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Mithraic Iconography in Hispania

Reinterpretation of the Catalogue and New Findings

Author: Claudina Romero Mayorga

Summary

This proposal aims to provide an update of the catalogues of findings associated with the mysteries of Mithras in Hispania produced by García y Bellido (1967) and Alvar Ezquerra (1981). A new approach to the archaeological material is needed due to the multiplicity of findings in recent decades and the overcoming of traditional theories in this field of study. We have focused on the figurative monuments, as Mithraic iconography has been considered a mere vehicle for the transmission of the eschatology of the cult.

Although three representations of tauroctony were located in the province of Baetica, the findings of Tróia and Mérida, both in Lusitania, are the most important source of materials in the territory of Hispania. Recent discoveries in Lugo, Altafulla, Cabrera de Mar, Puente Genil, San Juan de la Isla, Barbate, Mérida, along with the revision of the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano collection, have been a great contribution to the study of Mithraism in the Iberian Peninsula.

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The iconography of the Pool of Bethesda is studied in this paper, mainly on the basis of the Budapest painting, attributed to Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot.

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This paper discusses the Mithraic reliefs found in Etruria (Regio VII). The reliefs are analysed and their iconographic, archaeological and chronological features compared with a view to advancing new proposals on the cult of Mithras in the area concerned. The paper focuses first on the new Mithraic relief discovered in Veii and discusses the presence of a specific object that constitutes the most original iconographic feature of the relief. It can be seen aligned behind Mithras' head, which obscures its central part: considering its shape and the presence of the quiver over Mithras' right shoulder, the object can be identified as a bow. The object's specific position, probably connected to the symbolic importance of the bow in the mysteries of Mithras, is unique not only among Mithraic reliefs but also in the surviving Mithraic evidence from the Roman world. The other reliefs from Etruria are analysed, with a brief description of the type of iconography, the chronology and archaeological context of each piece. Comparing the reliefs allows us to pinpoint differences in size, style and chronology, highlighting the uniqueness of the new relief from Veii. These differences can be put down to factors that are yet to be examined in more detail, connected to the clients and the workshops operating in the region. The study concludes that the Veii relief can be considered not only the oldest and most stylistically refined of these pieces, but also one of the earliest attestations of the cult of Mithras in Etruria.

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By the time of his death in 1827, the image of Beethoven as we recognise him today was firmly fixed in the minds of his contemporaries, and the career of Liszt was beginning to flower into that of the virtuosic performer he would be recognised as by the end of the 1830s. By analysing the seminal artwork Liszt at the Piano of 1840 by Josef Danhauser, we can see how a seemingly unremarkable head-and-shoulders bust of Beethoven in fact holds the key to unlocking the layers of commentary on both Liszt and Beethoven beneath the surface of the image. Taking the analysis by Alessandra Comini as a starting point, this paper will look deeper into the subtle connections discernible between the protagonists of the picture. These reveal how the collective identities of the artist and his painted assembly contribute directly to Beethoven’s already iconic status within music history around 1840 and reflect the reception of Liszt at this time. Set against the background of Romanticism predominant in the social and cultural contexts of the mid 1800s, it becomes apparent that it is no longer enough to look at a picture of a composer or performer in isolation to understand its impact on the construction of an overall identity. Each image must be viewed in relation to those that preceded and came after it to gain the maximum benefit from what it can tell us.

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Abstract

This study aims to revisit the creation of opera, symphonic versions of opera and ballet (yangbanxi) during the period of the Cultural Revolution of Mao's China. Beginning with the Kwok Collection (Fundação Oriente, Portugal), I aim to establish a new vision of the yangbanxi (production and reception) by means of an analysis of sources with musical iconography. The focus of the study is on questions of gender and the way in which the feminine was an indispensable tool for the construction and dissemination of the idea of a new nation-state. This study thus aims to make a new contribution to the area, showing how the construction of new opera heroines, communist and of the proletariat, is built on the image of the first “heroine-villain” constructed by the regime, Jiang Qing, the fourth wife of Mao Zedong. The title chosen demonstrates the paradox of the importance of woman in opera and in politics at a time when the only image to be left to posterity was that of a dominant male hero, Mao Zedong.

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( 1979 ): The Conflation of Fortuna and Occasio in Renaissance Thought and Iconography. Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Durham, NC) Vol. 9 , pp. 1 – 27 . Kiefer

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The present article offers new evidence on the Unger playing-card making family of Győr, Western Transdanubia, as the result of a cross-disciplinary study. Mátyás Unger the Elder (1789–1862) and his like-named son Mátyás the Younger (1824–1878) produced various types of playing-cards from the early to mid-19th century. In particular, their cards, their iconography, design and production process will be analysed. The family is best known for their cards with Sopron (Oedenburg) pattern. Also discussed will be the role of Mátyás the Elder’s second eldest son Alajos Unger as a possible designer of the later Unger cards, which were of considerably higher quality than the earlier known ones by Mátyás Unger the Elder. The hitherto little-known Alajos Unger was trained as a draughtsman and painter first at the National Drawing School of his hometown and then, between 1833 and 1842, at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, particularly under Leopold Kupelwieser (1796–1862). Finally an innovative outside-in bottom-up method for gaining further, reliable insight into 19th century artisanal playing-card manufacturing will be proposed to determine the size, output and profitability of the Unger workshop based on material-flow simulation.

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On the East Pediment of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, completed in 432 BC, the Athenians saw a new image of Dionysos as a young man in relaxed attitude. In the following centuries, this new image was the main manifestation of this god in Greek art. Our hypothesis is that in Kratinos’ comedy Dionysalexandros, in Aristophanes’ Frogs, as well as in Euripides’ tragedy Bacchae the Dionysos on stage had to fit to his iconography. This paper is an attempt to reconstruct Dionysos’ figure as presented to the Athenians in the theatre and thus to better understand the message of the three plays.

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Aelius Caesar’s Pannonia coin in light of Hadrian’s succession politics. Pannonia province’s first securely identified personification is found on one of Aelius Caesar’s coin reverses, minted in 137. A.D. Its occurrence can be explained with that he was the newly designated heir to the throne, who was sent to govern both Pannonia Inferior and Superior. Its iconography that is based on Hadrian’s Concordia exercituum coin from 119–120/121, has a clear message, which calls upon the inhabitants of the empire and especially the soldiers to swear allegiance and loyalty to the new heir. It is interesting to see that both Trajan and Hadrian were in command of a large number of troops, when they came to power, just like Aelius. Putting the designated heir in charge of a considerable military strength was a well working way to secure that the throne was passed on to whom it was intended to. Pannonia’s further importance lay in its strategic geographical position, because it was a territory that was in charge of a large army, but was also located closest to Rome.

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The first prominent creation of the Hungarian romantic architecture is Count István Károlyi’s (1797–1881) church in Fót. It attributes to its importance that it was designed by the young Miklós Ybl (1814–1891), and the similar artistic principles and imagination of the Maecenas and the architect created a harmonic set of buildings (church, parsonage, school). The study outlines the known facts of the church, and based on those, attempts to assemble the church’s iconography and chronology.

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