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Decoration and Display in Rome's Imperial ThermaeMessages of Power and their Popular Reception at the Baths of Caracalla$
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Maryl B. Gensheimer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190614782

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190614782.001.0001

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The Visual Experience and Reception of the Baths of Caracalla

The Visual Experience and Reception of the Baths of Caracalla

(p.147) 4 The Visual Experience and Reception of the Baths of Caracalla
Decoration and Display in Rome's Imperial Thermae

Maryl B. Gensheimer

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 combines the archaeological and art historical evidence for the Baths’ decorative program with the methodologies of urban anthropology and cognitive space theory to reconstruct the Baths of Caracalla as both a conceptual and physical space. This theoretical frame illuminates the phenomenological experience of the Baths’ spaces and their reception by the Roman public by investigating certain decorative devices and display formats that were central to the visual experience of the Baths. The chapter demonstrates how the dynamic possibilities of the decorative program could reiterate and reinforce the message of the iconographical program as a bather progressed through the complex.

Keywords:   baths, Caracalla, visual experience, intention, reception, cognitive space theory, phenomenology, conceptual space

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