Why We See What We See



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Learn about Roman Art @ IMA
Learn about the Roman Art from the Louvre Exhibition held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2007.

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What you see is what you get
What does 'what you see is what you get' mean?

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Check out the website of the Musee de Louvre, in Paris, France.

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It's pretty impressive. Check it out online.

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Learn more about the Borghese Collection and the amazing works of art housed there.

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The Forum of Trajan
Emperor Trajan was kind of a big deal. Learn about the Forum of Trajan in Rome.

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Learn more about the Roman Emperor Trajan and the column erected in Rome in his honor.

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See the video of the conservation of a Mainardi painting in the IMA's conservation labs.

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Images from the travel and production of the Roman Art from the Louvre webisodes

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See another Roman Art Webisode
See another Webisode from the Roman Art from the Louvre at the IMA.

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Did the Romans cut off their noses to spite their faces? Well, not really, but their sculptures are definitely noseless. Time is rough on antiquities, whether it is earthquakes, erosion, theft, or a new emperor lopping the head off a statue and replacing it with his own. In the world of ancient art, see how time changes everything!

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00:00:15 In any exhibition of ancient art, what you see is not always what you get. Works of antiquity, which

00:00:26 have been damaged over time, have been restored to a certain extent, and that was certainly the case when many of the pieces

00:00:35 in the Louvre's collection were originally found.

00:00:41 In many cases, the appendages that, sort of, extend beyond the plane of the torso have broken off because of pressures from being buried.

00:00:54 From many artworks here in the Louvre, since our collection is very old, we have objects that have been repaired in ancient times

00:01:06 and in modern times as well. And conservation issues here are about do we keep the modern parts

00:01:15 that have been added in modern times or do we not?

00:01:20 There is a work in the Roman Art from the Louvre, which features the full scale statue of Emperor Trajan.

00:01:28 Here we have a statue of Trajan that has been restored in modern times. I mean, when it was in the Borghese Collection in Italy.

00:01:37 They found many pieces that were, indeed, broken, and they found the head of Trajan and they found the body of Trajan.

00:01:43 And the head does not belong to the body, the arm here is also an addition, and a part of the left arm as well.

00:01:53 There is really no evidence that the head of Trajan actually belonged to the body of Trajan.

00:02:01 It occurs that actually the head and the body are of the same period. They are both genuine, even if they are not part of the same artwork in ancient times.

00:02:13 If we think of paintings in every museum in the world, they have been restored to a certain extent.

00:02:22 If you took off all of the modern restorations, or in-painting, there would be gaps. There would be holes. There would be losses

00:02:32 and, obviously, the paintings wouldn't look as they present themselves today.

00:02:36 These artworks even if it's not completely Roman regular artworks, it is quite interesting because it has a long history.

00:02:46 And many of the artworks here in the Louvre are in this situation.

00:02:50 But the Louvre, of course, because their pieces have a certain history, 17th century or 18th century history, of having been restored,

00:03:00 they do not, today, remove those modern appendages; they simply state on their label copy that the arm is modern or the nose is modern

00:03:10 or whatever has been added, so that they are being honest about it but they don't remove it because that, indeed, is part of its history.