The talk will be held in German.
The French Antiquaries Facing the Ancient Portrait. Approximations to an Appropriation
When they wished to approach the ancient portrait, the French antiquaries from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century primarily struck out in two directions. On the one hand, they could choose the form of a collection of portraits, rooted in the biographical text, of famous figures of the ancient world, or of both the ancient and post-antique world, which was published as a single opus, later also as serial publications. On the other hand, they could opt for a more intensive engagement with the material remains of antiquity: in that case, broad collections of ancient coins, gems, and sculptures would be presented to a wide public, or more closely defined collection materials or curious individual pieces would be presented to a more restricted circle of readers. Some of these publications were explicitly addressed to artists, in order to provide them with models for the representation of famous ancient figures. The latter would then have an influence on the representational options available in the contemporary portrait. The lecture will focus on select examples from France illustrating this many-layered process of appropriation of ancient portrait culture. Building on this, it will discuss both the process by which the perception of ancient portraits became scientific, and the transfer of knowledge between the sphere of the antiquaries and the contemporary sculptors.
Respondent: Thoralf Schröder (Cologne)