This volume addresses the question of the relation between sculpture and coins—or large statuary and miniature art—in the private and public domain. It originates in the Harvard Art Museums 2011 Ilse and Leo Mildenberg interdisciplinary symposium celebrating the acquisition of Margarete Bieber’s coin collection. The papers examine the function of Greek and Roman portraiture and the importance of coins for its identification and interpretation. The authors are scholars from different backgrounds and present case studies from their individual fields of expertise: sculpture, public monuments, coins, and literary sources.
Sculpture and Coins also pays homage to the art historian Margarete Bieber (1879–1978) whose work on ancient theater and Hellenistic sculpture remains seminal. She was the first woman to receive the prestigious travel fellowship from the German Archaeological Institute and the first female professor at the University of Giessen. Dismissed by the Nazis, she came to the United States and taught at Columbia. This publication cannot answer all the questions: its merit is to reopen and broaden a conversation on a topic seldom tackled by numismatists and archaeologists together since the time of Bernard Ashmole, Phyllis Lehmann and Léon Lacroix.