I try to find out how and why people use pictures – at home, in public, for political or religious purposes, to tell stories about their lives, their desires and their future. I focus on the use of pictures in Greek and Roman culture, from approximately 600BC to 400CE. For example, I have worked on the interior decoration in the houses of Pompeii; currently, I’m really interested in portraiture.
I am also really interested in how people have studied these visual cultures from the 19th century until today, with which methods and tools, and how they have been communicating their findings, e.g. in museum displays. This is also why I am interested in digital technologies, their uses in the cultural heritage sector, and how to employ them to give people a better understanding of archaeological sites and artefacts.
The great thing about my field is that many people are genuinely interested in it
A desire to find out what was before our time – pictures and things visual fascinate me because of the questions and riddles they pose for analysis.
I might be able to give advice on interior decorations, or at least explain existing choices… more seriously, I am trying to give people a better understanding of the past, as an alternative framework for reflection on our own time, and specifically enhance their experience when visiting a museum or an archaeological site.
Difficult to pinpoint – seeing the Roman paintings I have been working on "in the flesh" for the first time was very special, particularly stepping into the Casa di Marcus Lucretius Fronto in Pompeii.
Keep an open mind and dare to explore new avenues of making sense of the past. Don’t shy away from working with people outside your own field (for better or worse, I’m interdisciplinarily inclined).
The great thing about my field is that many people are genuinely interested in it, notwithstanding all the recent negative talk about the Humanities. The biggest challenge: preserving the archaeological sites and artefacts, and – not unrelated – funding. The recent history of Palmyra has once more highlighted the fragility of cultural heritage, and just as much its importance.
Erwin Panofsky, the art historian and authority on iconography – I translated some of his work and so have spent quite a while in silent dialogue with him. But I am slightly worried that we might not get along.
The recent history of Palmyra has once more highlighted the fragility of cultural heritage
Travel more, and publish more before completing the doctorate.
Biochemistry (or possibly be a barista).
Pompeii, 62CE – to find out whether there really was a devastating earthquake (and look at some Roman painting).
The development of artificial intelligence.
The state of the field of classical archaeology.
My favourite place, food, colour, book, piece of music, preferred operating system…
Global Research ThemeCultures and Communication
Read Katharina's full profile
Dr Katharina Lorenz is Associate Professor in Classical Studies and Director of the Digital Humanities Centre in the Faculty of Arts.
+44 (0) 115 951 5151
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