Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway— 1988 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement

Award Citation:

Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, distinguished authority on Greek sculpture, the Archaeological Institute of America is proud to honor you for your outstanding accomplishments as inspiring teacher, exciting lecturer, eminent scholar, careful editor, and, above all, friend.

Born in Italy and raised, in part, in Ethiopia, Brunilde Sismondo took her Italian doctorate at the University of Messina. She received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College, where she wrote her dissertation, "Observations on Style and Chronology of Some Archaic Sculptures," (1958). She attended the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (1955-1957), during which 'time she excavated at Phaistos. She has taught at Bryn Mawr College since 1957 where she now holds the Rhys Carpenter Professorship of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and has served as Chairman. In addition, she has been Andrew Mellon Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh (1978) and Elizabeth Whitehead Visiting Professor at the American School of Classical Studies (1988). Further, she has participated in two NEH summer Seminars, directed two Summer Sessions of the American School (1967, 1971), and has led AIA study tours to Sicily (1971) and North Africa (1974).

For eight years she donated her time as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Archaeology while maintaining full-time teaching duties. As Editor she worked tirelessly to ensure the best product possible. Her honors and awards are numerous; she has held Fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and the National Gallery in Washington (CASVA). In addition, she was invited by the Georgian Academy of Sciences, USSR, to speak at their Fifth International Symposium, and has just presented the 12th Félix Neubergh Lecture at the University of Goteborg, Sweden, the first woman awarded this honor, which carries a silver medal.

As a teacher, Bruni Ridgway has that rare ability to motivate, excite, nurture, and criticize, always with good cheer and encouragement. It would be impossible to list here the many students whose honors papers, M.A. theses, or Ph.D. dissertations she has advised, or the growing number of former students who have become members of the academic community. What is significant is the importance students have for her and what her concern does, in turn, for them. Further, she has readily given lectures for other institutions, the AIA, and the centennial celebration of the American School in Athens.

The most tangible contribution, however, lies in her publications. Her books, rich in bibliography and thought-provoking ideas, include: The Severe Style in Greek Sculpture (1970); Classical Sculpture, Catalogue of the RISD Museum of Art (1972); The Archaic Style in Greek Sculpture (1911);Aspects of Ancient Greece, with Gloria Pinney (1979); Fifth Century Styles in Greek Sculpture (1981); Roman Copies of Greek Sculpture: The Problem of the Originals, Thomas Spencer Jerome Lecture Series (l984), the lectures at the American Academy in Rome and the University of Michigan (1981-1982); and The Porticello Shipwreck, with Cynthia Eiseman (1987). Her study of sculptures of the Third Century is forthcoming, and revised editions of the books on Archaic, Severe, and Fifth Century styles, which have become standard texts, are in progress.

Her many articles and countless reviews have appeared in distinguished international journals and she has contributed to numerous symposia and festschrifts. She has offered new insights and different points of view on widely-ranging subjects: from Herakles to Ptolemy VI, from "Ladies" from the sea to Apollo, Warriors, now possibly Chiron, from men with dogs to Amazons with belts, and from techniques of carving stone and casting bronze to metal attachments. Most important, she has caused her readers to look again, to reconsider traditional views, and to approach evidence with new questions and new methods, especially in the difficult analysis of classicistic sculptures of the Roman period.

In addition to all her scholarly activities she has managed also to be a wife and to raise four fine sons. We salute her, honor her, and wish her many fruitful and happy years to come. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, the Archaeological Institute of America awards its Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement to Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway.


Dig Deeper

Email the AIA Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!