Contemporary Reception

Linda Nolan & Chiara Sulprizio 

Lecture (Online)

Enter via Zoom
Meeting-ID: 982 4698 3129
Code: 220513

Antique Collection of the University of Graz

Photo: HK

The recent installation of a six-foot-tall bronze of the Gorgon Medusa in downtown Manhattan, New York has sparked a new debate about the representation of women as demonic figures. The sculpture, titled Medusa With the Head of Perseus, is by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati and is displayed in the park across from the New York County Criminal Court, where controversial film producer Harvey Weinstein recently stood trial. Linda Nolan uses the exemplary case of Medusa to examine female archetypes within Greek mythology, as well as their changing representations in art and culture over time, such as Caravaggio’s Medusa (1597) and Cindy Sherman’s work, Untitled #282 (1993). The lecture follows the theory that Medusa’s beauty-and especially her femininity-was considered as dangerous as her monstrosity. Nolan will use exemplary cases to show that most hybrids (half-human, half-animal monsters such as Sirens or Gorgons) in ancient Greece were female, leading Nolan to suggest that in a male-centered society, the feminization of monsters served to portray women as monstrous. After the lecture Nolan will step in conversation with Chiara Sulprizio disussing further aspects of representation, sex and gender considering a range of charakters from greek antiquity. 

Prof. Dr. Linda Nolan (*1974, in Milwaukee, lives in Rom) works at Temple University in Rome. Her teaching interests include ancient art and architecture, its reception in art and architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries to the present, the history of archaeology since the Renaissance, and collection and museum history. Nolan earned her doctorate from the Department of Art History and the University of Southern California. In addition to her academic work, Nolan worked as a researcher and museum educator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and as studio director for artist Raymond Pettibon. Nolan was also a Samuel H. Kress Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Residence at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, and a Fellow of the American Association of University Women.

Chiara Sulprizio (* 1977 Reno, Nevada; lives in Nashville) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Mediterranean Studies at Vanderbilt University, Nashville. Her scholarly work examines ancient attitudes and ideas about gender and sexuality, especially as they are depicted in comedy, satire and other humor-based literary genres. She is also interested in the reception of the Classical past in modern comics, graphic novels and animation, and she is the creator of the web archive Animated Antiquity: Cartoon Representations of Ancient Greece and Rome” (www​.ani​matedan​tiq​ui​ty​.com). Her latest publication Sexuality in Juvenal‘s Rome: Satire 2 and Satire 6 was published at Oklahoma University Press in 2020. She has also written several publications on the comedies of the Greek poet Aristophanes. 

The event will be held online in English language.

Antique Collection of the University of Graz

Photo: HK