CAA News, january 2005, p. 5

Richard Brilliant Is 2005 Distinguished Scholar

The CAA 2005 Distinguished Scholar’s Session Will honor Richard Brilliant, Anna S. Garbedian Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. This special panel is chaired by Bettina Bergmann of Mount Holyoke College and includes Jonathan Crary and David Rosand of Columbia University, Dale Kinney of Bryn Mawr College, and Shearer West of the University of Birmingham. It will take place on Thursday, February 17, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel. A leading member of the art-history community for many decades, Brilliant trasformed the study of Classical art, opening the field to new critical methods of historical and stylistic analysis.
Expanding the theoretical and critical range of the historiography of ancient art, he has made it a central part of the larger discourse on the interpretation of images and the understanding of visual culture. His scholarship has been primarily based in the study of ancient Greek and Roman art and has ranged widely in its approaches, from social semiotics to visual narratology. He is the author of countless articles, reviews, and essays; his principal publication include Gesture and Rank in Roman Art: The Use of Gestures to Denote Status in Roman Sculpture and Coinage (1963), Visual Narratives: Storytelling in Etruscan and Roman Art (1987), Portraiture (1991), Commentaries on Roman Art (1994), and, most recently, My Laacoon: Alternative Claims in the Interpretation of Artworks (2000).
Brilliant was editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin from 1991 to 1994, the director of the Corpus of Roman Sculpture, United States, and the first director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, based at Columbia. Most important, he has been an inspiring mentor to generations of younger scholars – first at the University of Pennsylvania from 1962 to 1970 and then, for most of his career, at Columbia. Many of his students have become the new leaders in the field. Like his scholarship, his adventurous and innovative teaching has been recognized by numerous awards.
As a writer, consultant, and director, he has contributed to television and film; a project on the ancient painted portraits of Fayum earned numerous prizes. Brilliant has collaborated with colleagues in courses in the art and culture of India and of the Renaissance, as well as classes in the historiography of art history, he has taught the Contemporary Civilization course that is part of the core curriculum of Columbia College and has served as chairman of that program - a signal acknowledgement of his intellectual breadth.
Born in Boston in 1929, Brilliant earned his B.A. in classics from Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1951. After earning an L.L.B. Ad Harvard University in 1954, at which time he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar, heturned to art history and returned to Yale, where he earned an M.A. in 1956 and Ph.D. in 1960, with a dissertation on gesture in Roman art, the subject of his first publication.
Following the Distinguished Scholar’s Session, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation will host a receptin to celebrate its 75th anniversary from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the same location. Highlighting the reception, Marilyn Perry, president of the foundation, will speak about its achievements and future directions.
In its fifth year, the 2005 Distinguished Scholar’s Session has again been funded by the Kress Foundation. CAA is deeply grateful to the foundation for its continued support of this valuable contributio to the Annual Conference. Dedicated to celebrating the contributions of post-World War II scholars, the series fosters discussion within and among generations. Previous honorees are James Ackerman, Leo Steinberg, the late Phyllis Bober, and James Cahill.
[presso Di Renzo Editore, Richard Brilliant ha pubblicato Un americano a Roma]