The Animated Image
Many Romans wrote about the belief that an image - a sculpture or painting, as well as a verbal description or a personage on stage - is not a representation, but the image’s prototype or that an image had particular aspects of life. A first group of authors explained these believes as incorrect observation or wrong mental processing by the beholder. Other authors pointed at the excellent craftsmanship of the maker of the image. A third group looked at the supernatural involvement of its prototype, often a god. Together these discourses on the animation of images bring us to what intellectuals from all over the Roman empire saw as reprehensible or acceptable in beholding images as works of art or as cult images. Moreover, these discourses touch upon ontological and epistemological problems. The barrier between life and death was explored and also the conditions to obtain knowledge from observation.