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From monumental tombs and domestic decoration, to acts of benefaction and portraits of ancestors, Roman freed slaves, or freedmen, were prodigious patrons of art and architecture. Traditionally, however, the history of Roman art has been told primarily through the monumental remains of the emperors and ancient writers who worked in their circles. In this study, Lauren Petersen critically investigates the notion of 'freedman art' in scholarship, dependent as it is on elite-authored texts that are filled with hyperbole and stereotypes of freedmen, such as the memorable fictional character Trimalchio, a boorish ex-slave in Petronius' Satyricon. She emphasizes integrated visual ensembles within defined historical and social contexts and aims to show how material culture can reflect preoccupations that were prevalent throughout Roman society. Interdisciplinary in scope, this book explores the many ways that monuments and artistic commissions by freedmen spoke to a much more complex reality than that presented in literature.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521858892
ISBN-10: 0521858895
Format: Hardback
(253mm x 177mm x 23mm)
Pages: 312
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 31-Jul-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Lauren Hackworth Petersen

Lauren Hackworth Petersen is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware. A scholar of Roman art and architecture, she has published in Arethusa and The Art Bulletin, among other journals, and has received grants from the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Getty Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies.

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