PYRAMIDS, PALACES & GREAT BIG WALLS -
The Greek city states were unable to stay together as a
unified nation and around 146 BC, Greece fell to the Romans. At this time,
Rome was the greatest power in the civilized world, and at its very peak.
The Romans were a practical people, less interested in art
and beauty than the Greeks before them. They took what they liked from the
Greeks (Gods), Etruscans and other conquered peoples, and made major
contributions to art, mostly in the form of architecture and civil
engineering. They constructed roads, aqueducts and public baths; the ruins
of which are still impressive and have made it impossible for later
civilizations to forget the "grandeur that was Rome".
Contributions of Roman Architecture:
Concrete A mixture of powdered
minerals and small stones used to create buildings with great
domes and ceilings. (e.g. the Pantheon in Rome).
The Round Arch (dome) This
curved arrangement of stones over an open space increased
architectural design possibilities. A series of round arches could
also be used to build bridges and other structures.
The Aqueduct (Viaduct) A
network of man-made channels was constructed to carry water to a
city using round arches to span high valleys (e.g. 600 yards at
Nimes) while retaining the slope for the water to flow. Viaducts
allowed the armies easier access to less hospitable areas and
enable trade of goods from these areas.
The Triumphal Arch
Contributions of Roman Sculpture:
Portraits Roman portraits
(busts) were made to show specific individuals without
Relief sculpture Large columns
and triumphal arches were often covered with reliefs depicting the
deeds of emperors in battle.
Equestrian statues Statues of
men on horseback. The man was often an emperor.
- The Lupa Romana, 5th-6th cent. BC,
Etruscan bronze 33 1/2" high. Palazo dei Conservatori, Rome. Photographic
|One of the most
famous animals in the history of world art, the She-wolf of
the capital (Lupus Romana) owes her fame not simply to
antiquity and magnificence as a work of art , but for
centuries she has been the totem of the city of Rome. Ancient
legend tells us that the founding heroes of Rome, Romulus and
Remus, abandoned as infants, were suckled by a she-wolf. The
cult of Romulus and Remus was as old as the 4th century BC and
we know that a statue of the wolf was dedicated on the
Capitoline Hill in Rome in 296 BC. The present statue may not
be the original.
vitality of Etruscan art is concentrated in the tense,
watchful animal body, with its spare flanks, gaunt ribs and
powerful legs. The lowering neck and head, the alert ears,
glaring eyes and ferocious muzzle render the psychic
vibrations of the fierce and simultaneously protective beast;
the incised lines along the neck of the bronze produce raising
heckles as it watches danger approach. This bronze surpasses
the great Assyrian reliefs in it's profound reading of animal
- Revelers, c. 475 BC, frieze 42" x 76"
Tomb of Leopards, Tarquinia. Reproduction photograph.
|The Tarquinians adorned the
walls of their subterranean tomb chambers with colorful and
lively murals. This small chamber tomb is decorated in the
manner favored in Tarquinia during the 5th century BC: a
banquet scene on the wall opposite the entrance and groups of
dancers and musicians on the side walls. These wonderfully
vital pictures express especially well the peculiarly
life-affirming exuberance that fills Etruscan art as it must
has filled Etruscan existence.
young men, one clad only in a light scarf, the other two in
elegant cloaks seem to be hurrying through a grove of graceful
laurel trees. The leader carries a cup of wine and is
beckoning the others who play the double flute and
seven-stringed lyre. The seem to already be dancing, facing
rhythmically in opposite directions as if performing some
circling step. The gestures have a kind of choreographic
exaggeration, especially those of the enlarges hands and
fingers of the flautist, which hold and touch the instrument
with sureness and delicacy.
It is rare in a painting of the ancient
world that spirited movement is portrayed so convincingly, and
it would be difficult to find from that time so fitting a
monument to the beauty of youth, springtime, music and dance.
The picture is a kind of fresco painting on a thin slip
applied to the rock wall or on a stucco paste made from the
rock. The colors - blacks, blues, blue-greens and ochre reds -
still retain much of their original freshness and harmonize
easily and naturally with the creamy yellow ground.
