Submission Title

Roman Copies: Artistic Emulation and Forgery in the First Century

Presenter Information

Sarah Spouse, Whitworth University

Session Number

SS6

Location

Robinson 229

Abstract Number

SS6-c

Abstract

Forgeries are an inextricable part of the art world. Some scholars attest that the first instances of art forgery can be traced to the Classical Roman period due to the presence of a growing art market and the veneration of Roman copies. Despite their obvious imitation of Hellenic works, Roman copies of earlier artworks have established themselves as legitimate pieces of art with inherent monetary and historical value. In the contemporary art world, imitations are regarded as intellectually cheap, and deserving of no particular attention. Good art is original art; originality being valued as much as technical skill. However, does the same thought process hold true in the context of the Roman culture in the first century BC? Romans do not seem to have attached a special value to the name of the artist when acquiring a work. Nor is there an implied favor for originals over copies. What role did Roman copies play in society and in the establishment of artistic practice? Was art forgery a common occurrence in ancient Rome? This session will use Roman copies in order to examine the role of artistic emulation and forgery in the art world.

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Apr 23rd, 1:30 PM Apr 23rd, 3:00 PM

Roman Copies: Artistic Emulation and Forgery in the First Century

Robinson 229

Forgeries are an inextricable part of the art world. Some scholars attest that the first instances of art forgery can be traced to the Classical Roman period due to the presence of a growing art market and the veneration of Roman copies. Despite their obvious imitation of Hellenic works, Roman copies of earlier artworks have established themselves as legitimate pieces of art with inherent monetary and historical value. In the contemporary art world, imitations are regarded as intellectually cheap, and deserving of no particular attention. Good art is original art; originality being valued as much as technical skill. However, does the same thought process hold true in the context of the Roman culture in the first century BC? Romans do not seem to have attached a special value to the name of the artist when acquiring a work. Nor is there an implied favor for originals over copies. What role did Roman copies play in society and in the establishment of artistic practice? Was art forgery a common occurrence in ancient Rome? This session will use Roman copies in order to examine the role of artistic emulation and forgery in the art world.