Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Looking at Gérôme’s “Pollice Verso” | The Getty Iris - Virgins thumbs
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Pollice verso or verso pollice is a Latin phrase, meaning "with a turned thumb", that is used in Prudentius mentions the thumb gesture (converso pollice), used by a Vestal virgin who delights in the carnage: inde ad consessum caveae pudor. Pollice Verso is an painting by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, featuring the eponymous Roman gesture directed to the winning gladiator. The thumbs-down gesture in the painting is given by spectators at the the modest virgin with a turn of her thumb bids him pierce the breast of his fallen foe so that no remnant.