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Meaning and Material Presence: Four Epigrams on Timomachus's Unfinished Medea

This essay contains readings of four epigrams by Antipater, Antiphilus, and Philip on Timomachus's painting of Medea. This work was unfinished, and I argue that its fragmentary condition plays a crucial role in the epigrams' poetics. Specifically, the painting's incompleteness disrupts the usual conventions and capacities of ekphrastic epigram and induces a crisis in poetic speech. To illustrate this, I rely on the distinction between presence and meaning developed by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht.