Evading Greek models : Three studies on Roman visual culture

Abstract: For a long time, Roman ideal sculptures have primarily been studied within the tradition of Kopienkritik. Owing to some of the theoretical assumptions tied to this practice, several important aspects of Roman visual culture have been neglected as the overall aim of such research has been to gain new knowledge regarding assumed Classical and Hellenistic models. This thesis is a collection of three studies on Roman ideal sculpture. The articles share three general aims: 1. To show that the practice of Kopienkritik has, so far, not produced convincing interpretations of the sculpture types and motifs discussed. 2. To show that aspects of the methodology tied to the practice of Kopienkritik (thorough examination and comparison of physical forms in sculptures) can, and should, be used to gain insights other than those concerning hypothetical Classical and Hellenistic model images. 3. To present new interpretations of the sculpture types and motifs studied, interpretations which emphasize their role and importance within Roman visual culture.The first article shows that reputed, post-Antique restorations may have an unexpected—and unwanted—impact on the study of ancient sculptures. This is examined by tracing the impact that a restored motif ("Satyrs with cymbals") has had on the study of an ancient sculpture type: the satyr ascribed to the two-figure group "The invitation to the dance". The second article presents and interprets a sculpture type which had previously gone unnoticed—The satyrs of "The Palazzo Massimo-type". The type is interpreted as a variant of "The Marsyas in the forum", a motif that was well known within the Roman cultural context. The third article examines how, and why, two motifs known from Classical models were changed in an eclectic fashion once they had been incorporated into Roman visual culture. The motifs concerned are kalathiskos dancers, which were transformed into Victoriae, and pyrrhic dancers, which were also reinterpreted as mythological figures—the curetes.