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Look Inside Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity

Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity

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  • Date Published: December 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521788090

$ 34.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • 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).

    • An original and wide-ranging approach to mythological illustration going beyond simply relating images to texts
    • Treatment of many different media in both Greek and Roman art
    • Development from simple concepts to increasingly complex ones in easily comprehended, non-technical language
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    • Winner of The Criticos Committee Prize for 2003

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521788090
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 179 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.817kg
    • contains: 194 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. An Introduction:
    1. Myths and images
    Part II. Transforming Words into Images:
    2. Making myths recognisable
    3. Choosing a moment
    4. Epic expansiveness versus tragic focus
    Part III. Building Images:
    5. Formulas and motifs
    6. Transference of types
    7. Creating compositions
    Part IV. Innovations, Developments and Connections:
    8. Innovations inspired by poets
    9. Innovations inspired by artists
    10. Changing interests
    11. History and myth in art
    12. Life and myth in art
    Part V. Problems:
    13. Showing what cannot be seen
    14. Distinguishing one myth from another
    15. Confusing one myth with another
    16. Misunderstandings and muddles
    17. Can the key to an image always be found?

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ancient Greek Mythology
    • Greek Stories in Plays and Vase Painting
    • Greek and Roman Art
    • Greek and Roman Myth
    • Images of Myth in Greek Art
    • Introduction to Classical Mythology
  • Author

    Susan Woodford


    • Winner of The Criticos Committee Prize for 2003

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