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Pliny the Elder

    Full Name: Pliny the Elder

    Gender: male

    Date Born: unknown

    Date Died: 79

    Place Died: Pompeii, Napoli, Campania, Italy

    Home Country/ies: Roman Empire

    Subject Area(s): art history, art theory, books, literature (general genre), and natural history

    Institution(s): Roman Empire


    Describes and discusses art in books 34-36 of Historia Naturalis. Using a biomorphic paradigm to describe artistic development, Pliny uses a birth/development/decline method to art which would be highly influential for the art methodology of the middle ages and renaissance. In this sense he carries on the legacy of Xenokrates influencing as late a scholar as Johann Joachim Winckelmann. Pliny avoided discussing works of art as isolated examples of history.

    Selected Bibliography

    Historia Naturalis.


    Kultermann, Udo. The History of Art History. New York: Abaris, 1993, p. 3.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Pliny the Elder." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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