Roman graves were marked with Greek style stelae, tombstones with inscriptions, reliefs or both Cremation and cinerary urns And sarcophagi, which Hadrian’s empire considered an expression of status Greek iconography: Four seasons, nude males, contrappasto, Roman order: anatomy proportions are different, Bacchus sits sideways on a panther and holds a thyrsos (a phallic staff surmounted by a pine cone) Bacchus is the god of wine and many deem this as Dionysus He is surrounded by mythological figures, satyrs, goats, cupids, maenads (frenzied female followers) Isophaly is present
Idealized official portraits from the fifth century BCE Veristic- strict realism or naturalism in art and literature Romans designed Classical statues of mature men head was veristic body was idealized Slaves could not possess any family portraits because under Roman law, their parents and grandparents were not people but propertry. Freed slaves often ordered portrait reliefs for their tombs to commemorate their new status as roman citizens. Early Empire Private portraits, mosaics, mythological themes, landscapes, also popular Sensitive studies of the person’s individual face Realistic portrait painted on a conventional figure. Emperors during the Early Empire Portrait and monuments covered with reliefs recounted the rulers’ great deeds Propaganda everywhere as a reminder of their beneficence Bore little resemblance to historical fact Purpose was to mold public opinion Supreme confidence changed to weary , saddened and worried to du Nero’s self indulgence and extravagance
Also pompous trappings of imperial iconography Larger than life size Super human grandeur On a horse for equestrian imperialism expressing majesty and authority Supreme confidence
Portrait of a Roman General from the sanctuary of Hercules, Tivoli, Italy, c 75-50 BCE Based on idealized Greek Statues of heroes and athletes, but the head is veristic likeness Eclectic combination- Roman order
Portrait of a young Flavian lady, c. 90 CE Chronolgy can be determined by women’s hair styles in Roman art as they imitated the fashion of the current empress. Composition and deep carving create a sense of mass of her hair Smoothly carved face and neck
Augustus of Prima Porta, c. 20 CE, commissioned by Tiberius In every town throughout the vast Roman Empire portraits of emperors and empresses and their families were on display, in forums, basilicas, baths, markets, temples, triumphal arches, anywhere a statue could be placed. There were more statues of Augustus than Hadrian The rulers’ heads varied little from Britain to Syria. Replicas of official images, imported or copied by local artists Roman sculptors placed the portrait heads on many types of bodies The type chosen depended on the position the person held in Roman society or various fictitious guises members of the imperial family assumed. Portraits of Augustus show him not only as armed general but also as a recipient of the civic crown for saving the lives of fellow citizens. Other statues show him as a veiled priest, toga clad magistrate, traveling commander on horseback, heroically nude warrior and with various Roman gods, including Jupiter, Apollo, and Mercury These roles were extended to their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers. They also appear as the personification of health, justice and piety The common people followed the lead of the emperors and empresses depicting themselves not as they truly were, educated, royal, godlike.
The relief on his cuirass advertises an important diplomatic victory. The return of Roman military standards the Parthians had captured from a Republican general The cupid at Augustus's feet proclaims his divine decent Caesar and the Julians traced their ancestry back to Venus. Cupid was the goddess’s son Thus the sculptor designed every facet of the Primaporta statue to carry a political message, what was it?
Contrapposto Left leg back Right leg forward Organic Idealism No emotion Overall shape Sharp ridges of the brows, tight cap of layered hair Proportional
Small painted terra cotta plaques immortalizing the activities of merchants and professional people. The first is a child found in a cemetery that claimed children were murdered there and also that it is a burial ground for children. The former has never been recorded in primary documents. The center depicts a vegetable seller behind his counter with the clear view of the vegetables. The last picture is a midwife helping the mother give birth. Although all the figures are looking out, it is believed that this was the grave of the midwife because she is not concentrating on her skills. Funerary reliefs appeared all over the Roman Empire and into the Middle ages. They are as much a part of classical legacy to the later history of art as the monuments commissioned by roman emperors, which until recently were the exclusive interest of art historians.
