Pliny's Catalogue of Culture: Art and Empire in the Natural History

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Oxford University Press, 2006 - Literary Collections - 208 pages
One of the earliest surviving examples of 'art history', Pliny the Elder's 'chapters on art' form part of his encyclopaedic Natural History, completed shortly before its author died during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. This important new work argues that the Natural History offers a sophisticated account of the world as empire, in which art as much as geography can be used to expound a Roman imperial agenda. Reuniting the 'chapters on art' with the rest of the Natural History, Sorcha Carey considers how the medium of the 'encyclopaedia' affects Pliny's presentation of art, and reveals how art is used to explore themes important to the work as a whole. Throughout, the author demonstrates that Pliny's 'chapters on art' are a profoundly Roman creation, offering an important insight into responses to art and culture under the early Roman empire.

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About the author (2006)

International Projects Co-ordinator at Liverpool Biennial, Sorcha Carey curates temporary artists' projects for the public realm. She previously held post-doctoral fellowships in the history of Classical Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the University of Cambridge.

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