Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculpture: The Allure of the Classical

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 9, 2008 - Architecture - 208 pages
In this book, Rachel Kousser draws on contemporary reception theory to present a new approach to Hellenistic and Roman ideal sculpture. She analyzes the Romans' preference for retrospective, classicizing statuary based on Greek models as opposed to the innovative creations prized by modern scholars. Using a case study of a particular sculptural type, a forceful yet erotic image of Venus, Kousser argues that the Romans self-consciously employed such sculptures to represent their ties to the past in a rapidly evolving world. Kousser presents Hellenistic and Roman ideal sculpture as an example of a highly effective artistic tradition that was, by modern standards, extraordinarily conservative. At the same time, the Romans' flexible and opportunistic use of past forms also had important implications for the future: it constituted the origins of classicism in Western art.

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Page 12 - The exactness of their technique and the combination of antiquarian interest and instructiveness in their subjects are truly seductive and call for a cultivated spectator.
Page 10 - Williams noted, it was used subsequently by "Lucretius, Laevius, Virgil (both in Eclogues and Georgics), Horace, Propertius, Manilius, Ovid, and even the unassuming...

About the author (2008)

Rachel Kousser is Assistant Professor of Ancient Art at Brooklyn College and a member of the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, the Romish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz, the PSC-CUNY Research Foundation, and the American Numismatic Society. She has contributed several articles to the American Journal of Archaeology.

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