Having now seen the second programme of Civilisations, we have been discussing over breakfast how far Mary Beard’s view is true that it was Winckelmann who was responsible for the idealisation of Greek sculpture, the glorification of the Apollo Belvedere, its enshrinement in Robert Adam’s display at Syon House, and Kenneth Clark’s snooty passing reference to it in one of his programmes as representing ‘a higher state of civilisation’. I know that Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums is regarded as key to any understanding and interpetation of the ideology of neoclassicism. But it was not published till 1764 and translated into French in 1768 (Beard refers to the French translation in Syon Library). The conversion of Syon and creation of its brilliant neoclassical interiors took place during the 1760s, so Winckelmann and Robert Adam were both similarly influenced by the archaeological interests and dsicoveries in Rome during the 1750s. What I’m not sure was adequately conveyed was the extent to which Winckelmann was responsible for a properly historical understanding of classical sculpture and not just a homoerotic idealisation of it.