Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, 100 B.C. - A.D. 250

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So some of his listed questions cannot be asked. But he assumes plausibly that cups of silver and expensive items of glass were purchased, owned and used by wealthy patrons, whereas the mass-produced Arretine pottery was valued but affordable by middle and lower class owners.

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In Chapter 3, he reviews the depiction of male-male lovemaking, and in Chapter 4 the representation of male-female love making. What emerges is the clear fact that scenes of lovemaking were every where available for owners of every social status, and were in use.

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Looking at Lovemaking depicts a sophisticated, pre-Christian society that placed a high Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, B.C.-A.D. , Part Anthony Corbeill, University of Kansas"Looking at Lovemaking proves Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art, B.C. – A.D. , Part

People drank from cups that showed intercourse of single pairs or pairs of male-male alternating with male-female; and they ate from dishes that showed similar scenes. It was not a hidden pleasure, one that men shared with select friends; on the contrary, men, women, and children looked idly or fixedly at this love making as they dined and drank. And no doubt, as later at Pompeii and Herculaneum, they had large pictures on the same subject to view on the walls.

Far from being pornography, this art was a regular aspect of daily life. One villa in Rome from the time of Augustus did survive, for excavators to discover in , when the great embankment along the Tiber was being built to end the danger of recurring floods.

This villa, named at the time the Farnesina, had to be destroyed, but much of its decoration, stucco, wall paintings, etc. In any case, it was the home of wealthy people, and so its decorations, which include pictures of restrained lovemaking, offer precious material to C. There was a series of rooms, which archaeologists misleadingly call cubicula, as though their single function was to provide a bedroom. In the 19th century, it was a standard deduction for scholars to assume that a picture of lovemaking in a cubiculum was absolute proof that lovemaking was the main activity of the room.

In the Farnesina, the pictures of lovemaking such as it was were minor elements of the wall decoration.

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There was a principal picture in white, of a stately deity; it was bordered on each side by a wide band of black, then a pair of painted candelabras against a black background. Above the candelabras, hardly one-fifth the size of the main picture, were two versions of love-making. Of the pictures that were detached and murkily preserved, all show a couple on a bed, but no sexual intercourse is occurring. In most of the pictures, the woman is fully clothed; in one she is bare-breasted.

In three, she is kissing or embracing the man. No genitalia are visible.

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  2. National Accounts of Oecd Countries: Main Aggregates 1991-2002 (National Accounts of Oecd Countries Comptes Nationaux Des Pays De Locde);
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If this is lovemaking, then, it is a decorous preliminary to the real thing. And I find myself skeptical about C. These Farnesina pictures were too minor in the total decoration and too restrained in representation to fit our otherwise generous picture of Roman openness to the pleasures of lovemaking. Chapter 5 takes up the interest the Romans had in representing the sexuality of exotic types. The Hellenistic Greeks had been fascinated with pygmies; the Romans frequently depicted on mosaics black slaves who were, like Petronius' Ascyltos, macrophallic.

Since these slaves are never shown making love, it is a fair question whether C. Of course, he is trying to argue that these macrophallic specimens had some apotropaic value for the Romans. They have none for us, and, thank God, they aren't making love with anybody. That brings us to Chapters 6 and 7, which allow us to sample the rich lovemaking remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, now at last able to ask all the questions of p. Chapter 6 limits itself to private houses, and Chapter 7 deals with public buildings, from taverns and whore houses to baths.

Taking one house after another, he shows that the room-arrangement meant that these so-called "cubicula" with their pictures were in fact ordinary rooms for conversation, business, casual drinking, for both sexes and their friends. Therefore, the picture of lovemaking is no more specific to the use of the room or the attitude of the viewers than a cubist picture of Picasso or a De Koening on the wall of a private collection today.

What C.

In the first place, we need to know where this particular luxurious taste came from. But he shows us only one such, if it is, the House of the Centenary.

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Berkeley: University of California Press. New York: Harry N. De Caro, S. Naples: Electa. Dover, K. Paris: Abel Ledoux. Hallett, J. Skinner eds Roman Sexualities. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Halperin, D. New York: Routledge. Winkler and F.

Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art 100 BC-AD 250

Hubbard, T. Jacobelli, L. Johns, C. Clarke shows how this culture evolved within religious, social, and legal frameworks that were vastly different from our own and contributes an original and controversial chapter to the history of human sexuality. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 16th by University of California Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Looking at Lovemaking , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Looking at Lovemaking.

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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jun 25, Roman Clodia rated it really liked it. Clarke is an academic art critic known for his work on sexuality in Greek and Roman art.