Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR 2012.11.54 on the BMCR blog

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.11.54

Theodosia Stephanidou-Tiveriou, Pavlina Karanastase, Demetres Damaskos (ed.), Κλασική παράδοση και νεωτερικά στοιχεία στην πλαστική της ρωμαϊκής Ελλάδας. Proceedings of the International Conference in Thessaloniki, 7-9 May 2009.   Thessaloniki:  University Studio Press, 2012.  Pp. 536.  ISBN 9789601220840.  €53.00.  


Reviewed by Mary C. Sturgeon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (sturgeon@email.unc.edu)

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

“Roman sculpture in Greece, the classical tradition and new developments” is the publication of a major conference held in Thessaloniki in 2009. The editors, Theodosia Stephanidou-Tiveriou, Pavlina Karanastase, and Demetres Damaskos, should be congratulated on making the conference papers available so quickly and in such a handsomely produced volume. The papers give clear presentations of specific subjects supported by excellent photographs and drawings and detailed bibliography. With this book, the editors have made a major contribution to scholarship on Classical sculpture.

For most of the sculptures this is their first scholarly, illustrated publication, for others it is a new interpretation or a synthetic analysis of a specific type. The monuments range in date from the first century BC to the fifth century AD and include free standing items and reliefs of various subjects. Of the 37 papers, two-thirds are in Greek, the rest in English (2), French (3), German (3), and Italian (4). Nonetheless, each chapter is provided with a detailed abstract in English, which should be helpful for readers. The overall assemblage creates a picture of Greek sculpture in the Roman period that is quite different from what ancient historians and modern writers have led us to expect. Subjects are broad and varied, and artistic quality is high. A few papers present recent finds from outside Greece proper.

Three longer studies provide a broad setting for more focused contributions. In the lead paper, Georgios Despinis considers Roman acroliths, primarily with regard to technical aspects of construction, using examples from Thessaloniki, Ephesus, Athens, and Rome. Contrary to what is indicated by the sources, the stone parts are not only employed at the end points of a figure, but also for the chest, especially when it is nude. Sources also suggest that akroliths were designed for religious purposes, but some are not found in temples or sanctuaries, and not all were statues of gods. What is certain is that acroliths stood in a fixed place and that they derived some technical details from wooden construction. Key features are the swallow-tail cuttings that were used for attachments, in a form characteristic of wood-working art, as seen in the colossal Athena in Thessaloniki made in the 2nd century AD and revised as a portrait of Julia Domna. Moreover, attachment surfaces are not level, and none have anathyrosis, as in marble construction.

The marble statue bases inside the Philippeion at Olympia require reconsideration. Some have thought the statues were not in gold and ivory (chryselephantine), as stated by Pausanias, because the cuttings on the bases resemble those used for marble figures. Possibly, however, a combination of techniques was used, as with a cuirassed statue in Thessaloniki. Like that piece, Despinis thinks the male figures would have had marble plinths and marble legs-to- lower body, with the torso added above in the acrolithic technique. Peter Schultz, who addressed this question elsewhere, believes that the statues were made entirely of marble and painted or gilded.1 A different technique is illustrated by a cuirassed statue from Ephesus in which the cuirassed body is supported by poles inserted through the marble legs, as shown by part of the hollowed-out lower leg. Stronger support could have been provided by a long paludamentum hanging to the base, which would serve as the mast-pole of the wooden construction, as the wooden supports alone would not withstand a great weight. A similar approach was used at a colossal scale in an acrolith, the Genius Augusti, from the Forum of Augustus in Rome. Sufficient support for the heavy weight of such figures seems facilitated by cut-out sections of the back.

The colossal Constantine in Rome (height of head and neck 2.60 m) was also an acrolith, with marble used for the nude parts and wood for the rest, with no metal or stucco. Substantiating some of the sources are recent finds of an ivory face north of Rome. The head, based on radiocarbon-14 testing, comes from the 2nd half of the 1st century BC.

Guntram Koch provides a detailed overview of the production and trade of Attic sarcophagi. Made in Athens, one of the three major centers [with Rome and Asia Minor (Dokimeion) ] producing marble caskets, over 65% of Attic sarcophagi were intended for export and were more widely distributed than those of other centers. Ranging ca. AD 130-260, they increased after AD 200, so that about half were created ca. 220/30-250. Attic sarcophagi were exported in large numbers to Rome and Asia Minor, they were copied in all parts of the empire, and Attic sculptors travelled and set up workshops elsewhere. Individual features, such as heads, draperies, and ornamental motifs, are distinctive and provide a means of attribution to Attic workshops. As Attic sarcophagi can be dated, they help establish chronology for other Attic sculpture.

