A City of Images: Iconography and Society in Ancient Greece

A City of Images: Iconography and Society in Ancient Greece

by Claude Berard, Christiane Bron, Jean-Louis Durand
     
 

This handsome and lavishly illustrated volume invites the reader to explore the exotic and distant world of Greek culture--not primarily the conventional literary idea of that culture but the range of experiences presented in its iconography. Between the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., Athenian artisans flooded the Mediterranean world with remarkable decorated

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Overview

This handsome and lavishly illustrated volume invites the reader to explore the exotic and distant world of Greek culture--not primarily the conventional literary idea of that culture but the range of experiences presented in its iconography. Between the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., Athenian artisans flooded the Mediterranean world with remarkable decorated vases depicting a large variety of images. Using the resources of social and religious anthropology, the authors exploit the richness of this material to re-create the intellectual and emotional milieu of the inhabitant of a Greek city-state.

Surprises multiply in this innovative work, translated into English for the first time. The Greeks incorporated the ambiguous and problematical aspects of human existence into their representational repertory, and many images are disconcerting in their brutality, their violence, and their strangeness. Paradoxically it is through pursuing this strangeness in its multiple contexts that we come the closest to ancient Greek civilization.

The book presents the great cultural themes of the time: the hunt, war, erotic love, and the festival. The earlier chapters lead to the discussion of the most disquieting figure in the Greek universe--Dionysus, god of sacred wine, magic masks, and animal metamorphoses. Many reproductions in the work are in private collections and have been rarely seen by the public.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Originally conceived as an exhibition catalog to accompany a select collection of rare Greek pottery on tour in Europe but as yet not seen in the United States, this work stands on its own as a guidebook for the modern reader to the distant world of ancient Greece. Beginning with an academic discussion of the artistic and utilitarian functions of Greek pottery, Berard then details and interprets depictions of war, domestic life, mythology, and ceremonial rites drawn directly from the customs and mores of Athenian society. Plates and vases commonly portrayed the ritual of homosexual courtship, perfectly acceptable in proper Greek society. Even scenes of bacchic orgies were rendered on tableware without a blush. In a scholarly yet highly readable and perceptive work, this book succeeds in penetrating the stylized images in clay and paint to reveal the human face beneath. Recommended for art, academic, and large public libraries.--Sharon Wong, California Postsecondary Education Commission, Sacramento
Booknews
A translation of La cite des images. Using the resources of social and religious anthropology, the authors exploit the richness of the images depicted on a large number of decorated vases to recreate the intellectual and emotional milieu of a Greek city state. Many reproductions in the work are in private collections and have been rarely seen by the public. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691035918
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/21/1989
Pages:
179
Product dimensions:
8.99(w) x 10.17(h) x 0.95(d)

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