Reading Greek Vases

Reading Greek Vases

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Ann Steiner
Cambridge University Press, 2007-01-08
EAN 9780521825221, ISBN10: 0521825229

Paperback, 358 pages, 25.6 x 18.6 x 3.2 cm

Repetition and symmetry are the fundamental aesthetic principles underlying the shape and decoration of ancient Athenian vases. This book is the first comprehensive study of the role of repetition beyond its aesthetic value, and as part of a code that conveys meaning to the viewer. Relying on the theoretical background provided through information theory and narratology, Ann Steiner uncovers the different kinds of meaning that painters created through the use of repetition. Using the reading of painted verbal inscriptions as a springboard, she demonstrates how repetition of imagery in multiple fields of a vase can create narration, paradigm, exploration of perceptual and ideological points of view, and parody. Steiner shows how the results of repetition on Archaic Athenian vases reiterate the activities of the elite symposion and the broader cultural values of the elite Athenians. She provides an entirely new way to read ancient Athenian vases.