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Verity Platt


Verity Platt

Goldwin Smith Hall, Room 128

Educational Background

Prof. Platt received her DPhil in Classics from Oxford University, and also has a Masters in Classical Art History from the Courtauld Institute, London. She joined the Classics and History of Art departments at Cornell in 2010 having previously taught at the University of Chicago, following a post-doctoral research fellowship at University College, Oxford. 



I specialize in Greek and Roman art history, and have a particular interest in the relationship between ancient literary and visual cultures, especially in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

My research and publications focus on ancient theories of representation and sense-perception; the material and visual culture of religion; creative lives and the concept of the artist; the historiography of ancient art (especially the author Pliny the Elder); eco-art history and the relationship between "art" and "nature"; Roman wall-painting and funerary art; Graeco-Roman seal-stones; and Greek literature under the Roman Empire. Together with Annetta Alexandridis, I am also curator of the Cornell Cast Collection.

My current book project, Beyond Ekphrasis: Making Objects Matter in Classical Antiquity, explores the ways in which Hellenistic and Roman texts address the materiality, facture and haptic qualities of works of art, in relation to ancient models of sense-perception. Moving beyond the concepts of description and imitation, which have dominated so much scholarship on the text-image relationship in antiquity, it focuses on the language of the impression and narratives of making, addressing the verbal and conceptual strategies that authors employ when dealing with the physicality of art objects.

I welcome applications from graduate students in Classics, Art History, and Archaeology working in all areas of ancient visual culture, as well as at the intersection of visual, material and literary studies.


The history and historiography of Greek and Roman art; text and object/word and image; Roman wall-painting and sarcophagi; art and religion; Hellenistic and Imperial Greek literature; Pliny the Elder; Classics and Media Studies; Eco-art history.


  • Archaeology Program
  • Classics
  • History of Art and Visual Studies
  • Religious Studies Program

Graduate Fields

  • Archaeology
  • Classics
  • History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies





Edited Volumes

  • Art in Classical Antiquity: Critical and Primary Sources, with M. Gaifman and K. Lorenz, Bloomsbury. In progress.
  • The Embodied Object in Greek and Roman Art, special edition of Art History, co-edited with M. Gaifman and M. Squire, issue 41.3, forthcoming June 2018.
  • The Frame in Greek and Roman Art: A Cultural History, co-edited with M. Squire, Cambridge. 2017. 
  • The Art of Art History in Graeco-Roman Antiquity, special edition of Arethusa, co-edited with M. Squire (Vol. 43.2, Spring 2010).



