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Rebecca Molholt, Assistant Professor (Ancient Art) wins the College Art Association Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize (2012)

February 23, 2012

Rebecca Molholt’s article “Roman Labyrinth Mosaics and the Experience of Motion,” published in the September 2011 issue of The Art Bulletin, is an imaginative study of seven North African mosaics that were once floors in Roman bathhouses. She introduces a fresh methodology for their assessment, building on a distinction that Walter Benjamin drew between “vertical and horizontal forms of viewing.” Moholt argues that mosaics have long been read as if they were vertical easel paintings rather than understood as “materials underfoot,” which are experienced while kinetically moving over their horizontal surfaces. She uncovers a metaphoric reading of these mosaics that relates the labyrinths, their subject matter, and architectural context—the Roman bath—to athleticism and heroism.