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Roman Death Masks and the Recasting of Likeness

Roman Death Masks and the Recasting of Likeness
100 St. George St., Sidney Smith Hall Room 2098
Time: Apr 22nd, 5:00 pm End: Apr 22nd, 7:00 pm
Interest Categories: Visual Studies (UTM), Religion, Study of (FAS), Italian Studies (FAS), History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Critical Theory, Classics (FAS), Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC), Art (FAS), Architecture, Landscape, Design, Archaeology, 400-1 BCE, 1-400 CE
Lecture by Patrick Crowley, University of Chicago

The Department of Art is pleased to present a special lecture:

Patrick Crowley, Professor of Art History, University of Chicago

Roman Death Masks and the Recasting of Likeness

This talk explores a small and rather neglected corpus of plaster death mask molds from the Roman Empire that range in date from the first through the fourth centuries C.E. These molds, capable of producing likenesses that exceed even the highest standards of classical naturalism in other artistic media, are fascinating, if unusual documents of the extent to which resemblance could shape and animate artistic, funereal, and juridical practices. Less obvious is the extent to which the constitutively mechanical mode of reproduction involved was paradoxically governed by a diverse set of aesthetic criteria and constraints. Ultimately, as we shall see, the capaciously ambiguous status of these molds can disturb our basic distinctions between image and prototype, copy and original.

Patrick Crowley specializes in the art and archaeology of the Roman world. In addition to traditional categories of Roman art such as sarcophagi and portraiture, his research interests include ancient theories of vision, historiography, and the reception of antiquity in modern and contemporary art. His current book project, The Phantom Image: Visuality and the Supernatural in the Greco-Roman World, is the first major historical study of ghosts in the art and visual culture of classical antiquity. He recently published “Picturing the Gaze in the Greco-Roman World" in D. Damaskos and D. Plantzos, Roman Reception of Greek Art and Culture (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

This event is free and open to the public.  For further information, please contact the Department of Art at (416) 946-7624.


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