“Mobile statuary”: Refractions of pantomime dancing from Callistratus to Emma Hamilton and Andrew Ducrow

  • Ismene Lada-Richards


In this article I look at the European legacy of Graeco-Roman pantomime dancing through the prism of statuary. Starting from the late antiqueDescriptiones of the sophist and art critic Callistratus, a text which, as I argue, is mediated by the aesthetic experience and performance practice of the pantomime stage, I consider some fascinating early modern ways of coupling theatricalmimesis with the plastic arts, namely, the so-called “Attitudes” of Lady Emma Hamilton and the equestrian pantomimes of Andrew Ducrow. What they share with ancient pantomime is the art of building character and passion through mute corporeal eloquence as well as the thrilling experience of bridging the statuesqueness of the plastic arts and the unfolding narrative of the dramatic stage, a blend which was a distinctive feature of ancient pantomime dancing.


Classical Tradition British Museum Aesthetic Experience Contemporary Account Inert Matter 
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© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ismene Lada-Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ClassicsKing’s College LondonStrandUK

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