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Visual Power in Ancient Greece and Rome

Between Art and Social Reality

Tonio Hölscher (Author)

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Visual culture was an essential part of ancient social, religious, and political life. Appearance and experience of beings and things was of paramount importance. In Visual Power in Ancient Greece and Rome, Tonio Hölscher explores the fundamental phenomena of Greek and Roman visual culture and their enormous impact on the ancient world, considering memory over time, personal appearance, conceptualization and representation of reality, and significant decoration as fundamental categories of art as well as of social practice. With an emphasis on public spaces such as sanctuaries, agora and forum, Hölscher investigates the ways in which these spaces were used, viewed, and experienced in religious rituals, political manifestations, and social interaction.

Tonio Hölscher is Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a visiting lecturer in France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. His main publications address political monuments, social imagery and the use of images, public architecture, and urbanism in ancient Greece and Rome.

“The most daring attempt ever made to present Greek and Roman art as a single coherent system of representation, amenable to systematic (synchronic) analysis. It has far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of ancient society, its art, and its monuments.”—Chris Hallett, Professor of Roman Art, University of California, Berkeley

"A bold and visionary book, one that teems with original and provocative ideas about the place of images in Greek and Roman cultures. Hölscher has given his readers new ways to conceptualize the relationships between ancient art and social life, between representation and reality, and I look forward to the many responses this important work will surely inspire."—Seth Estrin, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Chicago

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