Art History Unit 4: The Ancient Roman World

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Art History Unit 4: The Ancient Roman World

 

 

2 / 20 Temple of Portunus. ca. 80–70 BCE The Romans developed a new system of construction using concrete. Concrete is faster,

cheaper, and requires less skilled workers than marble stone. It allowed the Romans to

quickly establish a new Roman center in newly conquered territories.

 

 

3 / 20 Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia. Late second century BCE Architectural style of the Roman Empire shows an influence from the Ancient Greek civilization.

Although there is a visual, decorative impression of Greek architecture, the purpose and structural design

of each Roman building was created to serve the purpose of the government.

 

 

4 / 20 Arches Instead of relying on the post and lintel contstruction of the past, the Romans developed the arch system.

 

 

5 / 20 Sculptural relief from statue base, showing sea thiasos and census. Late second to early first century BCE Greek sculpture focused on stories of the Gods, whereas Romans created images relating to their government.

 

 

6 / 20 Veristic male portrait. Early first century BCE Veristic is Roman for “true.” Romans created realistic portraits of their leaders.

Rather than creating images of an idealized youth, portraits of men accurately displayed their age.

For the Romans, age was a symbol of maturity and intellect.

 

 

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Augustus of Primaporta. Possibly Roman copy of a statue of ca. 20 CE • In contrast, the young Augustus Caesar chose to portray himself as an

idealized youth.

• The draped cloth also resembles the Ancient Greek sculptures, as does the

image of Eros and Cupid at his leg.

• The most notable Roman element is the warrior chest plate, a symbol of a

military leader, with a military scene decorating the surface.

 

 

8 / 20 Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius. 161-180 CE. A statue of gilded bronze, it is a symbol of military power.

 

 

9 / 20 Ara Pacis Augustae, Imperial Procession south frieze. 13–9 BCE Since the Roman Empire was lead by an emperor, who was born into his role, we see an increase of imagery devoted to

the family: women, young children, and the elderly are all present in this frieze.

 

 

10 / 20 Colosseum. 72–80 CE

 

 

11 / 20 Colosseum, interior view

 

 

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Colosseum (continued)

• Colosseum was the largest structure ever built at the time of its completion.

• To celebrate its opening, Rome enjoyed 100 days of gladiatorial games.

• Local seamen would install large sailcloth awnings on hot days.

• The wooden floor could be removed and the base flooded with water, to re-

enact naval war scenes.

• The entire structure is made out of concrete. It originally had a travertine

marble façade.

• The design allowed for the ease of citizens to move in and out of the

building freely and without congestion.

• The sports arenas of today are still designed after the basic floorplan of the

Colosseum.

• This was done to prevent raiders from stealing the artifacts left in the tombs,

which happened in Giza by invading forces.

 

 

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Pantheon. Completed ca. 125 CE • Dedicated to “all the Gods”, the Pantheon is a perfectly circular temple.

• Constructed out of concrete nearly 2000 years ago, to this day it is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome to exist.

• The interior has a coffered ceiling, which originally had bronze stars to represent the night sky.

• The interior design focuses on horizontal lines, which gives the dome the feeling of floating above the walls.

• The Pantheon is the best preserved relic from the Roman Empire, and has been a well used structure since its creation.

 

 

14 / 20 Pantheon. Interior

 

 

15 / 20 Aqueduct. First or early second century CE An aqueduct is a structure designated to moving water from natural sources into Roman cities.

It was the first public water system in the world.

 

 

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Portrait of a Woman, from Hawara in the Fayum, Lower Egypt. ca. 110–130 CE • In contrast, the young Augustus Caesar chose to portray himself as an

idealized youth.

• They are created using encaustic, a method of painting with hot melted

wax mixed with pigments.

• They represent how the Roman Empire influenced civilizations within

their borders.

 

 

17 / 20 Wall painting, Ixion Room, House of the Vettii, Pompeii. 63–79 CE Decorative wall paintings discovered in the ruins of Pompeii is the largest collection Roman paintings to exist.

 

 

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Portrait of Constantine the Great. Early fourth century CE • Constantine was a powerful Roman Emperor who united a divided Republic.

• He is known for establishing Christianity as the religion of the Empire.

• At a meeting called The Council of Nicaea, Constantine and church leaders established many Christian rules that still

exist today: the end of gladiatorial games, Sunday being a day of rest, and how to decide the date of Easter each year.

• He moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, Turkey.

 

 

19 / 20 Arch of Constantine. 312–315 CE A victory monument that re-used decorative elements from other structures on a new concrete frame.

 

 

20 / 20 Basilica of Maxentius, renamed Basilica of Constantine. Begun ca. 307 CE Example of the basilica floor plan. Once used for political structures, later adapted for Christian churches.

 

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