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Medusa’s Gaze

Marina Belozerskaya

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199739318
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979356 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739318.001.0001

Series: Emblems of Antiquity

Medusa’s Gaze

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  • Ancient and Classical Art (to 500 CE)

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The banded agate bowl known as the Tazza Farnese has, for much of its history, been one of the most admired objects from classical antiquity. Prized and coveted by the mightiest of rulers, it has in our time fallen into relative oblivion and is known only to specialists, and even then incompletely. This account of the “life” of this remarkable masterpiece takes readers on a fascinating trip through history that spans two millennia and journeys from the court of Cleopatra to the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, from Samarqand of Tamerlane to Renaissance Florence under Lorenzo de’ Medici, from Baroque Rome to Enlightenment Naples. Along the way, readers encounter the illustrious as well as the shady figures who have come into contact with this extraordinary artifact, from emperors and conquerors, popes and princes, and artists like Botticelli and Raphael, to forgers, thieves, and a disgruntled museum guard who nearly destroyed the Tazza for all posterity. Through the prism of this precious bowl, Medusa’s Gaze makes history vividly and intimately alive.

Keywords: Agate; cameo; collecting; mythology; history; Cleopatra; Lorenzo de’ Medici; Tamerlane; Naples

Book.  312 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient and Classical Art (to 500 CE)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Medusa’s Gaze

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Cleopatra’s Artifice in Medusa’s Gaze

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Gem Mania in Rome in Medusa’s Gaze

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In Women’s Hands in Medusa’s Gaze

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The Night Watchman in Medusa’s Gaze

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