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date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Greek and Roman theories of art, paying particular attention to images, the notion of “ancient art theory,” the theory of mimesis, and the ideas of philosophers including Plato and Aristotle. Citing book 19 of the Odyssey, it explores the material nature of the products of artistic craft, their impact on viewers, and the function and contexts framing the use and reception of artifacts. It considers the reasons for the apparent absence of “theories of art” in ancient Greece and Rome and analyzes a number of objects and texts concerning objects. It also discusses the material and affective dimensions of ancient aesthetics, along with the representational (and epiphanic) nature of art and its capacity to access an invisible reality or ideal. Finally, the chapter looks at the artist’s role in fashioning the image and the sources of the “vision” or mental apprehension informing his work.

Keywords: aesthetics, ancient art theory, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, art, artifacts, images, philosophers, theory of mimesis

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