28 roman political art


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  • An older woman depicted – no doubt that she is of old age. Attention to a fashionable hairstyle with an elaborate knot tied back from her forehead. Sunken cheeks are a sign of age, experience, and therefore wisdom. For Romans, the concept of following traditions was paramount. The core values can be summed up with the phrase “ Mos Maiorum ” – the ways of the ancestors. These traditions were what was meant to be followed – the proper way to act.
  • Shows that he is a Roman citizen – head is not the original. A family would make masks of the deceased ancestors out of plaster and mold and process to express the glory of their family and their ancestors. Shows the expression of a recent dead patrician holding the heads of this ancestors, establishing their connection and accomplishments.
  • Funerary traditions of the less wealthy – graves line up along roads outside the city walls. There would be monuments for specific families. Viterbo – outside of Rome. This is a family marker, showing the members of the family. Inscription says it was built according to the will of Primus – the rightmost figure. There is a central and older figure, wearing a military uniform and breastplate, and to the left is the woman Gestia. Shows two freed slaves – right inscription says that Gestia carried out the will of the monument, and they included their former master on the monument, the person from whom they received their freedom. Also, shows that Primus died first. Shows that lower members of society are taking part in the struggle for social status.
  • Caesar succeeded in defeating Pompey and saw to his death, and became dictator of Rome – a position used as a one year office for times of emergency in 48-45 BC. In 44 BC, he was about to be named dictator for life. Alexander and Kings of the Hellenistic Kingdoms put their names and faces on coins – this was not something that a Roman had done before. He is acting like a King. Caesar was assassinated because the Romans were nervous about kingship.
  • Caesar’s nephew and adopted son, Octavian, 19 at the time that Julius died. He overcame his father assassinators, as well as Marc Antony and Cleopatra. He began to refer to himself as Primus Inter Pares – first among equals. He did not go out of his way to seek the titles that Julius Caesar had – roles that no one else could have. He also refused to be worshiped as a god. He also became a family values type of politician. He wanted to curb the behavioral problems of the period – cracking down on adultery, encouraging births (cash awards for every birth). He put his own family forward as an example to the rest of the empire – how to behave. Shows Augustus in a toga, with head covered as it should be during a ritual, he is pious. There is very little age represented. He got rid of verism as a style to create a break from the past – he wanted to show that it was a new area of peace – the Pax Augusta. He reigned from 31 BC – 43 CE.
  • This was created a few years after his death – yet he does not look like a senior citizen. Presumably a copy of a public version of a sculpture. He is addressing a crowd – wearing an ornate breastplate, emphasizing his victory in battle. He is barefoot – a sign that he has been deified, which happened after his death. At his foot is a baby riding a dolphin. Dolphins are associated with Venus, and the baby, Cupid, is his son – and he is reaching up to Augustus. This is because the Julius family claimed that Venus was one of their ancestors – he is showing his divine lineage.
  • This sculpture is in the Greek Classical ideal style of the 5 th century. The face in expression and style and the contrapostto pose is extremely similar. This is not an accident. August is creating a break from the bad times of war, and referencing back to older times of peace.
  • On the breastplate is a chariot flying through the heavens – the sun god, Sol. He is flying up towards dawn – a dawn of a new era. The central pair of figures shows a Roman receiving Roman military standards from someone of the east. This is an event that Augustus is fairly proud of. There was Augustus, Pompey, and Craissus – who went off to Syria in the east for battle – he and his men were killed. Their standards were taken, and Augustus was later able to negotiate to get them back. This is an emphasis of a new dynasty.
  • Augustus built many monuments, and wrote a kind of autobiography called the Res Gestae – which was essentially a list of things accomplished. He boasted that he came to Rome as a city in brick and left it as a city of marble. To pacify the declaration of peace in Rome, he traveled to all corners to proclaim this. To welcome him back to the city of Rome – the senate voted that a altar to Augustus should be built in the street where he bought return to commemorate the time of peace. This was completed and inaugurated in 9 BCE on Livia’s birthday – a stand in for motherhood.
