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By Christopher H. Oxford University Press, New York ISBN cloth.
Hallett not only explores how ancient Romans approached and manipulated nude and seminude likenesses but also probes modern responses to these images, which often dismiss them as aesthetically jarring or even as kitsch. Following Larissa Bonfante, Hallett characterizes nudity as a costume.
Nude representations can include a chlamys bunched over the left shoulder and wrapped around the left arm, in standard compositional types, like the Richelieu Hermes or the Farnese Hermes. Subsequently, nude costumes are adapted for representations of Hellenistic rulers through the addition of attributes, including the purple chlamys introduced by the Macedonians, and also through adjustments to pose, as in the Naples Horned Ruler likely Demetrios Poliorcetes. Other compositions can be entirely nude, such as the Terme ruler, although scholarly consensus is rightly coalescing that this bronze is a Roman portrait.
Initially uncomfortable with most forms of public nudity, by the Neronian period, Romans viewed the phenomenon as unremarkable, at least at the baths. By the Late Republican period, nudity was fairly ubiquitous in sculpture, painting, and gems.
Hallett maintains that the earliest nude portraits of Romans, beginning in the second century B. Surviving sculpted representations, however, suggest that the Romans adapted and reformulated Greek models to create a dramatically new and semantically charged mode of self-representation. By the Late Republican period, however, New Rome nude women hip-mantle costume is not as generically heroic as Hallett makes out, since it was employed in a well-known standing Jupiter composition as seen in a second-century C.
It is precisely this compositional type to which the Tivoli general refers, and visually literate viewers would have recognized the carefully calibrated equation of the victorious general with Jupiter—precisely the equation that was made manifest during triumphal processions. The Tivoli statue does not simply adopt Greek heroic portrait conventions but cons its ideal Jupiter body with a realistically rendered head whose emphatic s of aging convey abstract concepts such as gravitas, auctoritas, severitas, and dignitas. The resulting agglomerative image speaks in a nuanced Roman idiom quite distinct from its Greek predecessors.
In Roman portrait statues and busts, individual identity lies exclusively in the head. At the beginning of his principate, Augustus renounced fully nude representations in favor of togate, cuirassed, and equestrian portraits. Images of later emperors continued to employ the hip mantle, often in standing or enthroned Jupiter compositions reflecting the cult image of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus.
Indeed, Hallett underscores that the enthroned portrait of the ruler is a Roman innovation and has no specific connections to consecratioas three enthroned portraits of Tiberius are extant. Most surviving statues that use the standing Jupiter composition depict Augustus or Claudius, although it is used at least once by Domitian in a statue subsequently refashioned as Nerva Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, inv.
Although the Jupiter compositions were exclusive to emperors, nude representations in statues, busts, reliefs, and sarcophagi were produced for elite and nonelite patrons. Nude bust forms were used extensively for men but only rarely for women i. Nude statues of women, mostly in the guise of Venus, were produced in vastly fewer s 16 vs.
The nude female portrait was largely limited to Italy and thus another Roman innovation without Greek precedent. Hallett persuasively argues that depictions of emperors with divine attributes are visually distinct from representations of divi. The frequency of theomorphic images begins to increase under Caligula, as there are several of his marble portraits using the standing and seated Jupiter habitus that have been recut into likenesses of Augustus or Claudius.
The colossal seated statue of Constantine from the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine constitutes the last surviving imperial image to employ a divine habitus at Rome. This portrait, however, has a long history, as it initially depicted Hadrian and was then reconfigured as Maxentius before its final reworking into Constantine. Its incorrectly restored right index finger should be curved like the others to hold the scepter of the enthroned Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus composition.
While current Romanist scholarship firmly rooted in contextualization is unlikely to yield disparaging comments on theomorphic images of Commodus as Hercules or Claudius as Jupiter, like those of Sir Mortimer Wheeler or more recently Neils Hannestad and the RamagesHallett probes the modern sensibilities engendering such responses. According to Hallett, 20th- and 21st-century attitudes toward totalitarianism and propagandistic art fuel the feelings of unease that modern viewers can evince for the stark hybridity of Roman nude images. In addition, class prejudice may also influence the dismissal of many nude statues of freedman as the questionable artistic choices of the newly rich.
Roman audiences, however, were clearly able to accept these images without difficulty. Ultimately, Roman nude portraits exploited their own hybrid aesthetic to its fullest communicative potential. Hallet concludes with 13 appendices that range from brief discussions of the paludamentumthe toga pictaand scale New Rome nude women to specific portraits and scholarship on the Roman nude. Appendix B is essentially a list of the nude or seminude portraits known to Hallett, subdivided both chronologically and typologically.
While the appendices provide a wealth of learned information and interpretation, more could have been directly incorporated into his notes, and Appendix B would have been more helpful as a proper catalogue. Eric R. Published online at www. Supplement: Annual Reports — Vol. Index to Volumes 1—10 — You are here Home.
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