The numbers of exports, imports, and dates of sarcophagus manufacture are compared across the three main regions of origin, using charts. Production is estimated as between 10,000 or even 20,000 per year in the mid 2nd century AD, assuming a survival rate of 1% or 2% percent. Koch estimates the number of blocks for sarcophagus boxes and lids that would have been quarried each year, calculates their weight, and then considers the shipping season and the capacity of the ships.

In the early 2nd century AD well-trained sculptors clearly existed in Athens. Ca. AD 130 Athenians realized they could do exceptional work making sarcophagi in Pentelic marble. There was no preexisting tradition for marble caskets in Athens or the rest of Greece, so the stimulus clearly came from Rome. This is demonstrated also because Attic production began with the garland type, made earlier in Rome. Athenian carvers, however, did not imitate Roman models, but created their own type. The Attic sarcophagus is shaped like a house of the dead with a marble-tiled roof and carved moldings. Most Attic sarcophagi have an emphasis on form, decoration, subject, and style.

Subjects are most varied in examples up to ca. AD 170/80, with over 100 designs, but by the end of the 2nd century production is focused on about 15 subjects. In the 3rd century, each item is individual, which would have resulted in high cost for the design and the work. Some sarcophagi provide good examples of Attic carving style. The heads are especially characteristic: the face somewhat soft, the brows engraved, the hair worked with the chisel, and the drill used in different ways. Hence, Attic sarcophagi provide the basis for recognizing and understanding Attic sculpture of the middle imperial period.

R. R. R. Smith discusses the ‘second lives’ of statues from earlier periods in Late Antique Aphrodisias. The Early Roman Sebasteion, a long double-colonnaded complex with over 80 relief panels, became a retail and craft center in the late 4th or 5th century. Smith’s analysis shows that reliefs that were defaced contained frontally posed Olympian gods, as they may have appeared iconic, or depicted blood sacrifice, probably to avoid the ritual of pollution.

Honorific portraits continued to be set up in public civic buildings. Some pre-existing statues were moved to new locations, such as the logeion and scena of the theater, from the 2nd century to the late 3rd and early 4th. Smith characterizes this practice as historic preservation, for the subject was not changed. After the scena and logeion had become full, in the 4th century statues were placed in the Tetrastoon outside the theater on re-used bases. This action creates a genuine spolia monument, as it was put together from older sculptures to construct a new ensemble.

The Bouleuterion and north stoa in the North Agora (essentially the entrance to the Bouleuterion) provided the most prestigious honorific locations. In these structures statue bodies were reused from earlier periods, as the himation costume was still considered valid and impressive, and it expressed desirable civic values and continuity with the past. The densest statue display was seen in the Hadrianic Baths, which remained in use until ca. 600.

At one end of the Civil Basilica an unusual horse monument was found, composed of blue and white marble, which was also moved from a prior location,. The blue-gray marble horse wore a feline saddlecloth in gilded metal attached with 45 iron pins. A nude rider is of white marble, and a third figure is indicated on the base. The subject suggested is Troilos and Achilles, which also appears on the bronze cuirass worn by the statue of Germanicus in Amelia (Umbria) illustrated by Queyrel (pp. 428, 429).

Topics covered in the remaining papers are diverse. They include Attic funerary stelae, funerary reliefs from Crete, Macedonia, Thasos, Thessaly, and Veroia, and funerary statues. Regional studies focus on Boeotia, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Crete. Roman copies include the ‘Petworth’ athletic head and possibly a classical Medea. Greek deities form the subject of Late Roman statuettes of Demeter and Kybele from an Athenian villa, a Dionysos with elaborate hairstyle, and from Thessaloniki a statuette of Sarapis and statues of Roma and Zeus Eleutherios with aegis, from their Hadrianic temple.

Some portraits depict imperial subjects, such as a Livia from Leptis Magna, a Vespasian from Veroia, and Faustina the Younger’s sixth portrait type. Non-imperial portraits include a Claudian five-figure family group from the Gymnasium at Sikyon, a male head from Messene with a curious bulging vein on the bald skull, Antinous as a hero of the Second Sophistic, and portraits of women (3rd, 5th centuries). The marble cuirassed torso from Iria on Naxos with Dirce and the Bull relief is reinterpreted by Queyrel as Caligula or Nero, rather than Mark Antony, as previously suggested. And the full-length bronze of Polydeukion discovered in the sea off Punta del Serrone (Brindisi) in 1992 receives detailed treatment.

