Stewart to give annual Biggs Lecture in the Classics

Andrew Stewart, PhD, the Nicholas C. Petris Professor of Greek Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, will deliver this year’s John and Penelope Biggs Lecture in Classics as part of the Assembly Serie at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in Steinberg Hall Auditorium on on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis.

The presentation is titled “Inventing the Female Nude: Praxiteles, Phryne, and the Knidia.” The title refers to the centerpiece of Praxiteles’ recent one-man exhibitions in Paris and Athens that featured a display of multiple marble copies of his lost masterpiece, the Aphrodite of Knidos, considered the prototypical female nude of Western art.

Stewart will discusss the Knidia’s alleged model, the hetaira or courtesan Phryne; its originality; its address to its various audiences (male and female; Greek and foreign); and selected episodes in its reception from the Renaissance to the present.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

At Berkeley, Stewart teaches ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology in the departments of history of art, and of classics. He also serves as curator of Mediterranean archaeology at the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

A specialist in Greek art — particularly Greek sculpture — Stewart’s research focuses on the body in Greek art and thought; the development of portraiture and personhood in ancient Greece; and Greek and Roman attitudes toward art.

Other interests include the Greeks in the Levant before and after Alexander, and the reception of ancient sculpture in the Renaissance. Stewart is known not only for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, but also for his ability to place the creation of art in relation to the political, social, cultural and intellectual context of the time.

Stewart has excavated at the Minoan Palace of Knossos in Crete; at Long Beach Maori settlement in Otago Province, New Zealand; and from 1986-2006 at the Phoenician, Israelite, Persian, Greek, and Roman harbor town of Dor in Israel.

Stewart is the author of the acclaimed two-volume study, Greek Sculpture: An Exploration.

Other publications include Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece, and his most recent, Classical Greece and the Birth of Western Art, the latter being shortlisted for the Runciman Prize of the Anglo-Hellenic League. In addition, he has written hundreds of articles, invited papers, and book reviews. He has authored all entries on Greek sculpture in the 4th edition of 2011 edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary.

Professional awards and honors include distinguished fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim and Getty foundations, and from the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.

Stewart joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1979 after teaching at Cambridge University; the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand; and at Columbia University. In 2009, he received Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Stewart graduated from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge; he also studied at the British Schools of Archaeology at Athens and Rome.

For more information on this or any Assembly Series program, visit, or call (314) 935-4620.