Emily B. Frank
I am interested in reassessing how we think about material interventions in Roman art. Scholarship has well-established impetuses for recarving Imperial portraiture: Caligula’s successors remade his sculptures after the emperor fell out of favor, and Constantine reused earlier Trajanic portraits to incorporate his predecessor’s legacy into his own reputation. I seek to identify a broader range of physical interventions that created the technical context in which such recarvings were possible. The skills required partially evolved because repair and maintenance were commonplace activities, and Roman craftspeople were in physical dialogue with objects. By closely examining these objects—through the lens of my experience in conservation—I will gain access to chapters of objects’ biographies that have been previously overlooked. Accordingly, my working method relies on access to collections, archives, and unpublished departmental records in Rome and across Italy.