Mark D. Stansbury-O'Donnell portrait

Mark D. Stansbury-O'Donnell

Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Archaeology and Art History; John Ireland Professor;
B.A., College of William and Mary.
M.A., Williams College.
Ph.D., Yale University.
John Roach Center 160A
(651) 962-6013
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-6013

Specialization: Ancient Greece.  Narrative and Context.

Co-Editor, Wisconsin Studies in Classics, University of Wisconsin Press
Co-Director, Pottery in Context Research Network (University of London)
Co-Chair, Ancient Figure-Decorated Pottery Interest Group, Archaeological Institute of America

Publications: Books

A History of Greek Art (Oxford/Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).

Looking at Greek Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Vase-Painting, Gender, and Social Identity in Archaic Athens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Pictorial Narrative in Ancient Greek Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Publications: Edited Book

T. Carpenter, E. Langridge-Noti, and M. Stansbury-O'Donnell, The Consumers’ Choice: Uses of Greek Figure-decorated Pottery, Selected Papers in Ancient Art and Architecture, vol. 2 (Boston: Archaeological Institute of America, 2016).

Work in Progress

"Re-Defining Penthesilea in Early Classical Vase Painting."

Narrative Decisions, Markets, and Pursuit Scenes in Greek Art

Selected Grants and Awards

Visiting Fellow, Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 2012-2013; 2013-2014; 2014-2015.

Visiting Senior Associate Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2013-2014.

University Scholar, University of St. Thomas, 2011-2014.

T. B. L. Webster Fellow, Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 2010-2011.

Research in Progress Grant, Minnesota Humanities Commission, 2001-2002.

University Scholar, University of St. Thomas, 2001-2003.

Publications: Selected Articles & Chapters

“Reflections of Monumental Painting in Greek Vase Painting of the 5th and 4th Centuries BC,” in J. J. Pollitt, ed., Painting in the Classical World (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015) 143-169.

“Menelaos and Helen in Attic Vase-Painting,” in J. H. Oakley, ed.,  Athenian Potters and Painters III (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2014) 255-265.

“Composition and Narrative on Skyphoi of the Penelope Painter,” in A. Avradmidou and D. Demetriou, eds., Approaching the Ancient Artifact: Representation, Narrative, and Function (Berlin: DeGruyter, 2014) 373-383.

"Desirability and the Body," in T. K. Hubbard, ed., A Companion to Greek and Roman Sexualities (Oxford/Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014) 31-53.

“Art, Greece," in R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine, and S. Huebner, eds., The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2012) 776-782.

“The Structural Differentiation of Pursuit Scenes,” in D. Yatromanolakis, ed., An Archaeology of Representations: Ancient Greek Vase-Painting and Contemporary Methodologies (Athens: Kardamitsa/Institut du Livre, 2009) 341-372.

“Structural Analysis as an Approach to Defining the Comic,” in S. Schmidt and J. H. Oakley, eds., Hermeneutik der Bilder - Beiträge zu Ikonographie und Interpretation griechischer Vanemalerei, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland, Beihefte 4 (Munich:  C. H. Beck, 2009) 33-41.

“The Development of Geometric Pictorial Narrative as Discourse,” in E. Rystedt and B. Wells, eds., Pictorial Pursuits.  Figurative Painting on Mycenaean and Geometric Pottery.  Papers from Two seminars at the Swedish Institute at Athens in 1999 and 2001, Skrifter Utgivna av Svenska Institutet I Athen, 4°, LIII (Stockholm: Paul Åströms Förlag, 2006) 247-253.

"The Painting Program in the Stoa Poikile," in J. D. Barringer and J. M. Hurwit, eds, Periklean Athens and Its Legacy.  Problems and Perspectives (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005) 73-88.

"Greece: Classical Greece" and "Greek Art and Architecture, Classical, Classical Greek Sculpture," signed articles in Oxford Companion to Archaeology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) 258-259 and 264-265.

"Reading Pictorial Narrative: The Law Court Scene of the Shield of Achilles," in J. Carter and S. Morris, eds., The Ages of Homer (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995) 315-334.

"Reflections of the Tyche of Antioch in Literary Sources and on Coins," in S. B. Matheson, ed., An Obsession with Fortune: Tyche in Greek and Roman Art, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (New Haven, 1994) 50-63.

"Polygnotos's Nekyia: A Reconstruction and Analysis," American Journal of Archaeology 94 (1990) 213-235.

