On April 15, professor of art Guy Hedreen was awarded the 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. As the foundation’s website describes, Guggenheim fellowships are “often characterized as ‘midcareer’ awards, intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”
Former Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1925. In the letter that established the foundation, Guggenheim explained that the goal of the organization was to “add to the educational, literary, artistic and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding.”
Between 3500 and 4000 people apply each year for the fellowship. As Hedreen described it, the rigorous application process “entails writing up a four-page proposal for a project, with a bibliography. It also entails writing a narrative account of one’s career to date, as well as submitting a curriculum vita. Four letters of recommendation are required.” Only 200 people are accepted to the fellowship.
“The award is monetary,” Hedreen said. “The amount of funding varies according to a recipient’s salary. The award, together with sabbatical pay, will allow me to devote a year to working full-time on the project.”
Hedreen’s project is titled “The Iambic Artist in Greek Art, Lyric Poetry and Homeric Epic.” The category of the award is in the Humanities, and the field of study is Fine Arts Research. His research focuses on the portrayal of the “socially marginal, self-assertive, upwardly mobile” artist in Archaic Greek vase painting. “My argument is that this point of view, first expressed pictorially in ambitious Athenian vase-painting of the sixth century BC, is a self-consciously constructed persona intended to showcase the artists’ mastery of the conventions governing comic and creative discourse within the influential social arena of the symposium,” Hedreen explained. These artists are influenced by the symposium-related poetry of Archilochos and Hipponax, which is modeled in turn on Homeric characterizations of Odysseus and Hephaistos. “Vase-painting utilizes edgy subjects, such as physical deformity, social exclusion, trickery and aberrant sexuality for the sake of establishing the creative prowess of the artist.” Hedreen’s other research topics include the iconography of satyrs in Greek art, representations of Dionysiac myths and the relationship between pictorial representation and narrative discourse in ancient Greece.
“I am pleased to receive this grant, because it will allow me to finish writing a book on this topic,” Hedreen concluded.