1. Before we start, please think for a second about the way we as a society perceive those with strong traits from both genders. How might we expect this to compare to Rome’s views on the subject?
2. Why do you think that emperors depicted themselves with traits of goddesses, some more overt than others? Are you surprised that they did not find similar gods so that they could stick with their own gender?
3. For what purpose does Varner think emperors and their wives were depicted in a similar fashion? Do you think there might be other purposes?
4. Can you think of any Greek examples of this gender-bending? How do you think Greek audiences might respond to this type of art?
5. How do you feel about this article as a whole? What aspects do you like, and what aspects do you wish were different?
1. What are your initial thoughts on the significance of painted sculpture?
2. How would color affect how a viewer perceived Trajan’s Column, would it make it easier to pick out the whole story, instead of just the first few strips around eye-level?
3. On p. 436 there is a description from the Aeneid of how Aeneas appeared to Dido after Venus enhanced his looks. Do you think that painted sculpture was an attempt to recreate this sort of effect or just to add interest?
4. Bradley talks about the ‘skin’ of a statue that ultimately brings it to life and allows the stone to fully reproduce the figure it is imitating and mentions that “an ancient statue without color was like a mannequin without clothes.” All the characteristics he talks about seem to be drawn from literature; what is the significance of that? Does it make it less of a representation of a real person?
5. “A monochrome marble figure fractures the fundamental relationship between art and reality” p.440. What is this reality? Do we not have the same connection with surviving marble statues as the ancients did?
6. How has this article changed your perception of ancient marble sculpture?
1) Romans vs. Greeks: Why were Roman women allowed to show some individuality in their homes, while Greek arts shows suppression?
2) What do you think of Silberberg-Pierce’s statement declaring that Roman women were great patrons of the arts? Do you agree that roman women had full power to decorate their homes?
3) “In second century AD, sculpted funerary portrait from the Villa Albani Rome, female painter is depicted holding pots of paint and working with a young male nude model.” How does this power translate to you? It’s interesting that the female painter is allowed to work with a male nude model. Is it a possible fictional moment?
4) On the 2nd to last paragragh, the author states that: “There are an affirmation of the significant role played by women in Roman culture and proof that their authentic voice was heard within the home.” Do you agree that this was their “authentic” voice? Or rather, is it a “culturally authenic” voice?
1. Do you think these portrait statues represented actual people who were honored, or did they portray the ‘perfect role model’ that everyone was expected to follow?
2. “Women who are perceived as having gained access to power are seen as having failed to conform to the accepted social construct for their gender in their given society.” Do you agree? (pg 209)
3. In your opinion, does body language in Roman portrait statues of women, suggest certain contradictions in the subject matter? Why?
4. Do you think these portrait statues should be treated as valuable evidence for Roman social history?
5. What is the significance of stressing width in Roman male portrait statues?
6. What is the importance of the “disguised barrier gestures”?
1. How does Medusa’s suffering as a victim play a role in the way she is depicted?
2. Why does the author believe so many cultures describing and rendering Medusa as a monster?
3. What is the significance of the snake and the bird in Medusa’s representation? What cultures/other works of art are being drawn from?
4. Why is Medusa’s gaping mouth so important? What does this signal about the cultures that used the gaping mouth? What is the author’s argument about the tomb and womb? (39)
5. How does Medusa symbolize “birth, death, and rebirth?” (33).
6. Why does the author believe the artists began to portray all of Medusa’s figure instead of just her head? (37).
7. Let’s discuss the last paragraph. How is Medusa an example of a women who has been robbed of her power? How does this relate to the rape in the Temple of Athena?
1. If you can think of one, give an example of the most realistic sculpture we have studied so far. What do you think makes this sculpture realistic?
2. How do you understand the paradox of the Greek Ideal?
3. How do you understand the idea of hyperreality in the context of Greeco-Roman art?
4. Do you think that the aesthetic decorum, such as that in Polykleitos’ Spear Bearer is supra verum or beyond reality?
5. Do you think that this article overall makes any important points? Why?
1. On p. 134 of the article, what does Webster mean by the term “spirit-resonance”? How does an artwork contain “spirit-resonance”?
2. Webster mentions that in Ancient Greek and Chinese times “drawing and writing are far closer than they are to-day.” (P.131). What does this mean in terms to creating the significance of a piece of art?
3. Do you agree with Webster’s argument for substitution instead of representation in art? Which is more important in rendering a great work?