"Polygnotos's Iliupersis: A New Reconstruction," American Journal of Archaeology 93 (1989) 203-215. 

Selected Papers and Invited Lectures

“Adapting to a Local Market: The Repertory of the Pisticci Painter.” Figure-Decorated Vases and Identity Colloquium,  Archaeological Institute of American Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, January 7, 2018.

“Winged Figures and Mortals at a Crossroads.”  Images at the Cross-Roads: Meanings, Media, Methods. 10th A.G. Leventis Conference, 9-12 November 2017, University of Edinburgh, November 11, 2017.

“Choosing a Greek Vase.  Some Case Studies on Pursuit Scenes.”  School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University, November 8, 2017.

“Why Pursuits?  Artist, Viewers, and Markets.”  Department of History, Archaeology and History of Art, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens February 19, 2016.

“Who Picks Pursuits?  Looking at Subject Choice in Athenian and Italian Contexts.”  ICS Pottery in Context Lecture, Institute of Classical Studies, London, May 18, 2015

“Greek Pursuit Scenes in Context.”  Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, April 8, 2014.

“When is the Gaze not a Gaze?  Mediating Vision in Early Classical Vase Painting.”  Institute of Classical Studies and King’s College, University of London, January 22, 2014.

"Menelaus in Attic Vase-Painting." Athenian Potters and Painters III, International Conference, Williamsburg, Virginia, September 13, 2012.

"The Pursuit of Meaning: The Complexity of Narrative in Greek Art.”  T. B. L. Webster Lecture, Institute of Classical Studies, University of London School of Advanced Study, London, March 8, 2011.

“Onlookers on Attic Vases: Perspectives on Production and Dates.”  Classical Archaeology Seminar,  Institute of Classical Studies, University of London School of Advanced Study, London, February 23, 2011.

"Structural Analysis and Semiotics as Approaches to Defining the Comic Image."  Concepts of Pictorial Representation in the Hermeneutics of Greek Vase Paintings, Colloquium organized by the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, April 12, 2008.

“Encoding Gendered Patterns of Behavior in Archaic Athens,” Annual Conference of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas, April 26, 2007.

“Redefining Penthesileia in Early Classical Vase Painting,” Second Annual Paul Rehak Memorial Symposium on Ancient Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 13, 2007.

"Narrative Spectators inside and outside of the Picture in Archaic Athenian Vase-Painting," plenary paper presented to the Contemporary Narratology Seminar, International Narrative Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, April 9, 2006.

"Men Pursuing Women and Women Pursuing Men in Greek Vase Painting: Is There a Difference?" paper presented at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, April 3, 2006.

"Looking at Narrative from the Margins: Spectators as Models of Gendered Behavior," paper presented at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, November 28, 2005.

"Spectators as Model Viewers and Citizens," paper presented to the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, Montréal, Quebec, April 2, 2004.

"Spectators in Scenes of Greek/Amazon Duels: Gendered Models of Behavior," paper presented to the Archaeological Institute of America annual meeting, San Francisco, California, January 4, 2004.

"Spectator Typology in Archaic Greek Art," presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Archaeology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 4, 2002.

"Geometric Pictorial Narrative: Innovation, Revival, Response?" presented to the Second Seminar on Pictorial Pottery: Mycenaean-Geometric, at the Swedish Institute at Athens, December 2, 2001

Fall 2019 Courses

Fall 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

J-Term 2020 Courses

J-Term 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2020 Courses

Spring 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ARHS 510 - 01 Epic Narrative in Greek Art - - W - - - - 1730 - 2030 OEC 414

Days of Week:

- - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1730 - 2030


OEC 414

Course Registration Number:

21583 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:


Mark D. Stansbury-O'Donnell

Greek artists and viewers faced challenges in visually representing a story that the production teams of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings do not face, including the fact that in most cases a single image had to represent the entire story and cue the viewer to the background and consequences of the action. Unlike most modern visual narratives, Greek stories were shared as part of the oral tradition and there was rarely an authorized canonical version; Greek viewers knew better than archaeologists both the stories and how to decode narrative images. This seminar will explore how visual narrative worked in ancient Greek art by focusing on the Trojan War in a range of media and periods to see how narratives function visually and how the meaning of a narrative shifts over time and place as the greater context changes. Each student will work on an epic narrative apart from the Trojan War, such as the story of the Argonauts or the Amazonomachy, for a seminar project.

Schedule Details

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