The Roman Nude: Heroic Portrait Statuary 200 BC-AD 300 (Hardback)
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Short Description for The Roman Nude Nude statues of Roman emperors, generals, businessmen, and their wives survive from the ancient world in large numbers. This book explores the reasons why so many Romans chose to have themselves represented naked, and what this choice may tell us about Roman attitudes towards the self, the body, and personal identity.
- Published: 08 December 2005
- Format: Hardback 416 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780199240494 ISBN 10: 0199240493
Full description for The Roman Nude
Statues of important Romans frequently represented them nude. Men were portrayed naked holding weapons - the naked emperor might wield the thunderbolt of Jupiter - while Roman women assumed the guise of the nude love-goddess, Venus. When faced with these strange images, modern viewers are usually unsympathetic, finding them incongruous, even tasteless. They are mostly written off as just another example of Roman 'bad taste'. This book offers a new approach. Comprehensively illustrated with black and white photographs of nude Romans represented in a wide range of artistic media, it investigates how this tradition arose, and how the nudity of these images was meant to be understood by contemporary viewers. And, since the Romans also employed a variety of other costumes for their statues (toga, armour, Greek philosopher's cloak), it asks, 'What could nudity express that other costumes could not?' It is Hallett's claim that - looked at in this way - these 'Roman nudes' turn out to be documents of the first importance for the cultural historian.