Abstract

Roman domestic art in elite and non-elite houses follows the same iconographic patterns. This high degree of standardization has led to the widespread assumption that art use lower down the social scale was a matter of elite imitation. But as this paper argues, canonical images were not exclusively popular because they copied upper-class fashions. Instead, standardized imagery was popular because it could impart a whole variety of meanings. And indeed, non-elite art buyers often tweaked canonical images to suit highly idiosyncratic representational interests. This non-elite art use is explored through a comparison with the cultural transformations of the modern garden gnome.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6504
Print ISSN
0004-0975
Pages
pp. 283-303
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-25
Open Access
No
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