Scala/Art Resource NY

“A Roman copy of a Greek masterpiece.” Thus have scholars dismissed Roman statuary. But is it true? Not according to author Miranda Marvin, who argues that Roman sculptors behaved like other Roman artists—such as painters. This elegant first-century C.E. depiction of a woman decanting perfume, for example, from Rome’s Villa Farnesina, resembles the fifth-century B.C.E. Greek painting shown later in this article. The Roman image, however, is part of a larger work—showing the interior wall of a house, where the perfume woman is “hung” as a painting within a painting—that includes objects from around the Roman Empire, creating a symbol of Roman power. Isn’t it likely, then, that Roman sculptors made similar uses of Greek images?