Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculpture: The Allure of the Classical

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $61.01
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 46%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $61.01   
  • New (2) from $107.28   
  • Used (4) from $61.01   


In this book, Rachel Kousser draws on contemporary reception theory to present a new approach to Hellenistic and Roman ideal sculpture. She analyzes the Romans' preference for retrospective, classicizing statuary based on Greek models as opposed to the innovative creations prized by modern scholars. Using a case study of a particular sculptural type, a forceful yet erotic image of Venus, Kousser argues that the Romans self-consciously employed such sculptures to represent their ties to the past in a rapidly evolving world. Kousser presents Hellenistic and Roman ideal sculpture as an example of a highly effective artistic tradition that was, by modern standards, extraordinarily conservative. At the same time, the Romans' flexible and opportunistic use of past forms also had important implications for the future: it constituted the origins of classicism in Western art.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Kousser demonstrates how careful iconographic analysis of the material can be insightful and help us understand better the importance of sculpture in specific contexts.” – Bryn Mawr Classical Review

“This book is an in-depth examination of a widespread visual motif in ancient art, most famously represented by the Capua Venus and the Victory of Brescia. Kousser presents many intelligent and thought-provoking interpretations of individual works.” – Classical Journal Online

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521877824
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Kousser is Assistant Professor of Ancient Art at Brooklyn College and a member of the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, the Romish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz, the PSC-CUNY Research Foundation, and the American Numismatic Society. She has contributed several articles to the American Journal of Archaeology.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Approaching Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculpture: Ancient and Modern Perspectives 1

Copying or Emulation? Modern Approaches to Ancient Ideal Sculpture 4

Retrospection and Transformation in Roman Culture: The Evidence of the Ancient Literary Sources 8

Organization of the Study 14

Chapter 1 Creating the Past: The Origins of Classicism in Hellenistic Sculpture 17

Introduction: Transforming Aphrodite from the Classical to Hellenistic Eras 17

Aphrodite Hoplismene in Corinth: A Martial and Erotic Classical Cult Statue 19

Aphrodite in the Gymnasium: The Venus de Milo 28

Domesticating Aphrodite: Statuettes for the Home 34

Aphrodite in the Tomb 36

Conclusions: From Polis to Panhellenic Sanctuary - New Contexts for Classicism in the Hellenistic Era 40

Chapter 2 From Greece to Rome: Retrospective Sculpture in the Early Empire 45

Introduction: Representing the Principate - The Evolution of Roman Art from Augustus to Domitian 45

Classical Art and Greek Myth in the Forum Augustum 47

Hybrid Retrospection in Early Imperial Aphrodisias 54

Venus and Victory in the Forum of Brescia 58

Creating Canon: Gems and Glass Pastes of Victoria Romana 63

Imperial Victory on Flavian Coinage 66

The Diffusion of the Canon: Military Images from Germany and Illyricum 70

Representing the Victorious Emperor in Sabratha 73

Conclusions: Public and Private Classicism in the Early Empire 74

Chapter 3 From Metropolis to Empire: Retrospective Sculpture in the High Empire 81

Introduction: The Artistic Construction of Empire, A.D. 100-250 81

Virtus, Humanitas, andLegitimacy in Roman Imperial Art 84

"The Seductions of Civilization": Votive Monuments from Roman Germany 91

Pleasure and Paideia: Aphrodite and the Baths in Roman Asia Minor 100

Conclusions: The Flexibility and Resonance of Classical Forms in Provincial and Funerary Art 106

Chapter 4 From Roman to Christian: Retrospection and Transformation in Late Antique Art 111

Introduction: The Selective Survival of Classical Forms in a Christian World 111

Imperial Victory from Constantine to Arcadius 114

Triumph and Good Living in Late Antique Domestic Decor 122

Victory and Death: Sarcophagi in Tombs and Catacombs 130

Conclusions: Late Antique Art and the Power of the Past 135

Conclusion: An Ancient Renaissance? Classicism in Hellenistic and Roman Sculpture 136

Neither Copies nor Originals: Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculptures Reconsidered 136

Greek Statue Types in Hellenistic and Roman Art: A Survey of Recent Literature 138

Retrospection and Diversity: Three Case Histories 140

Not Originality but Utility: Toward a New History of Hellenistic and Roman Art 149

Notes 153

Work Cited 179

Index 199

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)