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Showing posts from April, 2010

Reimagining Alma-Tadema

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Just a little note on the reception of Classical Antiquity; a thought experiment if you will. Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the once eminent Victorian painter, specialised in Classicising depictions of Roman life, including several set in bathhouses. They largely feature attractive, frequently nude women within these settings (his protégé John William Godward largely went on to dispense of the settings). Obviously these will contain ahistoricities (although his art has been used even recently to inspire the art direction of films such as Gladiator, which is has a similar ahistorical verisimilitude): the underlying research into ancient architecture is generally good, but the twin forces of more than a century of continued scholarship and the requirement for compaction and elision in artistic composition make this inevitable. So, we're going to make allowances for these mistakes, whatever they may be.

Ok so far? Now replace the female subjects with male.

The results are interesting (and …

Agora and Centurion

BBC Radio Four's Front Row has an enjoyable, fairly short review of the upcoming Agora and Centurion films.
This week sees the release of two feature-films about life under the Roman Empire: Centurion and Agora. Centurion is a thriller set in Northern Britain in the 2nd Century - and follows a group of Roman soldiers trying to evade warriors from the Pict tribe. Agora is set in 4th Century Alexandria - and tells the story of the brilliant astronomer, Hypatia, resisting the religious extremists who want to destroy the city's famous library. Classicist Tom Holland reviews both films and considers cinema's continuing interest in the Classical world.It also has an interesting bit about with Antony Griffiths on his swansong print exhibition at the BM.