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Prudentius and the Landscapes of Late Antiquity$
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Cillian O'Hogan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749226

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749226.001.0001

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Describing Art

Describing Art

Chapter:
(p.133) 5 Describing Art
Source:
Prudentius and the Landscapes of Late Antiquity
Author(s):

Cillian O’Hogan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749226.003.0006

Prudentius expresses considerable unease about the appropriateness of paintings at martyr sites as a reliable means of conveying information about the cult of the saints. He attempts to control the ambiguity of images in Peristephanon 9 and 11 by giving verbal descriptions of the martyrdoms of Cassian and Hippolytus. In the accounts of the churches set up in honour of Eulalia, Hippolytus, and Peter and Paul, Prudentius alludes to earlier descriptions of highly ornate palaces and buildings in order to call into question the appropriateness of such elaborate structures in a religion that prizes humility and that cherishes the poor.

Keywords:   art, wealth, Peristephanon, idolatry, martyrdom

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