The epic genre has at its heart fascination and horror at viewing death. Epic heroes have active visual power, yet become objects, turned into monuments, watched by two main audiences: the gods above and the women on the sidelines. This stimulating and ambitious study investigates the theme of vision in Greek and Latin epic from Homer to Nonnus, bringing the edges of epic into dialogue with the most celebrated moments (the visual confrontation of Hector and Achilles, the failure of Turnus' gaze), revealing epic as both massive assertion of authority and fractured representation. It demonstrates the complexity of epic constructions of gender: from Apollonius' Medea toppling Talos with only her eyes to Parthenopaeus as object of desire. On display are the vertical gaze of the gods, mortal responses, prophets as penetrative viewers and rape victims, ecphrasis as objectification, women on the walls gazing sidelong, heroic bodies fragmented and fetishized.
Fictions of Art History, the most recent addition to the Clark Studies in the Visual Arts series, addresses art history's complex relationships with fiction, poetry, and creative writing. Inspired by a 2010 conference, the volume examines art historians' viewing practices and modes of writing. How, the contributors ask, are we to unravel the supposed facts of history from the fictions constructed in works of art? How do art historians employ or resist devices of fiction, and what are the effects of those choices on the reader? In styles by turns witty, elliptical, and plain-speaking, the essays in Fictions of Art History are fascinating and provocative critical interventions in art history.
Rome is 'the city of seven hills'. This book examines the need for the 'seven hills' cliché, its origins, development, impact and borrowing. It explores how the cliché relates to Rome's real volcanic terrain and how it is fundamental to how we define this. Its chronological remit is capacious: Varro, Virgil and Claudian at one end, on, through the work of Renaissance antiquarians, to embrace frescoes and nineteenth-century engravings. These artists and authors celebrated the hills and the views from these hills, in an attempt to capture Rome holistically. By studying their efforts, this book confronts the problems of encapsulating Rome and 'cityness' more broadly and indeed the artificiality of any representation, whether a painting, poem or map. In this sense, it is not a history of the city at any one moment in time, but a history of how the city has been, and has to be, perceived.
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