Stories take time to tell; Greek and Roman artists had to convey them in static images. How did they go about it? How could they ensure that their scenes would be recognized? What problems did they have? How did they solve them? This generously illustrated book explores the ways classical artists portrayed a variety of myths. It explains how formulas were devised for certain stories; how these inventions could be adapted, developed and even transferred to other myths; how one myth could be distinguished from another; what links there were with daily life and historical propaganda; the influence of changing tastes, and problems still outstanding. Examples are drawn from a wide range of media--vases, murals, mosaics, sarcophagi, sculpture--used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The myths are mostly those that are also easily recognized in later works of art. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed, all examples are illustrated and all names, terms and concepts are fully explained. Susan Woodford teaches Greek and Roman art at the University of London and is engaged in research for the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. A former Fullbright Scholar and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, she and is author of The Parthenon (Cambridge, 1981), The Art of Greece (Cornell, 1993), An Introduction to Greek Art (Cornell, 1986) and The Trojan War in Ancient Art (Cornell, 1993).
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Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity explores the ways that classical artists portrayed a variety of myths. It explains how formulas were devised for certain stories; how new forms were created to reflect changes in interpretations; what links exist between myths depicted and with daily life and historical propaganda; and the influence of changing taste. Illustrated with examples from a wide range of media, this book strikes a balance between serious scholarly research and accessible, nontechnical presentation, offering a fresh approach to Greek and Roman mythological illustration.Review:
"Susan Woodford has done it again. [S]he has produced another lucid and eminently readable book on the subject of ancient mythological iconography. [A] book devoted to describing the wonderful change from verbal to visual." Celica Milovanovic, Millersville University, The Classical Outlook
"As a whole, this is an important work that makes a significant contribution in analyzing the ways in which classical artists sought to render traditional narratives within the constraints of their selected media andd especially for the painstaking manner in which the various aspects of this endeavor, its successes and drawbacks, are elucidated for the student of classical myth." American Journal of Archaeology
"A rich and accessible treatment of a difficult topic." Judith M. Barringer, Classical World
"The book as a whole is a valuable contribution to the literature of myth and art. Layperson and specialist alike will find Woodford's discussion of the ways to approach and study the myth in ancient art very useful." - Phillip v. Stankley, San Francisco State University
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