Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans
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Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans

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John R. Clarke
Brings to life the ancient Romans whom modern scholarship has largely ignored: slaves, ex-slaves, foreigners, and the freeborn working poor. Written for a wide audience, this book illuminates the dynamics of a discerning and sophisticated population, overturning much accepted wisdom about them, and opening our eyes to their cultural diversity.
Acknowledgments Introduction Part 1. Imperial Representation of Non-elites 1. Augustus's and Trajan's Messages to Commoners 2. The All-seeing Emperor and Ordinary Viewers: Marcus Aurelius and Constantine Part 2. Non-elites in the Public Sphere 3. Everyman, Everywoman, and the Gods 4. Everyman and Everywoman at Work 5. Spectacle: Entertainment, Social Control, Self-advertising, and Transgression 6. Laughter and Subversion in the Tavern: Image, Text, and Context 7. Commemoration of Life in the Domain of the Dead: Non-elite Tombs and Sarcophagi Part 3. Non-elites in the Domestic Sphere 8. Minding Your Manners: Banquets, Behavior, and Class 9. Putting Your Best Face Forward: Self-representation at Home Conclusions Notes Bibliography Illustration Credits Index
"Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans is superbly out of the ordinary. John Clarke's significant and intriguing book takes stock of a half-century of lively discourse on the art and culture of Rome's non-elite patrons and viewers. Its compelling case studies on religion, work, spectacle, humor, and burial in the monuments of Pompeii and Ostia, which attempt to revise the theory of trickle-down Roman art, effectively refine our understanding of Rome's pluralistic society. Ordinary Romans-whether defined in imperialistic monuments or narrating their own stories through art in houses, shops, and tombs-come to life in this stimulating work."--Diana E. E. Kleiner, author of "Roman Sculpture"John R. Clarke again addresses the neglected underside of Roman art in this original, perceptive analysis of ordinary people as spectators, consumers, and patrons of art in the public and private spheres of their lives. Clarke expands the boundaries of Roman art, stressing the defining power of context in establishing Roman ways of seeing art. And by challenging the dominance of the Roman elite in image-making, he demonstrates the constitutive importance of the ordinary viewing public in shaping Roman visual imagery as an instrument of self-realization."--Richard Brilliant, author of Commentaries on Roman Art, Visual Narratives, and Gesture and Rank in Roman Art"John Clarke reveals compelling details of the tastes, beliefs, and biases that shaped ordinary Romans' encounters with works of art-both public monuments and private art they themselves produced or commissioned. The author discusses an impressively wide range of material as he uses issues of patronage and archaeological context toreconstruct how workers, women, and slaves would have experienced works as diverse as the Ara Pacis of Augustus, funerary decoration, and tavern paintings at Pompeii. Clarke's new perspective yields countless valuable insights about even the most familiar material."--Anthony Corbeil