This paper tackles a prime site of contestation in the struggle to understand Greco-Roman notions of "art"—that of religion. The adoption of connoisseurial practices such as collecting and art-history writing in the Hellenistic period has often been yoked to a narrative of increasing secularization. Yet a broad range of sculpture, ekphrastic poetry and epigraphy demonstrates that art-historical erudition and the scholarly apparatus of catalog and citation are often employed in religious contexts, too. Here they are not simply grafted onto earlier cultic activity, but testify to an active negotiation of the relationship between the sacred and the scholarly, the ritual and the aesthetic, that modern scholars risk oversimplifying in their urge to identify intellectual and museological trends ancestral to our own institutional practices.


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pp. 197-213
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