From Face to Face

Recarving of Roman Portraits and the Late-Antique Portrait Arts

Series:

This book is based on an investigation of more than 2000 portraits of which around 500 have proven to be recarved. It provides thorough analyses of the different recarving methods, some of which can be attributed to geographically localized workshops, establishing classifiable categories, and an analytical text with special regard to the cultural historical changes in Late Antiquity. The investigation underpins a hypothesis on the late antique portraits style as a consequence of the many recarved portraits at the time, which relied on a syncretism of politics, religion and ideology. The conclusion gives a new understanding of how broad-scoped, culturally and politically encoded and comprehensive the practice of recarving was.

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Review Quotes
"Perhaps the greatest significance of Prusac’s work—aside from the immense task of amassing the material and publishing it to the benefit of students and other scholars—is the observation that certain technical constraints involved in recarving seem to have determined—at least in part—a primary characteristic of late-antique style, namely the generally stylized features, large eyes and upward gaze. The factors behind the change from one style to the other constitute one of the major questions to be addressed again and again in art history and classical archaeology, and here, certainly, Prusac makes a brave attempt to say something new. This aspect alone is enough for the author to be proud of her work." Rune Frederiksen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.02.11
Table of contents
Preface
Editorial note
Acknowledgments
List of diagrams and sketches
List of figures and photo credits
Introduction The history of sculpture reuse and related problems
The Stand der Forschung of sculpture reuse
The identification of recarved sculpture
Organisation of the material
Terminology
Definitions of “style”
The function of recarved portraits

Chapter One The reuse of sculpture and recarving of portraits
Criteria for identification
Spolia and the recarving of portraiture
The reuse of private sculpture
Relocated and discarded sculpture
Portrait heads in secondary contexts
Pagan sculpture in the Early Christian period
The reuse of statuary in late-antique Constantinople
Marmora et ornamenta
The archetype of portraits

Chapter Two Statistical analyses
The relationship between new and recarved portraits
Test case within a defined geographical area

Chapter Three The 1st-2nd centuries ce and the damnatio memoriae portraits
The significance of imperial portraiture
The damnatio memoriae portraits
Female portraits

Chapter Four The 3rd century ce
Economy and reuse
The styles of the recarved portraits from the 3rd century ce
Gallienus and a break with tradition
The soldier emperor portraits
The philosopher portraits
A change in portrait function

Chapter Five Late Antiquity and the emergence of new visual expressions
The Tetrarchic period
The Constantinian period
Visual expression in the Constantinian period
From Valentinian I to Justinian I
Private recarved portraits in Late Antiquity

Chapter Six Recarving methods
Marble and quarries
Workshops
Tools
From face to face
Hairstyles
Facial features
Ears
Eyes
The lower facial features and the mouth
Techniques

Chapter Seven
The Bandit group
The Helmet group
The Ephesos-Tetrarch group
The Athens group
The Plotinus group
The Eutropius group
The Iamblichus group
From the Bandit group to the Eutropius group: a development of technique?

Chapter Eight Social aspects
Imperial vs. private portraits
Gods and humans
Recarvings across gender lines
Recarved female portraits
Recarved portraits on sarcophagi
Norms
Conclusions Oblivion and reinvention
Summary
Map with portrait provenances
The Roman imperial succession until Justinian I
Catalogue of recarved portraits
Introduction to the catalogue
Period 1. Male portraits Imperial
Private
Female portraits Imperial
Private
Period 2. Male portraits Imperial
Private
Female portraits Imperial
Private
Period 3 Male portraits Imperial
Private
Female portraits Imperial
Private
Bibliography
Ancient sources
Modern sources
Index of museums and collections
Concordances
General index
Figure plates

Readership
All those interested in the history of Late Antiquity, Classical archaeology, art history, technical conservation