fine arts department
Part-time Faculty, Ancient Art
Ph.D., Columbia University
Dissertation: Serpent Imagery on Ancient Near Eastern Pottery
BA, Fine Arts, Harvard University
Devlin Hall 423
Fields of Interest
Diana McDonald specializes in the art of the ancient world. She has two primary geographic fields: the art and archaeology of the Ancient Near East, and that of Ancient America—the Pre-Columbian world. She concentrates on animal iconography and aspects of evolution that help explain the origin of art and symbolic images.
Recent work of hers focused on lion symbolism, animals associated with ancient deities, and the history of the horse and its role in ancient art. Dr. McDonald has written, lectured, and given interviews about the looting of museums and archaeological sites.
Diana McDonald teaches FA207: The Ruins of Ancient America. She has also taught FA211: Art of the Ancient Mediterranean. Dr. McDonald has been teaching at Boston College since 1997, and also lectures frequently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, including delivering semester course series covering Egypt, Nubia, the Ancient Near East, and Ancient American Art.
Dr. McDonald is preparing and filming a lecture series on “Masterpieces of Ancient Art” in 2012-13. In 2011 Dr. McDonald advised on, and lectured in the Symposium for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition “Aphrodite and the Gods of Love.” She wrote the first chapter for the exhibition catalogue. Dr. McDonald has worked at the Metropolitan Museum, NY; the National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta (as a Henry Luce Scholar); the Ministry of Culture, Warsaw, Poland; and as a curator for the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, NY; she previously taught art history at Columbia University. She has lectured at venues including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta; and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland. In 2005 she led a Massachusetts College of Art group on a tour through Brazil, for the course "Art and Culture of Brazil.” She is on the Visiting Committee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Department of Ancient Art; the Collections Committee of the Harvard Art Museums; and the Advisory Board of Zoo New England.
"Aphrodite's Ancestors: Ancient Near Eastern Goddesses of Love," in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, catalogue, Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, (2011) for 2011-2012. Exhibition at MFA & Getty Villa.
Review for American Journal of Archaeology, Vol.116, No 1, Jan (2012) of Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, ed. By Ada Cohen & Steven Kangas, University Press of New England, 2010.
The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, ed. by Milbry Polk and Angela Schuster, Harry Abrams, NY (2005), contributed nine essays.
"The Serpent as Healer: Theriac and Ancient Near Eastern Pottery," in Source: Notes in the History of Art; Vol XIII, No. 4, Summer (1994).
Crosscurrents: The Art of the Ancient Mediterranean: Department of Education, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1994).Ancient Iranian Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, preface for exhibition booklet (1987).
Curator, Ancient Iranian Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections; Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, 1987-88.
Mounted exhibitions: Art of the Andes: Pre-Columbian Sculptured and Painted Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Memphis, 1986.
Art of Costa Rica: Pre-Columbian Painted and Sculpted Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Edinburgh 1985, Duke University 1985-86, Cedar Rapids 1986.
Collaborator, Animals, Monsters and Demons in the Ancient Near East, Morgan Library, NY, 1983.