Pliny the Elder and the Portraits of Ancient Authors

Author: Eva Falaschi

In: Ute Tischer, Ursula Gärtner, Alexandra Forst (eds), Ut pictura poeta. Author Images and the Reading of Ancient Literature / Autorbilder und die Lektüre antiker Literatur

Publisher: Turnhout: Brepols Publishers

Year: 2022

Pages: 51-78

DOI: 10.1484/M.GIFBIB-EB.5.128840

Buy Now

Description: Pliny the Elder’s passage on libraries and the presence of the writers’ portraits inside them is one of the most famous in the studies dedicated to this topic. However, the investigation into the importance, for Pliny, of the images of authors has never been extended to all the art historical chapters contained in the Naturalis Historia. This paper intends to analyse the function of writers’ portraits in the entire book 33-36 of the Naturalis Historia, in order to evaluate in a more complete perspective the artistic and literary values that Pliny the Elder attributes to these artworks, starting from the way he uses them in his discussion on Greek art and artists.
Keywords: Pliny the Elder, portraits, writers, philosophers, authors, libraries