Hadrian chosen successor and fellow Spaniard of Trajan’s A connoisseur and lover of all the arts, an author and architect. Admired Greek culture Traveled widely as emperor He commissioned statues and arches everywhere he went in his honor. There are more statues of Hadrian than any other Roman Emperor except Augustus He was 41 when Trajan died and ruled for 20 years. He is always depicted as a mature man who never ages
This is a fragmentary statue of Hadrian wearing a cuirass A bronze statue of Hadrian is the fragmentary statue of the emperor wearing a cuirass found at the Tel Shalem Israel, Hadrian had reorganized Judaea as a new province called Syria Palaestina. A bronze statue of Hadrian is the fragmentary statue of the emperor wearing a cuirass found at the Tel Shalem Israel, Hadrian had reorganized Judaea as a new province called Syria Palaestina. How did the Hellenistic Greek and Roman statuary inspire this portrait?
Mature Roman Emperor Emotion in the face Fit athletic body War raging on the cuirass
Marcus Aurelius, Equestrian Statue, from Rome, Italy, c. 175 CE This image retains the pompous of imperial iconography on a gilded bronze horse and the emperor possesses a superhuman grandeur larger than normal humans, and stretches out his right hand in greeting and clemency, There may have been an enemy pleading for mercy under the horse’s right foot, The equestrian portraits expresses the Roman emperor’s majesty and authority
The message of supreme confidence is not portrayed or is it in any other portraits the years before his death This is the first portrait where Roman emperors look sad, worried, and weary. The strain of constant warfare and the burden of ruling a worldwide empire show in his face Exposes the ruler’s character, his thoughts, and his soul Marcus revealed his worries in his Meditations a deeply moving philosophical treatise setting forth the emperor’s personal worldview. This was a major turning point in the history of ancient art , it marked the beginning of the end of Classical art’s domination in Greco roman world.
Painted Portrait of Septimius Severau and his family, from Egypt, c. 200 CE Tempera on wood, tondo or roundel (circular format) Septimius Severus claimed he was Marcus Aurelius’ son The portrait painted in tempera (egg yolk pigments) on wood shows Severus with his wife Julia Domna, the daughter of a Syrian priest and their two sons, Caracalla and Geta. The severan family portrai is of special interest for two reasons, Severus’s hair is tinged with gray, suggesting his age, and the face of the Geta was erased by the younger son Caracalla who succeed his father as emperor. He had his older brother murdered and the Senate damned his memory. Caracalla also ordered the death of his wife plautilla This kind of defacement of a political rival’s portrait is not new, Thutmost destroyed Hatshepsut’s portraits after her death. But the roman government employed damnatio memoriae as a political tool more often and more systematically than any other civilization
Portrait of Caracalla, c 211-217 The portrait of Caracalla as a boy shows him soft and chubby with curly hair His portraits as a ruler are quite different The sculptor suggests the texture of his short hair and close cropped beard, which shows talented handling of the chisel. “But he also captures Caracalla’s suspicious nature. His brow is knotted and he abruptly turns his head over his left shoulder as if he suspects danger from behind. He was assassinated in the sixth year of his rule, which was the fate of many Roman emperors during the third century CE. Many Roman Emperors were assassinated during the third century CE.
Monumental Head of Constantine, from the Basilica Nova, Rome, 313. eight feet six inches tall Detached from its body expressed power Long nose, cleft chin, clean shaven cheeks, thick neck, Emperor’s image dominated the interior of the basilica in an apse much like the cult figures in Greek temples loomed over awestruck mortals who entered the cellas. Eternally youthful Confidence Enigmatic smile Aloof from his subjects Stylized hair Geometric eyes, Classical character is gone, powerful Tetrarch -one of four joint rulers
The four tetrarchs were often displayed together either on coins or in the round Artists did not try to capture individual appearances but represented the nature of the tetrarchy as four equal partners in power. Therefore it is impossible to tell who they are. They are presented in two pairs of porphyry (purple marble) Each grasps a sword in their left hand and embrace each other with their right All are clad in identical cuirass and cloak. The drapery is schematic (showing the basic form or layout) Bodies are shapeless. Faces are emotionless masks, two wear beards 800 years after the rigid Egyptians and then the Greeks freed the human form from the formal conventions the human figure was once again conceived in iconic terms: idealism, naturalism, and individualism, and personality now belonged to the past.
Ancient Roman sculptures
Portraiture of Roman Emperors
Republic- 509-27 BCE
Idealized heroes and athletes’ bodies
Heads were veristic likeness
Head and body were an integral whole
Elevated the person to heroic status
Portrait of a Roman
General from the
Italy, c 75-50 BCE
c. 20 CE,
Augustus of Primaporta: detail showing
cuirass reliefs, ca. 20 B.C.E.
c. 20 CE,
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