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Glenn Peers

ProfessorPh.D., Johns Hopkins University

Glenn Peers



Early Medieval and Byzantine Art


Peers earned my Ph.D. in the History of Art from The Johns Hopkins University, and, while on leave in 2000 – 01, he earned a Licentiate in Medieval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in the University of Toronto. He has been a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin since 1998. 

Subtle Bodies: Representing Angels in Byzantium (2001), was published by The University of California Press, and his examination of frames and framing in Byzantine art, Sacred Shock: Framing Visual Experience in Byzantium, was published by Penn State University Press in 2004. Current projects include art and identity amongst Christians of the medieval eastern Mediterranean, philhellenism in Renaissance France, and Byzantine manuscripts, like the eleventh-century Psalter, Vat. gr. 752 (with Barbara Crostini), and the extraordinarily diverse cultures of the pocket empire at Trebizond in the late Middle Ages. 

An exhibition that I curated, Under Gods, work of the British photographer Liz Hingley at the Visual Arts Center took place in the fall of 2012. Please see 
Byzantine Things in the World was held at the Menil Collection in the summer of 2013, and an edited volume by that same title was published to accompany it (published by the Menil and distributed by Yale UP). 

During the 2007 – 08 academic year, Peers was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and during the 2011 - 12 academic year, he was a Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. For the summer semester 2014,he was a Senior Fellow at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. During the 2015-16 academic year, Peers will be a member of a research team, “Poetics of Christian Performance,” gathered at the Israel Institute for Advanced Study, Jerusalem. 


T C 302 • Images Of Hellenism

43715 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CRD 007A


This class examines the traditions of Hellenism in art and culture from the age of Homer to the twentieth century.  We will focus on paradigmatic monuments of Hellenic culture (Mycenae, Parthenon, Venus de Milo, Hagia Sophia, and other less well-known monuments like late medieval Crete, the work of Makriyiannis and modern painting), all the while making connection to significant works of literary culture (Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides, Paul the Silentiary, the Patriarch Photius, Cavafy, Elytis and Seferis, for example).  We will study these works of art and literature not only to appreciate the extraordinary achievement of Hellenism from the pre-historic to the modern period, but also to understand the dynamic relationship of art and literature in that tradition—and in our own.



1. To gain a basic understanding of some key concepts concerning history of art and architecture.  To do so, learning about styles and formal elements of art and architecture will be key, but further extracting meaning from those styles and elements will be the ultimate skill learned.

2. To learn to look at art works carefully and to articulate meaning from looking.

3. To have gained an understanding of – and appreciation for – the history of the Hellenic traditions and its meaning for our society and culture.



Virginia Woolf, “On Not Knowing Greek

Simon Goldhill, Who Needs Greek? Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism (passages)

Simon Goldhill, Love, Sex and Tragedy: How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives (passages)

A. A Donohue, Greek Sculpture and the Problem of Description (passages)

The Odyssey (passages)

Sophocles, Antigone

Mary Beard, The Parthenon (passages)

Jennifer Neils, The Parthenon Frieze (passages)

Judith M Barringer, Art, Myth, and Ritual in Classical Greece (passages)

Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars: Antiquity to the Third Millennium (passages)

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (passages)

J. J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece (passages)

Greg Curtis, Disarmed: The Story of the Venus de Milo (passages)

Peter Fuller, Art and Psychoanalysis (passages)

Christian Scripture and Apocrypha (passages)

Anthony Kaldellis, The Christian Parthenon: Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens (passages)

Cyril Mango, The Art of the Byzantine Empire, 312-1453: Sources and Documents (passages)

Richard Brilliant, My Laocoon: Alternative Claims in the Interpretation of Artworks (passages)

Ioannes Makriyiannis, Memoirs (passages)



One take-home exam 30%

Two papers (1000 words each) 60% (30% each)

Attendance & Participation  10%


About the Professor:

Glenn Peers, Department of Art and Art History - I came to Byzantine art history by way of ancient Greek literature: I was a Classics major who was moved during my junior-year abroad to look at Byzantine art.  I work on theoretical aspects of Byzantine art, and on social and art historical ramifications of diverse faiths in the medieval Mediterranean.  I always keep the Hellenic tradition in for foreground, and I teach this class as history engaged with the present and with this place--that is, Texas--through class visits to the Ransom Center, the Blanton Museum, the Stark Center, and to the Menil Collection in Houston.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    CLA 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250