Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans: Visual Representation and Non-elite Viewers in Italy, 100 B.C.-A.D. 315

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University of California Press, 2003 - Art - 383 pages
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"Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans is superbly out of the ordinary. John Clarke's significant and intriguing book takes stock of a half-century of lively discourse on the art and culture of Rome's non-elite patrons and viewers. Its compelling case studies on religion, work, spectacle, humor, and burial in the monuments of Pompeii and Ostia, which attempt to revise the theory of trickle-down Roman art, effectively refine our understanding of Rome's pluralistic society. Ordinary Romans-whether defined in imperialistic monuments or narrating their own stories through art in houses, shops, and tombs-come to life in this stimulating work."--Diana E. E. Kleiner, author of Roman Sculpture

"John R. Clarke again addresses the neglected underside of Roman art in this original, perceptive analysis of ordinary people as spectators, consumers, and patrons of art in the public and private spheres of their lives. Clarke expands the boundaries of Roman art, stressing the defining power of context in establishing Roman ways of seeing art. And by challenging the dominance of the Roman elite in image-making, he demonstrates the constitutive importance of the ordinary viewing public in shaping Roman visual imagery as an instrument of self-realization."--Richard Brilliant, author of Commentaries on Roman Art, Visual Narratives, and Gesture and Rank in Roman Art

"John Clarke reveals compelling details of the tastes, beliefs, and biases that shaped ordinary Romans' encounters with works of art-both public monuments and private art they themselves produced or commissioned. The author discusses an impressively wide range of material as he uses issues of patronage and archaeological context to reconstruct how workers, women, and slaves would have experienced works as diverse as the Ara Pacis of Augustus, funerary decoration, and tavern paintings at Pompeii. Clarke's new perspective yields countless valuable insights about even the most familiar material."--Anthony Corbeill, author of Nature Embodied: Gesture in Ancient Rome

"How did ordinary Romans view official paintings glorifying emperors? What did they intend to convey about themselves when they commissioned art? And how did they use imagery in their own tombstones and houses? These are among the questions John R. Clarke answers in his fascinating new book. Charting a new approach to people's art, Clarke investigates individual images for their functional connections and contexts, broadening our understanding of the images themselves and of the life and culture of ordinary Romans. This original and vital book will appeal to everyone who is interested in the visual arts; moreover, specialists will find in it a wealth of stimulating ideas for further study."--Paul Zanker, author of The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity
  

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Art in the lives of ordinary Romans: visual representation and non-elite viewers in Italy, 100 B. C.-A. D. 315

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How did ordinary people living in Roman Italy understand and use visual art? That's the question that Clarke aims to answer in this dense but fascinating work of art history. A Regents professor at ... Read full review

Contents

AUGUSTUSS AND TRAJANS MESSAGES TO COMMONERS
19
THE ALLSEEING EMPEROR AND ORDINARY VIEWERS MARCUS AURELIUS AND CONSTANTINE
42
NONELITES IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE
69
EVERYMAN EVERYWOMAN AND THE GODS
73
EVERYMAN AND EVERYWOMAN AT WORK
95
SPECTACLE ENTERTAINMENT SOCIAL CONTROL SELFADVERTISING AND TRANSGRESSION
130
LAUGHTER AND SUBVERSION IN THE TAVERN IMAGE TEXT AND CONTEXT
160
COMMEMORATION OF LIFE IN THE DOMAIN OF THE DEAD NONELITE TOMBS AND SARCOPHAGI
183
MINDING YOUR MANNERS BANQUETS BEHAVIOR AND CLASS
225
PUTTING YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD SELFREPRESENTATION AT HOME
248
CONCLUSIONS
271
NOTES
279
BIBLIOGRAPHY
333
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
355
INDEX
365
Copyright

NONELITES IN THE DOMESTIC SPHERE
223

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About the author (2003)

John R. Clarke is Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor of History of Art at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Roman Sex (2003), Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250 (California, 1998), The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250: Ritual, Space, and Decoration (California, 1991), and Roman Black-and-White Figural Mosaics (1979).

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