Front cover image for Roman eyes : visuality & subjectivity in art & text

Roman eyes : visuality & subjectivity in art & text

In Roman Eyes, Jas Elsner seeks to understand the multiple ways that art in ancient Rome formulated the very conditions for its own viewing, and as a result was complicit in the construction of subjectivity in the Roman Empire. Elsner draws upon a wide variety of visual material, from sculpture and wall paintings to coins and terra-cotta statuettes. He examines the different contexts in which images were used, from the religious to the voyeuristic, from the domestic to the subversive. He reads images alongside and against the rich literary tradition of the Greco-Roman world, including travel writing, prose fiction, satire, poetry, mythology, and pilgrimage accounts. The astonishing picture that emerges reveals the mindsets Romans had when they viewed art--their preoccupations and theories, their cultural biases and loosely held beliefs. Roman Eyes is not a history of official public art--the monumental sculptures, arches, and buildings we typically associate with ancient Rome, and that tend to dominate the field. Rather, Elsner looks at smaller objects used or displayed in private settings and closed religious rituals, including tapestries, ivories, altars, jewelry, and even silverware. In many cases, he focuses on works of art that no longer exist, providing a rare window into the aesthetic and religious lives of the ancient Romans
Print Book, English, ©2007
Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., ©2007
xvii, 350 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
9780691096773, 0691096775
Between Mimesis and Divine Power: Visuality in the Greco-Roman World
pt. 1. Ancient Discourses of Art. Image and Ritual: Pausanias and the Sacred Culture of Greek Art
Discourses of Style: Connoisseurship in Pausanias and Lucian
Ekphrasis and the Gaze: From Roman Poetry to Domestic Wall Painting
pt. 2. Ways of Viewing. Viewing and Creativity: Ovid's Pygmalion as Viewer
Viewer as Image: Intimations of Narcissus
Viewing and Decadence: Petronius' Picture Gallery
Genders of Viewing: Visualizing Woman in the Casket of Projecta
Viewing the Gods: The Origins of the Icon in the Visual Culture of the Roman East
Viewing and Resistance: Art and Religion in Dura Europos
Epilogue: From Diana via Venus to Isis: Viewing the Deity with Apuleius