Color photograph of the head and torso of a light skinned woman in a photographer's studio wearing a black top and blazer and smiling at the camera

Hérica Valladares

National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize
8 settembre 2008–7 agosto 2009
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, Johns Hopkins University
Titolo del progetto
On Tenderness: The Semantics of Love in Roman Painting and Poetry
Descrizione del progetto

My book analyzes representations of tender love in Roman wall painting and Latin poetry between the late first century BCE (ca. 30s BCE) and the mid-first century CE (ca. 60s CE). More specifically, it investigates depictions of lovers that evoke affection and desire, yet stop short of representing the sexual act. A close study of Latin elegiac poetry of the early Augustan age is central to my analysis of these painted love scenes. Through close consideration of the dialogue between media, I delineate a symbolic vocabulary, or semantics of love, through which Romans imagined, visualized, and communicated amorous feeling. In Roman amatory representations, tenderness is both a subject and a mode that inflects images and texts, turning sex into romance. By situating the development of a Roman semantics of love in a broader historical context, I offer new insights into individual works of art and literature and on a much-overlooked facet of early imperial culture.