  • Shows the road in relation to the altar of peace. There is an obulusk taken as loot from Egypt – it is an enormous sun dial. On Augustus’ birthday, the shadow of the pointer extends to his altar.
  • The walls are heavily sculpted – depicting mythological scenes. Showing Romulus and Aeneis, and earth as a female - Tellus, and the personification of Rome - Roma.
  • The southside shows a whole group of people processing to worship the goddess Pax. In celebration of a religious festival – must be related to a similar subject on the Parthenon (which shows the Panatheniac Procession).
  • Not well preserved – but shows Augustus acting as the priest, with many other figures behind him. There are also body guards. Augustus is identified by the three locks of hair that come down on his forehead.
  • These are the state priests of the major cults – identifiable due to their hats. Augustus’ right hand man Agrippa is shown - is married off to Augustus’ daughter Julia.
  • Women are heavily draped – traditional, and not overly sexual women, also, for the very first time, children depicted in sculpture. Shows Julia and her children Gias and Lucius that were adopted to be heirs to the throne, but they died before Augustus. There is an emphasis on family and fertility and peace and how these concepts intersect
  • 28 roman political art

    1. 1. ARTH 2402 Classical Art and Archaeology
    2. 2. Pompey Rome Middle of 1 st c. BCE
    3. 4. Old woman Palombara Sabina 40-30 BCE
    4. 5. Patrician with busts of his ancestors Rome 1 st century CE
    5. 6. Family of Publius Gessius Viterbo 30-13 BCE
    6. 7. Coin of Julius Caesar, 44 BCE
    7. 8. Augustus as Priest Rome End of 1 st c. BCE
    8. 9. Prima Porta Augustus Ca. 20 CE
    9. 12. Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace), 13-9 BCE
    10. 13. Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace), 13-9 BCE
    11. 14. Ara Pacis (Altar of Augustan Peace), 13-9 BCE
    12. 15. Ionic frieze, Parthenon, Athens, 437-432 BCE
    13. 16. South side, Augustus and officials
    14. 17. South side, Augustus and officials
    15. 18. South side, State priests and Agrippa
    16. 19. South side, Family procession
    17. 20. South side, Family procession
    18. 21. North side, Senators ’ procession
    19. 22. Gemma Augustea, ca. 10 CE
    20. 23. Gemma Augustea ca. 10 CE
    21. 24. Claudius as Jupiter Rome after 54 CE
    22. 25. Vespasian Rome 69-79 CE
    23. 26. Titus 79-81 CE
    24. 27. Trajan and Hadrian
    25. 28. Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue Rome 164-166 CE
    26. 29. Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue, Rome, 164-166 CE
    27. 30. Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue Rome 164-166 CE
    28. 31. Commodus as Hercules Rome 180-190 CE
    29. 32. Septimius Severus, ca. 200-210 CE
    30. 33. Septimius Severus Nicosia, Cyprus ca. 200-210 CE
    31. 34. Julia Domna ca. 193-210 CE
    32. 35. Severan family portrait, Fayum, Egypt, ca. 195-200 CE
    33. 36. Trebonianus Gallus 251-253 CE
    34. 37. Trebonianus Gallus 251-253 CE
    35. 38. The Tetrarchs Venice ca. 305 CE
    36. 39. The Tetrarchs, Venice, ca. 305 CE
    37. 40. The Tetrarchs, Venice, ca. 305 CE
    38. 41. The Tetrarchs Vatican ca. 300 CE
    39. 42. Basilica of Maxentius, 306-313 CE
    40. 43. Basilica of Maxentius, 306-313 CE
    41. 44. Basilica of Maxentius, 306-313 CE
    42. 45. Basilica of Maxentius, 306-313 CE
    43. 46. Constantine, 313 CE
    44. 47. Constantine, 313 CE
    45. 48. Constantine, 313 CE