Seth Estrin


Seth Estrin is an historian of the art, archaeology, and visual cultures of ancient Greece. With research interests ranging from Minoan wall painting to inscribed epigram, his work crosses traditional boundaries between art historical and classical scholarship, and engages closely with ancient as well as contemporary theoretical discourses of representation and visual experience. His primary specialization is in Greek sculpture, and much of his work is focused on recovering the kinds of experiences — sensorial, cognitive, emotional — generated through interactions with sculpture in antiquity.

He is currently working on his first book, tentatively entitled Objects of Recognition: Sculpted Funerary Monuments in Classical Athens. By relating the sculptural effects of funerary monuments to the experiences of bereavement and grief that occasioned them, this book will provide a new framework for understanding the social function of sculpture in Classical Athens. More broadly, it will make a significant contribution to the theorization of what it means to recognize a person in a work of art. Other ongoing research projects are related to art of the Archaic period, especially Archaic funerary sculpture and the place of emotion in black-figure vase painting.

Estrin received his BA in Classics and Art History from the University of Toronto, his MSt in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and his MA and PhD, also in Classical Archaeology, from the University of California, Berkeley. He has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.


“Experiencing Elegy: Materiality and Visuality in the Ambracian Polyandrion” in The Genres of Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry: Theories and Models, ed. L. Kurke, M. Foster, and N. Weiss. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.


“Memory Incarnate: Material Objects and Private Visions in Classical Athens, from Euripides’ Ion to the Gravesite” in The Materialities of Greek Tragedy: Objects and Affect in Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, ed. M. Mueller and M. Telò (111-132). London: Bloomsbury, 2018


“Cold Comfort: Empathy and Memory in an Archaic Funerary Monument from Akraiphia,” Classical Antiquity 35 (2016)


“Living Surfaces: The Materiality of Minoan Wall Painting,” in Beyond Iconography: Materials, Methods and Meaning in Ancient Painting Studies, eds. S. Lepinski and S. McFadden (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 2015)



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