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Images of Myths in Classical Antiquityby Susan Woodford
Synopses & Reviews
Stories take time to tell; Greek and Roman artists had to convey them in static images. How did they go about it? How could they ensure that their scenes would be recognized? What problems did they have? How did they solve them? This generously illustrated book explores the ways classical artists portrayed a variety of myths. It explains how formulas were devised for certain stories; how these inventions could be adapted, developed and even transferred to other myths; how one myth could be distinguished from another; what links there were with daily life and historical propaganda; the influence of changing tastes, and problems still outstanding. Examples are drawn from a wide range of media--vases, murals, mosaics, sarcophagi, sculpture--used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The myths are mostly those that are also easily recognized in later works of art. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed, all examples are illustrated and all names, terms and concepts are fully explained. Susan Woodford teaches Greek and Roman art at the University of London and is engaged in research for the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. A former Fullbright Scholar and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, she and is author of The Parthenon (Cambridge, 1981), The Art of Greece (Cornell, 1993), An Introduction to Greek Art (Cornell, 1986) and The Trojan War in Ancient Art (Cornell, 1993).
Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity explores the ways that classical artists portrayed myths.
Myths mightily inspired Greek and Roman painters of vases and walls, sculptors and mosaicists and challenged them to invent imaginative ways to convey flowing narratives through static images. This book examines many aspects of the problems they faced and the ingenious and often surprising solutions they found.
Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity explores the ways that classical artists portrayed a variety of myths. It explains how formulas were devised for certain stories; how new forms were created to reflect changes in interpretations; what links exist between myths depicted and with daily life and historical propaganda; and the influence of changing taste. Illustrated with examples from a wide range of media, this book strikes a balance between serious scholarly research and accessible, nontechnical presentation, offering a fresh approach to Greek and Roman mythological illustration.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 285-287) and index.
Table of Contents
Part I. An Introduction: 1. Myths and images; Part II. Transforming Words into Images: 2. Making myths recognisable; 3. Choosing a moment; 4. Epic expansiveness versus tragic focus; Part III. Building Images: 5. Formulas and motifs; 6. Transference of types; 7. Creating compositions; Part IV. Innovations, Developments and Connections: 8. Innovations inspired by poets; 9. Innovations inspired by artists; 10. Changing interests; 11. History and myth in art; 12. Life and myth in art; Part V. Problems: 13. Showing what cannot be seen; 14. Distinguishing one myth from another; 15. Confusing one myth with another; 16. Misunderstandings and muddles; 17. Can the key to an image always be found?; Glossary; Appendices.
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