Additional contributions should be noted. Sculptures from the Late Hadrianic phase (ca. AD 130) of the Theater of Dionysos in Athens are reexamined. Colossal statues of Tragedy and Comedy are recomposed and a reconstruction of the Hadrianic scaenae frons presented that incorporates all the silenos support figures previously recognized. Unusual are the piers in Kavala supporting male busts, possibly from a gymnasium. Similarly curious is a portrait head of a woman from Thessaloniki, which once had two children grasping the fruit in her wreath. Identified as a possible ‘Tellus,’ this figure recalls the ‘Tellus’ on the Ara Pacis and a seated female figure in the Durrës Museum (Albania) with two children in her lap.

Also noteworthy is Goette’s re-interpretation of the large relief from Mantineia of the ‘priestess’ Diotima, usually dated to the 420s BC as made in the 2nd century AD. It would have served as a Roman ‘memory relief’ to honor the Seer shown holding a liver, who may have helped the Athenians during the plague of 429 BC.

In summary, this publication demonstrates the high quality of sculptures produced in Greece during the Roman period, the on-going tradition of excellent scholarship that characterizes our European, and primarily our Greek colleagues in this case, and the high standards of publication in Greece. A number of books recently produced on sculptural topics by leading presses contain pale gray photographs that are barely legible. A major contribution of this volume is the printing of photographs of consistently high quality, which is of critical importance for sculpture. I look forward to a second conference on this topic, which is planned for a few years hence.

Περιεχόμενα

Πρόλογος , 9

Εισαγωγικό σημείωμα της Θεοδοσίας Στεφανίδου-Τιβερίου. Η έρευνα της πλαστικής των ρωμαικών χρόνων στην Ελλάδα, 11

ΔΙΑΛΕΞΕΙΣ

Γεώργιος Ι. Δεσπίνης, Ακρόλιθα αγάλματα των ρωμαϊκών χρόνων, 19

Guntram Koch, Οι αττικές σαρκοφάγοι και η σημασία τους για την τέχνη της αυτοκρατορικής εποχής, 35

Roland R. R. Smith, The second lives of classical monuments in late antique Aphrodisias, 57

ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΕΙΣ

Ισμήνη Τριάντη, Κεφαλή νέου στον τύπο του Αθλητή Petworth από το οικόπεδο Μακρυγιάννη στην Αθήνα, 77

Olga Palagia, The peplos figure Athens National Museum 3890: Roman copy of a classical Μedea? 89

Στυλιανός Ε. Κατάκης, Αγαλμάτια Δήμητρας και Κυβέλης των ύστερων ρωμαικών χρόνων από την Aθήνα, 99

Aλκηστις Χωρέμη-Σπετσιέρη, Πορτρέτα της ύστερης αρχαιότητας από την Αθήνα, 115

Χριστίνα Παπασταμάτη-von Moock, Θέατρο του Διονύσου Ελευθερέως. γλυπτά της ρωμαικής σκηνής: χρονολογικά, καλλιτεχνικά και ερμηνευτικά ζητήματα, 129

Derk W. von Moock, Η αναβίωση της παραγωγής των αττικών επιτυμβίων στηλών κατά τον 1ο αι. π.Χ., 151

Aννα-Βασιλική Καραπαναγιώτου, Ανδρική εικονιστική κεφαλή από τη Μεσσήνη. Πορτρέτο και κοινωνία στην Πελοπόννησο του ύστερου 1ου αι. π.Χ.,163

Πέτρος Θέμελης, Έργα επωνύμων γλυπτών και εργαστήριο γλυπτικής πρώιμων ρωμαικών χρόνων στη Μεσσήνη, 177

ΚΛΑΣΙΚΗ ΠΑΡΑΔΟΣΗ ΚΑΙ ΝΕΩTΕΡΙΚΑ ΣTΟΙΧΕΙΑ ΣTΗΝ ΠΛΑΣTΙΚΗ TΗΣ ΡΩΜΑιΚΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ

Ναταλία Καζακίδη, Eνα οικογενειακό σύνταγμα ανδριάντων της εποχής του Κλαυδίου και το γυμνάσιο στη Σικυώνα, 193

