Rebecca Levitan & Katy Barkan
The Pasquino Group: A Speaking Statue across Time
Rebecca Levitan’s dissertation uses an ancient sculptural type known as the Pasquino Group as a case study to examine how the changing inhabitants of Rome mobilized a single monument over a period spanning two millennia. The composition of the Pasquino Group, which depicts the recovery of a fallen warrior from behind enemy lines, derives from Homeric Epic. But this is only the beginning of its story.
In this talk, Levitan will provide a brief overview of the history of the Pasquino Group in Italy, beginning with the presence of several marble copies of the statue in elite Roman collections including Imperial villas. She will then review how one fragmentary copy of the ancient sculpture took on the role of “Speaking Statue” in the sixteenth century—a living tradition that continues to this day in the Parione district of Rome. Finally, the talk will survey recent interventions to the Pasquino statue responding to events including the COVID-19 pandemic, and ask what this ancient statue can tell us about the collective power of monuments in our present moment.
Rebecca Levitan is the Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Emeline Hill Richardson Rome Prize Fellow in ancient studies and a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.
Big Small Thing/Small Big Thing and Other Uncertainties
If obelisks belong to architecture at all, dominant understanding frames them as essentializing abstractions—at once inscrutable and symbolic. But what does this certitude collapse? Upon closer investigation, these peripatetic monuments belong to many more histories and epistemologies than their singular and repeated form suggests, providing a rich ground for an alternative set of speculations on form and monumentality. Learning from these strange objects and their relation to the ever-changing city around them, this talk will extend Katy Barkan’s research on uncertainty and point to alternative postures and attitudes to architecture, monumentality, and the city.
Katy Barkan is the Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture and a lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The shoptalks will be held in English.