Abstract

Does the history of ancient art have an object? This paper revisits Jean-Pierre Vernant's influential account of "the birth of images" in Greece, which denied the existence of images prior to the classical period. Contra Vernant, it argues that the historical ontology of "figural representations"—unlike other historicisms—necessarily presupposes experiences, concepts, and behaviors that are in principle sharable between ancients and moderns. It follows that Vernant's account, in its extreme form, lacks coherence. This point has significant implications for recent discussions of the "ancient viewing experience" and for efforts to purge classical archaeology of any reliance upon aesthetic categories.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6504
Print ISSN
0004-0975
Pages
pp. 181-195
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-17
Open Access
No
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