October 28, 2004

3. Masks

Frescos - depicting actors

Pronomos Vase

i. What differences can you discern between the 'tragic' masks depicted in the frescos and the vase?

The masks depicted in the vases look generally more theatrical and character based than those in the frescos. The vase masks convey more emotion and appear in actual play situations, where they look very effective.

ii. Why might the masks be different?

Te Greek vases would be drawing exactly what they know the masks to look like (ie exaggerated face, theatrical), where as the Roman Frescos are drawing their interpretation of Greek masks and, it appears, have made them look more realistic than they actually were.

iii. Why do you think the ancient artists (and viewers) might have been so interested in depictions of actors and masks?

The artists would have been interested because of their fascination with Greek culture and art, and because they would have been interested to know how the masks would have conveyed story and emotion, and in what way they'd have been used.

*The masks also allow the artist to use an amount of artistic licence and imagination that simple stage drawings may not have allowed.*

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