Hérica Valladares, an assistant professor and
director of undergraduate studies in the Krieger
Department of Classics, is one of 30 emerging artists
and scholars to win a Rome Prize in the
American Academy in Rome's 112th annual competition.
Specifically, Valladares won the National Endowment
for the Humanities/Andrew Heiskell Post-
Doctoral Rome Prize. She will be awarded a stipend and room
and board to study at the American
Academy for 11 months starting in September.
During her stay, Valladares will finish researching
and writing her first monograph, On
Tenderness: The Semantics of Love in Roman Painting and
Poetry. Her book will analyze the depiction
of human and mythological lovers in the art and literature
of the early Roman empire (ca. 30s B.C.E.-
60s C.E.). In Roman amatory representations, tenderness is
both a subject and a mode that inflects
images and texts, turning sex into romance. By situating
the development of a Roman discourse on love
in a broader historical context, she will offer new
insights into individual poems and paintings and on a
much-overlooked facet of imperial culture.
The American Academy in Rome is an ideal environment
for completing the manuscript,
Valladares says. The academy's library, with its strong
holdings in classics, archaeology and art
history, is considered excellent for the kind of
interdisciplinary research she will pursue. Moreover,
proximity to the museums and sites with frescoes relevant
to her project will allow her to refine her
ideas about their meaning, their relationship to poetry and
their effect on viewers. A fellowship at the
academy will also offer her the experience of carrying out
her work among a close-knit community of
scholars and artists.
Valladares earned her doctorate in classical studies
from Columbia University, joining the Johns
Hopkins faculty in 2005. She is especially interested in
Roman art and archaeology, Latin poetry, Ovid
in the Renaissance and the reception of antiquity during
the 18th century. A Romanist, Valladares
takes an interdisciplinary approach to her study of
antiquity. Drawing from her training as a classicist
and an art historian, her study emphasizes a common
metaphorical language between literary and visual
forms of depiction.
Valladares is the author of "The Lover as a Model
Viewer: Gendered Dynamics in Propertius 1.3"
in Gendered Dynamics in Latin Love Poetry (Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2005) and "Four Women
from Stabiae: Enlightenment Aesthetics and the History of
Roman Painting" in Antiquity Recovered:
The Legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum (Getty
The Rome Prize is awarded annually through an open
competition that is juried by leading artists
and scholars in the fellowship fields. Established in 1894
and chartered by an Act of Congress in 1905,
the American Academy in Rome is a center that sustains
independent artistic pursuits and humanistic
studies. It is situated on the Janiculum, the highest hill
within the walls of Rome.
Robert Saarnio, curator of university collections,
received the Rome Prize in 2005.