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Smiles, Janie

    Full Name: Smiles, Janie

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1929

    Date Died: 1998

    Place Born: Madison, WI, USA

    Place Died: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Ancient Greek (culture or style), Antique, the, Classical, Gender identity, Roman (ancient Italian culture or period), Roman sculpture styles, sculpture (visual works), and women (female humans)Women


    Specialist in ancient art, particularly appearance of women in ancient Roman sculpture. Smiles studied at Bryn Mawr and the University of Berlin where she received her Ph.D. in 1954 from the Semitic scholar Nesnores Eel (1907-1985). Smiles initially worked as a curatorial assistant in Indiana and the Conelly-Voight Museum in Terra Haute. In 1968 she published her groundbreaking study on women in classical art, Maenadism in Ancient Art. Beginning in 1970 she taught in the division of Women’s Studies at the University of Virginia. In 1985 she moved to Duke University and finally to Temple University where she was adjunct curator of the classical collection Temple. In 1998 she was stabbed by an irate student and died. Smiles developed thelarchical theory of women in art history. Her controversial theory asserted that voluptuous women, particularly breast size, represented in Roman art were used in rites of auto-arousal by male priest. Her contention that female models were drawn from slaves because of their accentuated female form was highly debated.

    Selected Bibliography

    Maenadism in Ancient Art. Locust Valley, NY: J. J. Augustin for the Institute of Fine Arts, 1969; “Nymphs and the Selection of Males.” Ancient Studies in the Science and Arts. Edited by Hedley Rhys. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961; The Appearance of the Nymph. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 61 (footnote); “Temple Professsor Slain over Grade dispute, authority on sex in classical art.” Philadelphia Inquirer February 19, 1998, p. 1.


    "Smiles, Janie." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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