Hans Rupprecht Goette, Klassisches Original oder klassizistische Tradition in der Kaiserzeit? Zum Relief Αthen, Νationalmuseum Inv. 226 aus Mantineia, 213

Σταύρος Βλίζος, Εικονογραφικά παράδοξα και ερμηνευτικά ζητήματα: επιτύμβιο άγαλμα νέου από τη Λακωνία, 225

Margherita Bonanno Aravantinos, La scultura di età romana nella Beozia: importazioni e produzioni locali, 233

Ιφιγένεια Λεβέντη, Eπιτύμβια ανάγλυφα από τη Θεσσαλία. Παρατηρήσεις στη γλυπτική της κεντρικής Eλλάδας στα χρόνια της ρωμαιοκρατίας, 251

Εμμανουήλ Βουτυράς, Όρθιος Σάραπις από τη Θεσσαλονίκη, 265

Θεοδοσία Στεφανίδου-Τιβερίου, τα λατρευτικά αγάλματα του ναού του Διός και της ρώμης στη Θεσσαλονίκη, 273

Μπάρμπαρα Σμιτ-Δούνα, Γυναικεία κεφαλή από το ανατολικό τείχος της Θεσσαλονίκης, 287

Ελένη Τρακοσοπούλου-Σαλακίδου, Άγαλμα Διονύσου των αυτοκρατορικών χρόνων από τη Θεσσαλονίκη, 297

Κατερίνα Τζαναβάρη, Μαρμάρινο πορτρέτο του Βεσπασιανού από τη Βέροια, 307

Εμμανουέλα Γούναρη, Αγάλματα ιματιοφόρων ανδρών στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης. Ο «κανονικός τύπος» στη Μακεδονία κατά την αυτοκρατορική περίοδο, 325

Πολυξένη Αδάμ-Βελένη, Εικονιστική γυναικεία κεφαλή από την Αγορά των αυτοκρατορικών χρόνων της Θεσσαλονίκης, 337

Δημήτρης Δαμάσκος, Αρχιτεκτονικά και διακοσμητικά γλυπτά στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο της Καβάλας, 347

Βικτώρια Αλλαμανή-Σουρή, τα ανάγλυφα επιτύμβια μνημεία της Βέροιας από τον 1ο αι. π.Χ. έως τον 3ο αι. μ.Χ. Παράδοση και νεωτερισμοί, 357

Χρυσούλα Ιωακειμίδου, Ναόσχημο ταφικό μνημείο από την κοινότητα του Σιδηροδρομικού Σταθμού Αγγίστας Σερρών, 373

Ελένη Παπαγιάννη, ταφικά ανάγλυφα ρωμαίων στρατιωτών στη Μακεδονία, 385

ΠΕΡΙΕΧΟΜΕΝΑ

Vassiliki Gaggadis-Robin, Sculptures romaines de Bouthrôte, 399

Bernard Holtzmann, Les médaillons funéraires de Thasos, 409

François Queyrel, Modes de représentation des Julio-Claudiens dans les Cyclades. τraditions régionales et reprises de schémas iconographiques, 417

Παυλίνα Καραναστάση, H πλαστική της Κρήτης στην αυτοκρατορική περίοδο, 433

Katja Sporn, Römische Grabreliefs auf Kreta. Alte Traditionen und neue Wege, 451

Katia Mannino, Bronzi antichi dall’Adriatico: una statua di Polydeukion da Punta del Serrone (Brindisi), 467

Elisa Chiara Portale, Una “nuova” Livia da Leptis Magna. Osservazioni sul contributo delle botteghe attiche nell’elaborazione e diffusione dell’immaginario imperiale, 477

Thoralf Schröder, Im Angesichte Roms. Überlegungen zu kaiserzeitlichen männlichen Porträts aus Αthen, Thessaloniki und Korinth, 497

Ειρήνη Χιώτη, Επιδράσεις του έκτου εικονιστικού τύπου της Φαυστίνας της νεότερης στα ιδιωτικά πορτρέτα του ελλαδικού χώρου, 513

Marco Galli, Antinoos heros e gli eroi della Seconda Sofistica, 523


Notes:


1.   “Leochares’ Argead Portraits in the Philippeion,” in Early Hellenistic Portraiture: Image, Style, Context, P. Schultz and R. von den Hoff, eds. (Cambridge 2007), pp. 205-233.

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