Anna Anguissola

The surfaces of illusion. Methodological notes on the study of Roman ideal sculptures

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Discourse about the senses, time, narrative, technology, and identity seem to function as key principles in Roman decorative systems. Closer consideration of these concepts can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the so-called Roman ideal sculpture. In following this line of thought, the case studies discussed in this paper focus on sculptures made of rare and/or precious materials. >e article explores materials’ bearing on sensual perception, on the imagination of time, on the construction of narratives, on visualizations of technical processes, and on the negotiation of multiple identities. >is approach addresses both vertical and horizontal relationships; namely, those between an artwork and its putative model and those within the series of other contemporary works. By treating individual pieces of sculpture as part of a broader Bilderwelt, discourse can concentrate on the inherent properties that materials held over the concept of form, thus indicating a third path that complements the comparative examination of replica series and contextual approaches


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