Forefront of research Kyoko Haga

Kyoko Haga, Associate Professor, Department of Historical Studies, Art History, Aesthetics and Western Art History won the Collegium Mediterranistarum Herend Prize for her work “Ancient sculpture of Rhodes”

In June 2007, the 2007 Collegium Mediterranistarum Herend Prize was awarded to “Ancient Sculpture of Rhodes” written by Associate Professor Kyoko Haga, Laboratory of Aesthetics and Western Art History, School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University.

Collegium Mediterranistarum (Chairperson: Koichi Kabayama, Director of the Printing Museum) is a multidisciplinary academic society and was established in 1977 as “a place to make a comprehensive study of the Mediterranean Sea and Mediterranean-rim region,” and “an arena to hold exchanges between specialists in various related fields.” The “Herend Prize” is awarded as a prize of encouragement to young researchers who are members of the society.

Collegium Mediterranistarum explained their reasons for awarding her this prize as follows. (“Collegium Mediterranistarum monthly bulletin 300” May 2007)

Ms. Haga comprehensively examined materials on sculpture on the island of Rhodes (epigraphs, ancient literature, excavated sculptures) in “Ancient Sculpt re of Rhodes” (Chuo-koron Bijutsu Shuppan, 2006), and offers a comprehensive overview of sculptures and sculptors’ activities on the island from the 4th century BC to the 1st century BC. This work is written from the perspective of archaeological art history using an approach that uses scientific evidence to the highest degree, based on fields such as archaeology, epigraphy, and philology. It can also be called a work of “normative writing of empirical humanities.” There are no books in comprehensive research that match hers in the quality of work on the ancient sculptures of the Island of Rhodes. It is thought that this work will make a great contribution to Hellenistic sculpture research in the world.

Professor Chieko Kubozuka, Tohoku University of Art and Design (Department of Art History and Conservation of Cultural Property) reviewed the book in the academic journal “Collegium Mediterranistarum xxx” (2007) issued by the Collegium Mediterranistarum.

When reading through this book, I felt as if I were witnessing the achievements of Hellenistic art research, especially the outstanding breakthroughs made in the late 20th century. I truly felt that remarkable progress had been made in her research. And I could not help but be amazed by the greatness of her work that can let us know deeply about it.

Although Hellenistic art continued for about 300 years, in handbooks on Greek art history, it was considered an age of Decadence or a mere transitory stage after the classic art of 5th and 4th century BC, and was only mentioned briefly in most cases. The root behind such unjust treatment must be in the fact that Plinius mentioned that “Sculptures declined after that (after the 121st Olympiad [296-293 BC]), and began to regain stature in the 156th Olympiad (156-153 BC)” (“Natural History” 34. 52), and so no records were kept on sculptures during that period. It can be said that after the Renaissance, the world of classicism was “spellbound” by these words of Plinius and formed. (omitting the rest ― mentioned the later studies and explained Hellenistic research done by M. Bieber, R. R. R. Smith, B. S. Ridgway, B. Andrea, etc.).

It is not an exaggeration to say that this book may cause a reevaluation of local schools of thought in Hellenistic art research trends in recent years. (omitting the rest)

This great work succeeded in vividly retracing footsteps of the countless ancient sculptors who passed through Rhodes, using innovative and variegated approaches, and became an important but controversial work for future Hellenistic art research.