Style and Function in Roman Decoration: Living with Objects and Interiors

Swift, Ellen Victoria (2009) Style and Function in Roman Decoration: Living with Objects and Interiors. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, 248 pp. ISBN 9780754665632. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This important book puts forward a new interpretation of Roman decorative art, focusing on the function of decoration in the social context. It examines the key areas of social display and conspicuous consumption in the Roman world: social space, entertainment, and dress, and discusses the significance of the decoration of objects and interiors within these contexts, drawing examples from both Rome and its environs, and the Western Roman Provinces, from the early Imperial period to late antiquity. Focusing on specific examples,including mosaics and other interior decor, silver plate, glass and pottery vessels, and jewellery and other dress accessories, Swift demonstrates the importance of decoration in creating and maintaining social networks and identities and fostering appropriate social behaviour, and its role in perpetuating social convention and social norms. It is argued that our understanding of stylistic change and the relationship between this and the wider social context in the art of the Roman period is greatly enhanced by an initial focus on the particular social relationships fostered by decorated objects and spaces. The book demonstrates that an examination of so-called 'minor art' is fundamental in any understanding of the relationship between art and its social context, and aims to reinvigorate debate on the value of decoration and ornament in the Roman period and beyond.

Item Type: Book
Additional information: Reviewers have commented on its significant and original contribution to the discipline, its fresh and important insights, potential application widely in art and social history, and successful advocacy of its central thesis regarding the social function of decoration. (J. Clarke in American Journal of Archaeology; G. Metraux in Classical Review; J. Frakes in Journal of Art Historiography.)
Uncontrolled keywords: Roman decoration artefacts art living social life society interiors style silver plate glass pottery jewellery dress accessories mosaics interior decoration
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Ellen Swift
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2009 15:55
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 08:22
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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