The Phantom Image

The Phantom Image : Seeing the Dead in Ancient Rome

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How could something as insubstantial as a ghost be made visible through the material grit of stone and paint? In this original and wide-ranging study, Patrick R. Crowley uses the figure of the ghost to offer a new understanding of the status of the image in Roman art and visual culture. Tracing the shifting practices and debates in antiquity about the nature of vision and representation, Crowley shows how images of ghosts make visible structures of beholding and strategies of depiction. Yet the figure of the ghost simultaneously contributes to a broader conceptual history that accounts for how modalities of belief emerged and developed in antiquity. Neither illustrations of ancient beliefs in ghosts nor depictions of the afterlife more generally, these images ultimately show us something about the visual event of seeing itself. The Phantom Image will be essential for anyone interested in ancient art, visual culture, and the history of the image.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 178 x 254mm
  • University of Chicago Press
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 022664829X
  • 9780226648293

Review quote

"The Phantom Image is as unique as its subject matter. Crowley shows impressive command of the historiographic and theoretical background while creating a book that is up-to-the-minute in terms of contemporary sources. This is an ambitious study in its intellectual, cultural, and chronological scope that focuses on some heretofore marginalized monuments and makes them central to an understanding of Roman visual culture."--Barbara Kellum, Smith College
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About Patrick R Crowley

Patrick R. Crowley is assistant professor of art history at the University of Chicago.
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