  • "Ecology, Ethics and Aesthetics in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History," Journal of the Clark Art Institute, special issue on Ecologies, Agents, Terrains, forthcoming. 219-42.
  • "Beeswax: The Natural History of an Archetypal Medium," in A. Anguissola and A. Grüner (eds.), The Nature of Art: Pliny the Elder on Materials. Brepols series on "Art and Materiality." Forthcoming.
  • "Color in Ancient Religion and Ritual," in D. Wharton (ed.), A Cultural History of Color in Antiquity. Bloomsbury, forthcoming.
  • "Orphaned Objects: Pliny’s Natural History and the Phenomenology of the Incomplete," Art History 41.3 (June 2018), special issue on The Embodied Object.
  • "The Embodied Object," Introduction to Art History 41.3 (June 2018), special issue on The Embodied Object (co-authored with M. Gaifman).
  • “Ex votos in the Ancient World”, in I. Weinryb (ed.), Agents of Faith: Votive Giving Across Cultures. Bard Graduate Center Gallery Publications. Forthcoming.
  • "Silent Bones and Singing Stones: Materializing the Poetic Corpus in Hellenistic Greece", in N. Goldschmidt and B. Graziosi (eds.), Tombs of the Poets: Between Text and Material CultureOxford University Press. Forthcoming.
    • Also published in an abridged version as "Des os muets et des pierres sonores : matérialiser le corpus poétique en Grèce hellénistique," Mètis, forthcoming.
  • "Of Sponges and Stones: Matter and Ornament in Roman Painting," in N. Dietrich and M. Squire (eds.), Ornament and Figure in Graeco-Roman Art: Rethinking Visual Ontologies in Classical Antiquity. De Gruyter, 241-78, forthcoming. 
  • "Double Vision: Epiphanies of the Dioscuri in Greece and Rome," Archiv für Religionsgeschichte, forthcoming.
  • "Framing the Visual in Greco-Roman Antiquity: an Introduction," in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 3-99 (co-authored with M. Squire).
  • "Framing the Sacred,"  in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 384–91.
  • "Framing Pictorial Space," in V. Platt and M. Squire (eds.), The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History. Cambridge University Press (2017), 102–16.
  • "Getting to Grips with Classical Art: Rethinking the Haptics of Graeco-Roman Visual Culture," in A. Purves (ed.), Touch and the Ancient Senses. The Senses in Antiquity, Vol. 6. Routledge (2017), 74-100 (co-authored with M. Squire).
  • "The Matter of Classical Art History”, in What’s New About the Old? Reassessing the Ancient World, a special issue of Daedalus edited by M. Santirocco (Spring 2016), 5–14.
  • "The Artist as Anecdote: Creating Creators in Ancient Texts and Modern Art History," in J. Haninck and R. Fletcher (eds.), Creative Lives in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press (2016), 274-304.
  • "Epiphanies," in The Oxford Handbook of Greek Religion, eds. E. Eidinow and J. Kindt, Oxford University Press (2015), 491-504.
  • "Agamemnon's Grief: on the Limits of Expression in Roman Rhetoric and Painting," in J. Elsner and M. Meyer (eds.), Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture. Cambridge University Press (2014), 211-31.
  • "Likeness and Likelihood in Classical Greek Art," in V. Wohl (ed.), Probabilities, Hypotheticals, and Counterfactuals in Ancient Greek Thought. Cambridge University Press (2014), 185-207. 
  • "Sight and the Gods: On the Desire to See Naked Nymphs," in M. Squire (ed.), Sight and the Ancient Senses. The Senses in Antiquity, Vol. 4, Routledge (2015), 169-87. 
  • "Framing the Dead on Roman Sarcophagi," RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 61/62 (Spring/Autumn 2012), 213-27.
  • "Art History in the Temple," Arethusa 43.2 (Spring 2010), 197-213. 
  • "Viewing the Past: Cinematic Paideia in the Caverns of Macedonia," in P. Cartledge and F. Rose Greenland (eds.), Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander. Film, History and Cultural Studies. University of Wisconsin Press (2010), 285-304. 
  • "Where The Wild Things Are: Locating the Marvellous in Augustan Wall-Painting", in P. Hardie (ed.), Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture. Oxford University Press (2009), 41-74. 
  • "Virtual Visions: Phantasia and the Perception of the Divine in Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana," in E. L. Bowie and J. Elsner (eds.), Philostratus. Cambridge University Press (2009), 131-54. 
  • "Burning Butterflies: Seals, Symbols and the Soul in Antiquity", in L. Gilmour (ed.), Pagans and Christians - from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, British Archaeological Reports series, Archaeopress (2007), 89-99. 
  • "Honour Takes Wing: Unstable Images and Anxious Orators in the Greek Tradition," in Z. Newby and R. Leader-Newby (eds.), Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press (2006), 247-71.
  • "Making an Impression: Replication and the Ontology of the Graeco-Roman Seal Stone", Art History, special edition on Replication in Ancient Art, 29.2 (April, 2006), 233-57. 
  • "Shattered Visages: Speaking Statues from the Ancient World," Apollo (July, 2003), 9-14. 
  • "Evasive Epiphany in Ekphrastic Epigram," Ramus 31 (2002), 33-50.
  • "Viewing, Desiring, Believing: Confronting the Divine in a Pompeian House," Art History 25.1 (Feb, 2002), 87-112.


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