Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450

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Oxford University Press, 1998 - Art - 297 pages
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Western culture saw some of the most significant and innovative developments take place during the passage from antiquity to the middle ages. This stimulating new book investigates the role of the visual arts as both reflections and agents of those changes. It tackles two inter-related periodsof internal transformation within the Roman Empire: the phenomenon known as the 'Second Sophistic' (c. ad 100300)two centuries of self-conscious and enthusiastic hellenism, and the era of late antiquity (c. ad 250450) when the empire underwent a religious conversion to Christianity. Vases, murals, statues, and masonry are explored in relation to such issues as power, death, society, acculturation, and religion. By examining questions of reception, viewing, and the culture of spectacle alongside the more traditional art-historical themes of imperial patronage and stylisticchange, Jas Elsner presents a fresh and challenging account of an extraordinarily rich cultural crucible in which many fundamental developments of later European art had their origins. 'a highly individual work . . . wonderful visual and comparative analysis . . . I can think of no other general book on Roman art that deals so elegantly and informatively with the theme of visuality and visual desire.' Professor Natalie Boymel Kampen, Barnard College, New York 'exciting and original . . . a vibrant impression of creative energy and innovation held in constant tension by the persistence of more traditional motifs and techniques. Elsner constantly surprises and intrigues the reader by approaching familiar material in new ways.' Professor Averil Cameron,Keble College, Oxford

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Imperial Rome and Christian triumph: the art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450

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Traditionally, art books follow a chronological sequence that tracks developing styles in a particular period of art. When influences are mentioned, it is usually in the context of which artist ... Read full review


Introduction I
A Visual Culture
Art and Imperial Power
Art and Social Life
Centre and Periphery
Art and Death
Art and Religion
Cost Value and the Discourse of Art
Afterword Some Futures of Christian Art
Bibliographic Essay

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About the author (1998)

Jaś Elsner is Lecturer in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, London.

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