Head of Aphrodite, 1st cent BC to 1st
cent AD, J Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA, Scale reproduction statue.
| The bronze original was
inspired by the "Knidia" by Praxiteles the first nude goddess
of love in Greek art. An interesting feature is the sculptor's
use of a real gold earring with a tiny pearl added to it. In
spite of it's small scale, the piece shows the true
monumentality of classical art.
Antefix, c.79 AD, Roman villa tile.
|Antefixes were ornamental tiles
used on classical buildings to conceal the ends of the joint
tiles of the roof and to prevent birds from nesting inside.
Arch of Titus, 81 AD ,
Forum Romanum, Rome. Marble Frieze. Reproduction photograph.
|This archway relief shows
soldiers of the Roman army carrying spoils from the temple in
Jerusalem, including the 7 branched candelabrum from the Holy
of Holies. The panel is severely damaged. The marching files
press forward from the left background into the center
foreground and disappear through the obliquely paced arch in
the right background. The energy and swing of the column
suggest a rapid marching cadence. the the chant of
triumph. The carving is extremely deep. The heads of the
forward figures have been broken off., probably because they
stood vulnerably free from the block, emphasizing their
different placement in space from the heads in low relief,
which are intact.
The Dionysian Procession, mid 2nd
cent. AD, El-Djem Antiquarium, mosaic. Reproduction photograph.
|This detail is of Silenus on a
camel with bacchante and panther. As the god of wine and the
grape, the Greek Dionysius had a strong appeal for the
wine-loving Romans., who knew him as Bacchus. Silenus was the
tutor of Bacchus (Dionysius) and is always depicted as fat and
drunk. A bacchante is a priestess. Alongside paces a panther,
and animal sacred to Bacchus.
the festival of Dionysius, Jews were compelled to walk in the
procession under the eye of Syrian guards and Hellenizers.
Amid the beating of drums and gongs, trumpet blasts and wild
shouts honoring the wine god, they marched along, wearing
wreaths of ivy (a symbol of Dionysius) their heads bowed in
shame and humiliation.
While the Greeks used colored stones to
create mosaic designs, the Romans excelled in this art. Small
pieces of marble were cut polished and fitted together to make
an image. Floor mosaics were made of pieces one to two
centimeters across. Wall mosaics were made with more care and
used much smaller stones, many less than a millimeter in
diameter. When completed, the entire surface was polished to
feel like a smooth sheet of glass. the grading of colors and
values to create rounded forms is difficult when the colors
and values must be found in nature.
Portraits, 4 panels of various
reproduction photographs of busts (may
show as a group)
|These are very individualistic portraits,
displaying more fidelity to their subject than the stylized
examples produced by previous cultures.
Colosseum, 80 AD, Rome. Reproduction
|A large, oval amphitheatre built in Rome
between 70 and 80 AD. This structure displays all three levels
of classical columns - Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. For 285 days
of the year, gladiators slaves and animals fought here. The
arena could be flooded to form an artificial lake for
reenactment of sea battles. Tarpaulins were erected for
protection of the audience from the sun. Animals and gladiators
were brought up from underground areas by elevator. The
Colosseum was built to amuse the general population.
1st Century AD, Roman,
Pont du Gard, Nimes, France, reproduction photograph (see
Grade 2 Lesson 7
|This is an example of the many
aqueducts built by the Romans throughout their conquered
European provinces. It reaches 160 feet high and carries water
from over 25 miles away.
The Pantheon, 118 AD, M Agrippa, Rome. Reproduction Photograph
Interior of the Pantheon, 18th cent. Giovanni Paolo Pannini,
Italian (1691-1765) painting. Reproduction photograph.
|The Greeks created exteriors of
exquisite harmony, but it was the Romans that gave the Western
world a grandly conceived interior. The Pantheon of Rome, one of
the most famous buildings in the world, was commissioned by the
Emperor Hadrian in 118 AD. it was the world's largest dome for
more than 18 centuries. Originally built as a temple to the
Roman gods, it is now a Christian church and mausoleum. (Raphael
is buried there)