Candidate Profile

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Architecture & its History
History - Classical
Diane is an archaeologist and art historian specializing in ancient art and architecture of the Mediterranean. She studied Classics at the University of Mississippi, and earned her PhD in Mediterranean archaeology from the University of Cincinnati before moving to London in 1990. She has excavated and surveyed in Greece and Italy at sites that include Pompeii, Corinth, Nemea and Pylos, and has been involved in such projects as a survey of early modern architecture and the reconstruction of the Classical heroon at Messene, both in western Greece. She has contributed to and been responsible for the creation of numerous books on various aspects of art history, including Art in Time (2014), an introduction to art styles and movements, The Art Museum (2011), a comprehensive survey of the finest examples of Western and non-Western art from the Ice Age to today, 30,000 Years of Art (2007) and The Art of the Erotic (2017). She has just published the comprehensive report on the University of Minnesota excavations at the Bronze Age Palace of Nestor at Pylos, in southern Greece.

She was a founding partner of Academy Projects LLP, a firm offering conservation, presentation, publishing and design services in respect to archaeological and historical sites and buildings. As such she co-authored conservation and presentation proposals for the House of the Vestals, House of the Surgeon and Insula VI.1 at Pompeii, for the Villa del Discobolo on the Italian Presidential Estate of Castelporziano, and other sites in Italy. She presently works as Senior Editor at the international art publisher Phaidon Press, where she commissions books on fine art, ancient and non-Western art and archaeology. She was for many years a member of the Executive Committee for the UK-based Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE), and has edited books for ASTENE on travel in the region.

Diane has lectured on multiple cruise ships across the Mediterranean, including the Saga Spirit of Adventure, the Viking Star, Thompson cruises and others. She acted as a lecturer to diverse groups of non-specialists while living and working in Greece, speaking on Greek, Roman and Egyptian art, architecture and archaeology there and in Egypt, including both classroom-based lectures and escorted tours.
My lectures are usually created for each cruise individually, to take advantage of the specific ports of call and excursions offered. The following list is a sample of talks that might be offered, but each cruise is always offered a bespoke range of lectures.

1. The Search for Homer’s Ithaka
This lecture tells the age-old story of Odysseus’ travels after the Trojan War and looks at recent attempts to identify the actual location of his palace on the Greek island of Kephallonia.

2. Questioning the Oracle at Delphi
In which we examine the roles of ancient Greek religion, modern geological science, and hallucinogenic drugs in the search for answers from the most famous oracle in antiquity.

3. Jason and the Argonauts
A look at the activities of the ancient Greeks around the Black Sea, from the myths of the Golden Fleece and the divine singer Orpheus to recently excavated sites.

4. Sea Peoples in the West: the Ancient Cultures of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily
The history and archaeology of the pre-Roman cultures of the western Mediterranean, from the mysterious towers of Sardinia and the child sacrifices of Carthage to the rise of ancient Rome.

5. The Roman House: for Gods, Emperors and Men – Roman building design was astonishingly innovative and ambitious, even within a recognized canon of forms, and this lecture looks at examples of the best religious and domestic architecture that survives: from the classic Pompeiian house of the middle-class merchant to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, from the theatrical temple to Fortuna at Praeneste to the Pantheon.

6. The Prehistory of Malta
A look at the unique ruins of the prehistoric Maltese culture: temples and tombs unlike anything else in the Mediterranean and older than the pyramids of Egypt.

7. The Discovery of Egypt, from Napoleon to Agatha Christie
Egyptology proper began with the French invasion of 1798, when – along with an army – Napoleon sent almost 200 of France’s best scientists, artists and engineers to explore and record the ancient ruins. They were followed by travellers and antiquaries from all over Europe, from the circus strongman Giovanni Belzoni to the British archaeologist Howard Carter, discoverer of the tomb of Tuthankamun. This led to an explosion of interest in all things Egyptian in the early twentieth century, ranging from architecture and design to film and fiction. This lecture reveals the fascination that early travellers had with life along the Nile, and how their discoveries contributed to our modern perceptions of ancient Egypt.

8. Sir Arthur Evans and Minoan Crete
How much of the Minoan palace of Knossos is based on archaeological evidence, and how much on Art Deco styles popular when it was being excavated? Is our understanding of Minoan culture founded on unbiased archaeological science, or on the political and cultural developments of the 1920s–30s? This lecture looks at the evidence.

9. Mysterious Etruscans
They once occupied Italy from Naples to Milan, and their fantastically painted tombs reveal a sophisticated culture with connections across the central Mediterranean. The Romans feared them and ultimately overwhelmed them, but who were they?

10. The Making of the Acropolis – The Parthenon and the other iconic structures on the acropolis of Athens have undergone an unprecedented restoration over the last three decades, work that has brought to light previously unknown information about the design and construction of the buildings and their function in ancient Greece society. This lecture looks at the fascinating history of human activity on the acropolis from the Bronze Age to the present.

11. The Creation of the Human: Greek Sculpture from the Archaic through the Hellenistic Periods – Classical sculpture is seen today as the epitome of naturalism in its representation of the human form, but treasures such as the Parthenon sculptures and the Venus di Milo did not spring from the sculptor’s hand fully formed. They are the culmination of centuries of experimentation that began in Egypt, and their development reveals as much about the politics and culture of their times as about artistic styles.

12. Painting from Agamemnon to Alexander the Great – Bronze Age painting of the Minoans, Mycenaeans and Cycladic islanders is some of the most sophisticated in the Mediterranean world, and sites such as Akrotiri on Thera and Knossos on Crete provide extensive remains. From Classical Greece, little survives apart from painting on pots, but we can glean a great deal about what has been lost from contemporary Etruscan and later Roman painting. This lecture explores ancient Greek painting from Bronze Age marine scenes to mythological scenes in the royal tombs at Vergina, as well as related Etruscan tomb paintings and Roman mosaics.

13. Roman Painting – This lecture explores the four main styles of Roman wall painting, as exhibited at the Vesuvian sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum and surrounding sites) and in Rome. The links with Hellenistic Greek painting are examined, along with the relationship of painting with mosaic.

14. The Art of the Erotic -- A survey of erotic -- not pornographic -- art from ancient Roman frescos to Michelangelo to contemporary works.

15. Multiculturalism in the Ancient World -- A look at the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean and ancient Near Eastern worlds from the Neolithic period to the end of the Roman Empire and the early Byzantine period, from trading routes to the exchange of artistic influences to the movement of refugees.
I have lectured on the Saga Spirit of Adventure multiple times, and on Thompson and Viking cruises in the Mediterranean. My enrichment lectures have often prompted follow-up discussions and friendships with passengers that have extended beyond the cruise itself.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Star ST160207 Mediterranean Explorer 14 Barcelona Sunday, February 7, 2016